You are likely to have heard someone say that someone is a "natural" at an activity such as a sport, playing an instrument or learning and speaking a second language. While it is true that some people may have an easier time learning new languages, several factors may be involved in the ease of language learning. While some research studies have shown that the way the brain is wired can give you an advantage when trying to master a new language (www.jneurosci.org/content/36/3/755.short), other factors such as the learning environment and the willingness to take risks can have a big impact in the process. I have known people over the years that did not want to try speaking Spanish because they were concerned about what others may think about their pronunciation or mistakes they might make. Other less self-conscious individuals, willing to make mistakes, would soar during the process of becoming fluent.
Another factor in mastering a new language is motivation and determination. This is an area that has been studied previously. If you are willing to make the effort and take the time to work hard, good results can be achieved in a reasonable amount of time. Both intrinsic (motivated from within due to the activity itself) and extrinsic motivation (motivated by other factors such as making more money, getting a good grade, etc) have been studied as a factor in second language learning (www.arcjournals.org/pdfs/ijsell/v3-i2/12.pdf).
So go ahead and teach your brain new tricks, exercise your brain to the fullest and do not give up in your quest of becoming bilingual or multilingual. The benefits of being bilingual are numerous (www.spanishforbabiesandtoddlers.com/blog/thinking-about-introducing-a-second-language-to-your-child) and worth the effort of conquering the hesitation of coming out of shell or out of your comfort zone as you stumble through the process of second language acquisition as an adult. While you may hear often that the best time to learn a new language is as a child (www.spanishforbabiesandtoddlers.com/blog/earlier-is-better), adults are also capable with the right attitude, dedication, motivation and willingness to take risks. So, don't be shy, learn a second language.....
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