7 year old speaks 5 languages

Meet my friend Yukine.

She's 7 years old and speaks 5 languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, German and Sign Language.

When I visited the Canary Islands recently, we sat down for a chat, and I asked her about her languages and what she likes about each of them.

Now, it's a common myth that children are much better language learners than adults.

Unfortunately, this is a myth that's perpetuated wherever you go, and is often used by adults to justify not trying so hard themselves…

Children just soak up languages like a sponge, but it's too late for me now.

When you watch this video, you may find yourself feeling the same thing.

But I want you to look a bit deeper into exactly how Yukine has managed to learn these languages, because there's a very important lesson in there.

How a child can learn 5 languages

Here are the facts:

  1. She lives in Spain
  2. She speaks Spanish and Japanese at home with her parents
  3. She attends an English medium international school
  4. The school has a language focus to it, and runs a number of German classes as part of the curriculum
  5. She also takes regular extra-curricular sign language classes at the school, and has done for a while

Also:

  1. She visits Japan for 2-3 months every summer and attends Japanese summer schools whilst she's there
  2. Her uncle and cousin, who she sees regularly, are native English speakers

So, has she just “picked up” all these languages?

Absolutely not.

[Tweet “It's no accident when children manage to learn multiple languages.”]

Children vs. adults

Whether she knows it or not, Yukine has accumulated 1,000s of hours doing the exact things that result in successful language learning.

It's no accident.

As regular readers of the blog will know, these are exactly the same success factors that I spend my time encouraging people (i.e. adults) to go after…

  1. Spend time on your languages every day…and keep it up for years
  2. Speak regularly with people you like
  3. Be clear why you're learning, and stay motivated by surrounding yourself by the right people

It really is no different whether you're 7 or 70! 🙂

Of course, the big advantages that kids have, are plenty of time on their side, and an unquestioning attitude, that means they'll just do anything.

Adults tend to be busy, and will often sabotage their progress by demanding “progress now!”, getting frustrated, and moving on to the next new thing.

So, think about how Yukine has learnt her languages.

Then, compare it to the last 6-12 months of your own language learning.

What one change could you make to be more successful this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Then please give this video a share on Facebook – Yuki and I would both be grateful! Or click here to send a Tweet.

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