It’s time to unmask the myths that have whispered doubts in your ear and reveal the incredible advantages that come with learning French later in life.
From neuroplasticity to time management, from resilience to the joy of connection, this is your guide to not just learning the French language, but thriving in it.
So if you’ve ever wondered, “Is it too late to learn French?”, let me shatter – with love of course – this excuse that is holding you back.
Part 1: Unmasking Myths and Banishing Doubt
Unveiling the Myths of Age and Language Learning
Whenever I share with someone new that I’m a French teacher, the most common reaction I get is that I must be teach children at a local school. When I explain that I run an online French language school for adults who want to fulfill their lifelong dream of speaking French I am often met with some scepticism. It seems that people assume that learning a language is something done at
But let me set the record straight: It’s not too late to learn French!
So many people strongly believe that the ability to learn a language gets lost as they grow older. Sometimes they’ll share that they ‘would have loved to learn French’ and regret not paying attention to the French they were taught at school. Inevitably the conversation will end quickly with them stating quite factually that it is too late for them now and they should have started earlier. They truly believe that age is a barrier and that the door to learning French is now forever closed for them. But that’s just wrong.
The majority of my students are between 40 and 70 years of age so I have a large enough sample to know that ‘too old to learn a language’ is a myth. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Age is not a wall preventing you from language mastery: it’s a gateway to a new world.
Embracing the Second Best Time: Learning French Now
As the saying goes: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” The same can be said about language learning. Regretting missed opportunities won’t get you far, but embracing the present can lead you to remarkable achievements. Why wait any longer when now is the perfect moment to embark on your French journey?
I love spending time geeking out on all things brain-related and love finding neuro-friendly ways to teach for my mostly female learners (aka ‘femme d’un certain age’). An ageing brain does not mean a declining capacity. In fact, keeping our brain active throughout our life helps with maintaning a strong cognitive ability, and a stronger brain brings an increased capacity to learn.
Your brain is a remarkable tool, ever adaptable and capable of growth. Just like a muscle that becomes stronger with exercise, your brain benefits from mental stimulation and learning.
Ever heard about ‘neuroplasticity’?
According to Barbara Arrowsmith-Young author of ‘The woman who changed her brain’, here is how she defines neuroplasticity:
“Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s plasticity which is its ability to change its physical structure and its functional organisation in response to training and new experiences it is the brains ability to strengthen existing connections and to form new neural connections throughout our lives.”
So neuroplasticity can be used to rewire parts of your brain i.e help increase your memory, your processing speed and your cognitive flexibility which are all skills needed when you learn anything new.
The exciting news is that you’re never too old to learn new tricks. Just like a city’s skyline changes with new buildings, your brain’s neural connections can develop and grow. Neuroplasticity is your brain’s way of saying, “I’m ready for new challenges.”
So if you’ve ever told yourself “I have a terrible memory”, you can stop because the good news is that learning French will help move you towards having a stronger memory and a healthier brain. Yes we are able to fundamentally change our brain capacity to learn new things at whatever age.
Your brain’s capacity to learn is evergreen. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 40s, 50s, or beyond. Your brain’s ability to change and adapt means that learning French isn’t just possible, it’s a thrilling journey toward improved memory, cognitive agility, and overall brain health. So go ahead and challenge that “terrible memory” belief – you’re about to prove yourself delightfully wrong.
Part 2: Age is Your Advantage in Learning French
Time: Your Greatest Gift in Language Learning
Life’s earlier chapters might have been busier, but now you have time to savour your French language journey. The moments between responsibilities are yours to fill with the joy of learning. It’s never too late to dedicate time to a passion that enriches your life.
Laser-Focused Learning: Maturity’s Superpower
Your mature brain is a champion at focusing. Unlike those earlier years of distractions, you can now immerse yourself in French with unwavering attention. Dive into lessons, conversations, and culture, knowing that focus is your ally. Use your maturity and the fact that you’re nt addicted to your phone as a superpower.
Flexibility Honed by Experience
Change is no stranger to you. Life’s twists and turns have taught you adaptability. Learning a language requires navigating challenges, but you’ve proven time and again that you’re up to the task. Embrace new strategies and methods with the confidence of a seasoned explorer.
Connection Beyond Words
Your wealth of experience has shaped you into a skilled connector. Speaking French isn’t just about words: it can also be about forming bonds across cultures. There is a lot of joy that comes from conversing with locals during your travels or even connecting with fellow language enthusiasts. I just love it when I hear that learners from a French class meet up socially as they developed a connection through their love of French.
Olden English Words: Your Key to French
It’s worth noting that modern English differs more and more from French. For many of my students they have a secret weapon with vocabulary. So if you were at school ‘in the good ole days’ you have an advantage because you’ll be more likely to recognise words that aren’t as common nowadays such as : pantaloon instead of trousers (un pantalon), maternal instead of motherly (maternelle), phantom instead of ghost (un fantome) or feeble instead of weak (faible).
Remember the days of setting goals amidst a whirlwind of household and/or professional obligations? Well now, you’re the captain of your schedule. You set the pace, celebrate achievements, and navigate your learning journey with purpose. This is your adventure, and you get to set the course.
Resilience and Grit
You’ve weathered life’s storms with resilience and grit. These traits are your companions on your language learning voyage. Challenges are stepping stones, not roadblocks. With your resilient spirit, you’re well-equipped to overcome obstacles and achieve your language goals.
As I conclude debunking some of these myths such as ‘only children make good language learners’, remember this: age is never a limitation when it comes to learning French.
Your brain’s plasticity, your life experiences, and your unique motivation and strengths make you a formidable language learner.
The road ahead is paved with excitement, growth, and the joy of connecting with others through language. So whatever your number aka your age, embark on this exciting language journey with confidence, enthusiasm, and the knowledge that the best time to start is now.
And if you’d like some guidance on the next steps with your French,
please contact us here.