Can You Learn A New Language If You Are Over 50?

Cover Image for Can You Learn A New Language If You Are Over 50?
Lorea Lastiri
Lorea Lastiri

Learning a new language can be very intriguing regardless of age. However, some speculate that learning a new language becomes difficult as we get older.

While this might be somewhat true, there is no particular cut-off point in the age when you can learn a new language.

You can learn a new language even if you are over 50. According to Research by AARP, older adults have quality study strategies acquired over the years. Also, seniors often have vast literacy skills, access to learning resources, mnemonic devices, and other resources that aid effective language learning.

In fact, there are no established biological constraints that limit language learning capacity at any age. No maturation process states younger language learners have more ability than older folks.

Nevertheless, there are still some challenges that accompany learning a new language when you are over 50.

First off, you might not have the flexibility and liberty to make extensive language mistakes. Besides, there is only limited time to learn, which makes it relatively difficult to attain fluency.

For instance, a 10-year-old can achieve fluency before 30, but a 50-year-old individual might not have this luxury.

But do you know that learning a new language when you are over 50 is highly beneficial?

Aside from aiding your versatility in communication, learning a language improves brain health and adds a new form of excitement.

If you are willing to get started, let’s check out the ways to learn a new language with ease.

1. Befriend native speakers of the language you intend to learn

Learning a language includes both passive and active learning. It also requires regular speaking and pronunciation practices. Making friends with the speakers of the language you intend to learn is a simple step to learn a new language.

Once you determine the language you intend to learn, look for people who understand and communicate in that language and get close to them. Learning this way makes it easy to get accustomed to intonation, common words, and slang. You can start by casually chatting online with people who speak your target language.

If you’re in the same area as the native speakers, you can start attending their events and accompanying them to public places like markets, cafes, and restaurants.

You will feel comfortable while learning and get familiarized with intonation, mannerisms, and slang.

The most significant part of this type of learning is that you get to practice freely without pressure or being self-conscious.

If it’s challenging to make friends, visiting businesses that speak the target language will work too.

Alternatively, you can join a conversation club, find an online language partner, or carry out self-practice.

2. Watch movies in your target language

If you intend to learn a new language on your own without pressure, watching movies in that language is the best idea. By doing this, you will learn from the comfort of your home.

Start by getting movies that have subtitles or translations. As you listen and watch the conversations, you will refer to the subtitles for definitions. Aside from this learning model being relatively more accessible, it will also keep you entertained and aid your retention. You will also get better insight into intonation, culture, and mannerism.

You can get a book and write down new vocabulary if you want to aid your learning process.

Check up the meaning of the vocabularies and start using them in your daily conversations.

It is best to start with basic and common words to get familiarized.

Once you feel comfortable, you can turn off the subtitles and test your vocabulary.

Here is an excellent movie to learn German.

3. Use online tools to learn the new language

Almost everything now has a digital version. From YouTube videos to Google language, there are several ways to explore this magical place.

You can use language learning apps like Duolingo or Youtube tutorials on a channel like Butterfly Spanish, or install Wordeys chrome extension to translate any word on your favorite website.

You can explore the internet and various online sources to learn your preferred language. If you are learning online, it is best to set targets and goals to follow up on your learning.

Here are a few ways to learn a new language online.

Take language courses

One of the best and easiest ways to learn online is to take courses.

Start by checking out various online courses, like Open Culture. You can visit sites that teach languages like Duolingo, Babbel, Busuu, and Mango languages.

These courses and sites have a stepwise guide to help you learn any language of your choice.

Explore YouTube tutorials

YouTube is one of the most significant learning places online. You can get various language tutorial videos from basics to standards.

Start by checking through the top language YouTubers and follow their video from the basics. Some good channels are Butterfly Spanish, Learn French with Vincent, and Learn German.

All you need is internet access and your readiness to learn. You can also follow and learn from more than one YouTube Channel.

Use online translators

It is easy to learn a new language when translating from your original language.

You can start by translating basic and common words. To ease this learning, you can add language extensions to your browsers for easy and immediate translations.

One of the best language extensions you can use is the Wordeys chrome extension. As you browse your favorite websites, you can translate interesting words and save the words and their translations in your vocabulary list. The extension also shows you the pronunciation, definition, and synonyms.  

Aside from practicing, Wordeys extension also allows you to share with your friends.

4. Practice the language with kids

Kids don’t have any specific language before birth, and they only learn as they grow. You can assume yourself to be like one of those kids and understand the language from scratch.

Of course, kids start speaking languages from the basics. So, it is easy to fit it and catch up with them.

You can start by finding pen pals and exchanging expertise and knowledge with them. Learn simple words before moving to sentences and phrases. If you are around a community that speaks the language, you can play around with the kids. Stick around elementary schools or move around with kids in your neighborhood.

One of the top benefits of this learning model is that you learn how to write while you speak.

5. Break it down and learn the vocabulary

Learning new languages from the top can be complicated. Start by learning from the basics.

Create a list of words and vocabulary and learn a specific number of words each day. Note that it is not just about memorizing the words; it also includes pronunciation and proper use in sentences. Make simple sentences with these words and communicate with them as much as possible.

Take a little time each day to learn the words and put them to practice. If you find any complex expressions, you can check out the translations. With Wordeys, you can translate and save your vocabulary list in a few clicks.

It will be easier if you have a learning partner. You can communicate more manageably with your language partner and help each other to learn.

6. Register for a physical language class

Language classes are not only available online. There are also physical language schools that can help you to learn any language you want.

If you don’t mind, you will have to attend classes within stipulated hours.

Start by locating any language school close to your area. They usually have a curriculum that simplifies the languages and makes them easy to learn. You will find other learners like you, which will help you catch up, practice, and enjoy the lessons.

Register in the school and start taking lessons. 

7. Use smart study techniques

You can learn a new language faster by using smart study techniques such as word visualization, vocalization, and body gestures. You can play flashcard paper games to make the learning process more engaging and fun.

But using flashcards can only be effective when you have a partner.

Without a partner, you can try out electronic flashcard programs which you can access easily on your digital devices such as a smartphone, tablet, or PC.

Another innovative language learning medium is the use of the keyword technique. 

The keyword technique involves comparing a new word with words with similar meaning and spelling in your native language. It’s easier to understand and remember such words.

Also, using the new words in your day-to-day conversations will ensure effective assimilation.


Learning a new language is fun and intriguing. Aside from improving your versatility, it also improves mental health.

Research finds that there is no age limit to learning a new language, even above 50. All you need to do is find any suitable method that suits you best such as taking online classes, interacting with people who speak the language, watching movies in the language, and using online tools. You can combine any of the learning methods above.

Save your new words in a list to practice the words as often as you can. Use Wordeys Chrome extension to save your vocabulary list on the go. You can use it to translate words on any web page, hear the pronunciation and definition, and then you can save that word in your vocabulary list - all in a few clicks.

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