Astute, practical advice. Very close to what I did to become fluent in Spanish and to read French, Italian and Portuguese for a graduate degree. One reason it is easy for young people and difficult for adults to learn a new language is physiological. (You may have touched on this and if so I missed it!) There is a part of the brain that is “flexible” up to adolescence and “hardens up” after that. Language learning is in that part of the brain. This is a simpistic explanation but well documented in finer language in the literature. The important point — and you made it — is that it may be more difficult but it is certainly possible and the rewards are incalculable.

The French have a saying: “Pour chaque langue que l’on parle, on vit une nouvelle vie. Celui qui ne connaît qu’une seule langue ne vit qu’une seule fois.”

An aging humanist hanging on to the idea that there is hope for humankind — against all current indications.

An aging humanist hanging on to the idea that there is hope for humankind — against all current indications.