Since we are constricted to a world of linear orthography, learning a foreign language is the key to explore different vistas of communication. Language has played the most primeval role in evolution and has been the primary ingredient of every discussion and miscommunication.
According to psycholinguist Jacques Lacan, the medium of language is a kind of ‘symbolic order’ where language as ‘signs’ predates the mode of communication. And it is only by mastering this ‘symbolic order,’ we become potent vessels of communication.
Any form of language becomes the mirror of a culture concerned. A child when he reaches a natural age of one year, he is supposed to enter what Lacan calls “Mirror Stage” and it is at this phase that the child starts to imbibe the culture of words.
Why your kid should know more than one language?
Since we are not the descendants of the ‘heptapods’ from the movie Arrival, our language is not simple and circular. Our language has a beginning, and an end and thus is complex to interpret. The necessity to learn more than one language comes from the urge to master the world first linguistically and then materialistically.
With the socio-psychological parts stated, let’s take a tour through the benefits of learning more than one language:
1. A world of opportunities: With the fast-paced world, nearly every multinational companies look for globally-minded people who can speak at least one foreign language. You can also work as interpreters in foreign embassies.
2. Boosts up your brain: Speaking new words a day can keep the doctor away! Learning a new language has a cognitive benefit which boosts up the creative aptitude of a child. Studies have shown that speaking more than one language cause memory improvements with longer attention spans. Even the risk of age-related cognitive decline gets reduced.
3. Go beyond culture: Since culture has always dominated over nature, we have the inherent tendency to explore cross-cultures. It has often happened that we regretted to miss out on opportunities to speak with somebody simply because he speaks some alien language.
Learning different languages help to develop inter and intra-personal relationships between culture. Since language is the signifier of a particular religion, it is best to explore languages to get hold of a signified culture.
4. Question your own culture: Certain certain truths reside within a particular cultural structure which can never be disheveled while being within that culture. Since language and culture are comingled, learning a different language gives us a subjective point of view which goes beyond the matrix of the mother tongue. Facts then start to become mere interpretations.
5. Being smart in touristic areas: More than often we have been harassed by touts which altogether has the potential to ruin our traveling experience. The obvious problem here is the bombardment of a new language. Trying to blend into a place’s local language often stands fruitful.
6. Become a better learner: Once your child starts imbibing a new language through trial and error method of learning, he will begin to understand his deficiencies and by his own will begin to figure out better hacks to understand. It will eventually allow him to learn multiple languages faster and soon turn into a polyglot.
7. Become Mr. Spock: Studies have shown a surprising utility of learning a second language. Thinking in the second language has proven to be more logical while thoughts in the native tongue are more emotional. Your child has the opportunity to become Mr. Spock directly out of Star Trek where rational ideas are embraced by a foreign language!
8. Enjoy art without translation: We often look for translations and subtitles in our native language. But translations take away the fervent heat of the original language. When your child starts to learn different styles, he or she starts enjoying works of art in their original language.
When to introduce a foreign language to your kid?
As the old dictum goes, children are indeed fast learners! A study called the ‘critical period hypothesis’ (CPH) enunciates that the first few years of a child constitute the language development phase which starts from the age of 5 and goes on till puberty, after which language acquisition becomes less successful.
Learning of language is a steady process before cerebral lateralization completes at the age of puberty. The hypothesis also states that the learning of the second language is relatively faster and successful than the first language when mastered before puberty.
When a child attains the age of 2 or 3 years old, he is not only increasing his vocabulary but his starting to recognize speech patterns.
The earlier one is introduced to a second language, the better is the ability to muster up the new sounds and syllables. The auditory perception of different unique sounds is the sharpest at the age of 3. Research says that we often lose the ability to produce certain sounds if we do not encounter them at a stipulated age.
The basics of learning a second language are to get exposed to the world of media. Engage your child to hear a television show or listen to music which will make him potent enough to start an appreciation of the new language.
More importantly what matters profoundly is the casual learning environment at home. If the parents speak fluent and proper second languages at home, the child will start picking up the sounds and ultimately the language itself naturally.
A 2 or 3 years old child is a good mimicker, and through imitation, he starts to catch up with new languages. The easiest hack is to introduce your child to a bilingual basic, where you can point out to your child a particular thing in two different languages. It increases the ability to distinguish and separates sounds. If you say ‘bonne nuit’ in French instead of ‘good night’ in English, you child will involuntarily start to learn the meaning.
How to help your kid learn a new language easily?
Learning a new language is often fun but challenging too. The challenge comes when we have passed certain age criteria. And it’s fun for a child because he learns through mimicking. The judicious choice on the parents’ part is to engage their child in fun-filled interactive sessions! Children are always imaginative, and you are to use this power of imagination to make a child learn a new language.
Some easy techniques to get your child’s second language learning go well:
1. Start early: Since a child imbibes new words within a designated timeframe, it’s always beneficial to start early. Since a child learns through simulacra, the best time to introduce a particular second language is at ten months old.
If you have not begun in the first year of your child, wait until your ward attains the age of 2. It is the period when a child undergoes ‘vocabulary explosion’ and has an excellent chance to get immersed in the pleasure of learning new sounds.
2. Playful interaction: Do you remember the memory game that we used to play? Train your child to associate objects in the second language. This conditional learning will eventually help in increasing vocabulary.
3. Home remedy: Introduce your child to picture books, videos, tapes, and TV shows meant explicitly for children. You can also start by labeling your household products in the foreign language and train your child to identify and remember them. And if possible get your child acquainted with an overseas pen-friend!
4. Praise: Do not forget to praise as your child attains milestone achievements like learning the names of colors or animals. To show a positive affirmation present your child with toys and candies!
Sign in your kid for a second language class
If you are unable to provide your child with second language learnings, enroll your ward to a language class. Today, many pre-schools offer second language classes too! Look for the following criteria:
• Classes are taken by native speakers. Children who start learning a foreign language before puberty bears the ability to speak in the original foreign tongue. When a teacher speaks a foreign language exclusively, the child gets the opportunity to stay completely immersed in new sounds and learns through repetitions.
• Fun and engaging. Children’s class should essentially have a lot of arts and crafts, games, lots of colors and rhymes in foreign languages. Vocabulary skills are seen to increase with audio-visual aid.
Children who consider dialects are more innovative, better with dynamic thoughts, and more adaptable in their reasoning. They have a more unusual sensitivity to dialect and a superior ear for tuning in.
Studying an outside language enhances your very own youngster’s comprehension of the local dialect. It opens the way for different societies and enables the child to comprehend and acknowledge individuals from different nations. It can enable him to feel associated with his particular legacy. And most importantly learning involves a great deal of fun!