Most children who grow up in a multi-racial environment find it very easy to pick up other languages. This is probably because as children, the brain is “open” and learning is much easier. There is also the very important fact that children are very curious. This natural curiosity helps children to learn foreign languages easily.
Adults, on the other hand, find it more difficult to learn a foreign language for a variety of reasons. These reasons include the ones below.
Children are innocent. They have no racial sentiments and they have no prejudice in terms of race and language. Adults, on the other hand, are not so innocent and this is a problem for them. You cannot pick up a foreign language easily if you look at the speakers of that language as foreigners or worse, inferior people. Your prejudice will definitely lead to lack of interest in the language as so it won’t be easy for the adult in question to learn the language.
Being an adult means that you have the responsibilities that most adults have. You have a job to do or a business to run. You also have bills to pay and obligations to your wife and kids. You may also belong to some professional associations or social clubs. With all these making demands on your time, you need to be a magician to find the time to learn a foreign language. In most cases, adults learn a foreign language only if it is in the interest of their career to do so. Otherwise, they simply don’t have or cannot spare the time to learn a foreign language.
In the event that you have adults who are really keen on learning a foreign language, distraction may not allow them to learn the language. Adults have a lot of things to distract them. Meanwhile it takes a bit of concentration to learn a foreign language. As a result of various distractions, adults find it difficult to concentrate and learn a foreign language.
In the old days, life was simpler than it is now. People also used to be friendlier than they are now. That relatively communal lifestyle made it easy for adults to learn foreign languages. However, these days, life is lived on a fast pace and people don’t really have as much informal interaction as they used to. As a result, people live their own lives as much as possible. So, if you don’t relate with your foreign neighbors that much, how can you learn their language? So, this is another reason adults find it difficult to learn a foreign language. The lifestyle that people live these days does not really encourage it.
For all these reasons, adults find it much more difficult than children to learn a foreign language.