Learning a new language after 30, is it possible?

languagesMy husband and I are both Australian, the closest we have to any understanding of other languages would be the thick accent my Irish FIL speaks in and of course any basic Spanish attempts I made when I was in South America, or the very basic French used in France, French Canada and New Caledonia. Which I can confirm did not go beyond “hello” “yes” “no” “no more” “stop” “how much” “thank you” and “cheese” (not a joke – cheese is life).

So with our incredible holiday next year being planned and including France, Copenhagen, the Faroe Islands and Norway – we really need to devise some kind of plan here. I did minimal French in early high school and G did Italian but so far the phrases we both seem to remember from school is “Pardonnez-moi” and “apri la porta” (excuse me and open the door, respectively).

Where do we start? Where do two Australians, in their 30’s start to learn a new language? I am well aware that Scandinavian’s are likely to have a better handle on English than most Australian’s, but still – we want to make the effort. We want to try and we don’t really want to be laughed at or be mistaken as ignorant travellers, not having a go at the local language!

language 2We have bought our Lonely Planet translation guide, we’ve downloaded apps to our phones and we are ready to give this everything we’ve got. Do we switch it up? Do I focus on French and Norwegian and G learns Danish and Norwegian? Meeting somewhere in the middle? Apparently Danish and Norwegian are virtually identical, so that’s good! French is its own beast and of course it’s all well and good to learn another language, but after my dismal attempts at Spanish – once I got to South America and saw how quickly everyone was speaking it – I pretty much gave up!

Have you learned another language later in life? What are your tips? Did you learn online, with audio, books or in person with a tutor? Do we just learn the basics? Our greetings, our please and thank-you’s?

When a tourist stops you in the street and communicates with you and English is clearly not their first language, how do you help them? Do you help them? Share with us your tips and tricks!

C x

 

 

7 thoughts on “Learning a new language after 30, is it possible?

  1. Hi! I was looking at your blog. I studied Portuguese and Spanish, but the knowledge of language fades. I have been using Duo Lingo and watching netflix in Spanish. It seems to work a bit. Plus, switching your netflix from English to Spanish is an easy switch…. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When someone needs help and their first language isn’t German (which is mine), I of course switch to English immediately. However, whenever I am in a different country, I always try to learn at least some of their language – especially the greetings, asking for directions/food, etc.
    I learned English and Spanish in school, and am now teaching myself French and Italian using duolingo (I can only recommend!).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love learning languages! So I would say you can definitely still learn no matter your age group, haha…I usually try to pick up some local language by listening around me. Or watching movies or drama in that language so that I can pick out common or simple words. After all, when all else fails during travel, I usually resort to using the universal hand language to get my point across…hahaha

    Like

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