Neurosciences Behind Learning a Second Language

The scientist Paul Broca discovered in 1861 that a particular area in the brain was dedicated to language acquisition

After more than 35 years of research, Jean Petit, a French psycholinguist, along with American scientists, established that:

  • The best age to learn a second language is between 0 and 7 years.
  • Up to 5 languages can be learned during that period.
  • Discrimination between sounds is very easy for young children without making any mistake.
  • The learning process at that age is compared to a TVG (fastest train ever)
  • Writing and reading with the same alphabet is easier.
  • Mathematics and music skills are enhanced by learning a 2nd language

After 7years old , the learning process slows down

At 13, the articulation and sound production mechanism (phoneme and allophone) are programmed on monolingual mode. This is why adults have trouble learning a second language and keep the accent of the mother tongue when speaking that language.


Learning Conditions

  • Start as soon as possible
  • No favoritism between mother tongue and second language
  • Intensity, continuity, exposure and use of the second language
  • Instrumental and communicative approach

(“fun” opposed to “rigorous and strict”)

  • Native teacher
  • Positive and warm emotional environment