Child Development: Learning New Languages
As a parent, you have definitely heard someone encouraging you to teach your child a new language at an early age. You might have also heard of this special ability that children have to learn a new language easily.
Why is it easier to a child than to an adult to learn a new language?
Scientists explain the children’s ability to learn a new language the following way:
There are different areas in the brain controlling different functions in our lives. Some functions of the brain are automatic, like brushing our teeth, signing our name, driving our car, etc. We don’t actually think while doing them. When children learn a new language, it is this part of the brain that they use, and it’s called the deep motor area. However, when adults learn a second or third language, their brain operates differently. In fact, the deep motor region of the brain is widest during early childhood and nearly shut by the time we reach about 18. Therefore, adults usually think sentences in their native tongue and then translate them word-by-word, instead of thinking automatically in another language like a child would.
Moreover, some more details make it easier on a child to learn a new language at an early age:
- He learns a new language without his first language’s accent.
- He easily develops the oral skills.
- It makes him happy to experiment a new language and new words.
- He feels confident to practice the language with others.
What are the benefits for my child to learn a new language?
As a parent you might think it is useless for your child to learn a new language. However, learning a new language has many benefits:
- Learning a new language broadens your child’s views of the world.
- When your child learns a new language this means he is able to speak, read, write, listen and think in another way.
- Learning a new language lets your child explore and appreciate the wealth of knowledge that is part of each language and its culture.
- Your child’s career opportunities are greater when he speaks other than his native language.
- Learning a new language boosts your child’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and tolerance.
Last but not least you should know that learning a new language is a commitment; it isn’t a thing that will happen in one day, but it needs a lot of time and patience. The earlier your child starts learning a new language, the easier it will be for him!