Studies Reveal that Learning Foreign Language at an Early Age
Learning a foreign language from childhood has many advantages as a 2014 study, from the very serious Harvard Medical School, confirms what we already suspected: children are much easier to acquire a language than older students. But beyond the opportunity to learn English, German or Chinese better and faster, these children also develop their cognitive abilities: their vocabulary improves in their own language, and they show better skills of reasoning than those who speak only one language.
Harvard is not the only university that has been interested in acquiring additional languages in childhood; studies conducted by German, American or British universities have shown that while vocabulary can be acquired at the same speed regardless of age, other aspects of language depend directly on the age at which it is learned:
Here are the good reasons to learn a foreign language at an early age.
– A better pronunciation
Children and pre-teens have a better ability to record and replicate new sounds than older students. This facility, which would come from the need for any individual to learn to communicate, including in his own language, is undeniably an advantage to have a correct pronunciation afterward. It is very difficult to “acquire” new sounds later because we lose the natural ability of children to respond to what they hear without question.
– Easy learning
Foreign Language learning is done in young children through games, activities and songs that are not considered lessons and are better remembered than classical lessons. Naturally curious and interested, children also do not have as much to remember as other students; they thus have a greater capacity to learn new things, their minds not being so “cluttered” with knowledge.
– Less shyness
The notions of evaluation and comparison of the foreign language with other students are also not yet present, or at least not as developed as among their older counterparts: they have much better abilities to “get started” and dare to try to express without asking questions. Since languages are mainly learned through oral expression, they generally progress much faster.
– A more open mind
Learning a language from an early age fosters a child or teenager to become interested in new cultures and forge an open and critical mind. Multilingual children are usually more curious than those who speak only one language, and their ability to speak one or more additional languages allows them to explore more media and communicate with more people, maintaining a virtuous circle.
– An advantage for the future
A multilingual child will be better able to integrate into the current multicultural society; not only thanks to this language but also because it will also him to meet other learners and teachers from other cultures and backgrounds and will be open to international.
If you are concerned, please note that it has also been shown that learning a second language during childhood has no negative impact on the mother tongue: on the contrary, in the long term, the two languages would be improved, thanks to the acquisition of additional vocabulary. It is not necessary to be perfectly bilingual to enjoy the benefits mentioned above: the simple learning process is enough!
So much reason to put on an extra language as soon as possible, in a fun and encouraging environment!