A Clean Slate for Learning
It is a truth universally misconstrued that we learn best when we are kids. We are simply more impressionable and accept and absorb new information without thinking too much about it. These abilities do not change when we grow up, we simply become more aware of mistakes and more conscious of not being supposed to make them, as we are taught, through experience, that making mistakes is bad.
Of the four language skills, reading and writing are the two more stative ones - you have the time to sit and think about the words, phrases, constructions, flow. Listening and speaking, one the other hand, they require a lot more of your faculties to work at the same time. And when these are overloaded, mistakes will happen. You must rid yourself of the idea that knowing a language well means not making mistakes. They are an inevitable part of learning and even when you know a language ‘perfectly ‘, even when you speak your own language, you will make mistakes. Fortunately, this is not what speaking a language ‘perfectly’ or ‘fluently’ is about. It is about communicating your thoughts without an undue amount of stress. With a freedom of expression, with giving examples, with making connections to what you have learnt, heard, read before.
This is what learning is about, building on what you already have. So fear not and step into the wonderful world of a new language. No matter your age and no matter how much you already know, it is never too late to start something new.