Benefits of being bilingual
Children are amazing at learning languages. In fact it is astonishing to think that children aren't born knowing any language. They just have the ability to learn a language through interactions and conversation and that’s how they learn a language. It might seem crazy to be introducing a second language to your child when maybe they haven't mastered their native language. However, it’s alright and it is actually encouraged to introduce a second language to your child at a young age.
So, when is the best age to introduce this language? Is a toddler too young or a 12 year old too old to pick up a second language? Let’s look at how children learn language
How children learn language
Children are apparently born with the ability to make around 40 sounds and also make connections between sounds and objects. Those are the tools that allow children to learn languages by actively listening to the people around them. Children learn by mimicking tone, rhythm, nonverbal expressions and even volume from a very young age. When you hear a toddler babbling or creating sentences, it just means they are practicing language learning
What researchers say about the best age to learn a second language?
50% of our capacity to learn is developed by age 3 and 30% by age 8. Which proves that our learning pathways are probably developed at a very young age? But researchers cannot pin down the exact age for this, except that it is children who learn languages more easily than adults. Dr Paul Thompson, who had done a study, found out that the brain system responsible for language learning accelerates growth from six years old until puberty.
Another research done at MITT showed that the best time to acquire a new language and achieve native fluency was by age 10. It states that children are able to grasp information and learn language well. While, It was possible to learn a language as an adult, after the age of 9 achieving native fluency was really difficult. The study also concluded that the younger the learner, the easier it was for them to recreate new sounds and learn pronunciation.
Another reason why childhood is the best time to pick up a second language is because children have the time to invest in learning a new language. Children are not yet taxed with heavy studies and jobs. Also toddlers find it easier to be able to learn a lot about languages through play.
In actuality, it’s never too late to learn a language. However research nudges us towards childhood, as it just gets difficult after puberty. Your child can pick and choose any language to learn. At Learner circle we teach Malayalam and French. Spanish is a favourite as it’s the second most spoken language in the world.
The top benefits of learning a language
Connect: Language helps us connect with one another. It broadens our network and improves our interactions with people around us. It helps us connect with all different kinds of people. It builds more friendships and lasting relationships. It makes travel easier. Eg, if you are learning French and you travel to France, then your holiday experience becomes better. Being bilingual definitely helps enhance social intelligence considerably as it improves communications considerably.
Advance your career: Being bilingual will definitely give you an edge over competition during job interviews. It also helps you look better than your peers. It is in fact considered as one of the top 8 skills required for almost all occupations.
Cognitive feed: People who speak more than one language have improved problem-solving, critical thinking skills, ability to multitask, enhanced concentration, better listening skills and improved memory. These people find it easier to switch between competing tasks and detect changes in their environment more easily. They also are more creative and flexible. It also helps to deter mental aging and cognitive decline.
Cultural bridge: Being able to communicate in another language, helps foster an appreciation for other traditions, arts and history of the natïve people of that language. Greater understanding promotes greater tolerance, acceptance and empathy. Studies show that children who have studied another language are more open toward understanding the culture of that language.
Polyglot potential: When you learn another language, it becomes easier to pick other languages as well. That is because when you learn a new language, your brain develops new networks that are ready to take you on a new learning journey with a third language.
At Learner Circle we have language courses on French, English and Malayalam that can help improve your language skills. Our teachers are qualified and experienced. They are extremely passionate about teaching and love being with children. If you want to enrol your child in one our courses, please book a free demo here.