ForgetfulMany of us have learned a language at one time or another. For most, uninteresting compulsory classes at school meant the language was easily forgotten once exams were over.

It may be that the language has not completely disappeared though. A new study has found that participants who had learned a language as a child could remember phonemes – the smallest sounds in a language, and could quickly relearn vocabulary.

The findings, published in Psychological Science, suggest being exposed as young children to foreign languages, even if they do not continue to speak them, can have a lasting impact on speech perception.

“Even if the language is forgotten — or feels this way — after many years of disuse, leftover traces of the early exposure can manifest themselves as an improved ability to relearn the language,” the study authors said in a statement. (Source: Times of the Internet)

Anecdotally, I can say that having studied French for four years at school, I can still recall some vocabulary and full sentences, despite not having really used it for over a decade (this is a hindrance in my current attempt to learn Spanish!).

It’s bad news for lazy learners though – there’s no excuse now for not taking up that language you ‘forgot’!