As long as they want to and are motivated to. Even a person as old as 80 years old can start to learn any language. The reality is most of them do not want to.
I do not want to show you through examples of real life case studies how even some older people can be successful with language learning. You can google it yourself and see how many you can find. The purpose of this post is to let you be aware that anybody can learn a language as long as he/she wants to. The age plays no role in that.
So now I believe that most of the readers are of younger age than 80. And this might motivate you for language learning.
They have however certain advantages like playfulness, more time, are not afraid to make mistakes and may be they have an advantage of immersion in the target language – they are being constantly bombarded with the language at home, at school and in the streets. And they are motivated as well as their mother tongue is their connection with the outside world, they need to learn fast to survive and make social bonds.
But as adults we can learn any language quickly, because we have another set of advantages that make the language learning even easier and faster. You understand how the language works, like sentence structures, tenses, conditionals etc. and you know when to say what and how. Once you understand the rules then you start to look for bricks – words – to use them to build your house – language skill. And then there are tools that can help you tremendously with language learning. What are these tools?
Now if you are English speaker, then studying Spanish language is considerably easier than let’s say studying Chinese. There are so many words they are written almost in the same way, that also have the same meaning. In many instances the words have just different ending like: directo - direct, musica – music, experience – experiencia and many more.
Children learn language in a different way than adults. So age here plays no role. I met people in their 20-ties who said they are too old to study Spanish. What a lousy excuse.
I believe any age is perfect for any language learning as long as you know what to learn, when to learn and how to learn and most important you are motivated to learn.
So do not look for excuses why you cannot do something rather look for ways how to get things done. And you will find ways how to get things done. Just believe it and take action!