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Science, brains, & learning languages


We’ve known for several decades that there is a critical period for learning language: children are more likely to reach native (or native-like) fluency in language(s) that they learn before age 5, according to GettingSmart. (The exact age and importance of this window is not written in stone.) The good news is that the benefits of learning a language do not disappear after age 5. A recent deluge of studies point to interesting and encouraging links between learning languages and the brain. A recent collaborative study found that ”the pattern of brain development is similar if you learn one or two language from birth.” But that if a new language is learned later on in childhood – after children are proficient in their native language(s) – the brain does change…

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