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5 questions for a language learner in later life

What do people say about learning a language when they’re older?

Janet’s in her fifties and wants to finally succeed in learning Māori – the indigenous language of Aotearoa New Zealand and an official language since 1987.

  1. How do you feel about learning Māori?
    I’m a fifth generation Pākehā New Zealander and I feel we should all make the effort to learn te reo Māori. At school, I always enjoyed the cultural activities and they made me interested in learning the language.

  2. What’s the hardest thing about learning Māori?
    In the past, I’ve done several Māori courses through work but those two hours a week over a few weeks were never enough. I can say a couple of phrases and understand the place names on the radio or in the newspaper but that’s it. I know I need to find the time and do the work to make real progress, but I’m not sure how.

  3. How do you overcome this?
    helped me make my action plan. We found a course I want to do plus a bunch of online resources I can use, like an app to learn vocabulary. We’ve made a menu of activities so that I’m learning in different ways and won’t get bored.

  4. What are your goals?
    I want to have an everyday conversation with my friend who speaks Māori, understand the news in Māori and read those bilingual books that have English and Māori in parallel.

  5. What’s your advice for older people who want to learn a language?
    I think if you really want to, you can do it. Just don’t lose time doing stuff where you won’t make much progress. Get help to make a plan and then get going.

Read more about learning a language in later life here, here and here

And if you’re not sure how to start brushing up or picking up a language, email me and I can help.

© Christina Wielgolawski