Advantages of BilingualismLearning a second language
Bilingualism researchers have demonstrated that children exposed early to two languages, grow as if they had two monolingual beings staying inside their brain. When two languages are well balanced, bilingual children have an advantage over monolingual children thinking, which means that Bilingualism has positive effects on intelligence and other aspects of the child’s life. Learning two languages at once does not represent any kind of pollution or delay in language learning. Experts agree in stating that it is much better early learning, ie, talking to children both languages from birth, allowing complete mastery of both languages.
Some experts argue that children exposed to multiple languages are more creative and develop better problem-solving skills. Speaking a second language, even if is only during the first years of the child, will help them prepare their brain circuits making it easier to learn new languages in the future.
The introduction of bilingualism in the education of children should be done naturally. Never force a child to talk. The important thing at first is that the child will always listen and become familiar with it slowly, without haste or obligations.
Advantages of Bilingualism
1 Communication. The ability to communicate with people of different nationalities when they travel or live with foreigners.
2 Cultural. Access to two different cultures enriches the child’s education
3 Knowledge. Access to the diversity stimulates intellectual development capacity of a bilingual child. Therefore, they can be more creative, more flexible, and acquire more open to the world and other minds.
4. Careers. Doors open labor market and provide more opportunities for bilingual people.
When can I expect my child to start using the new language?
All children are different, as witnessed by variation in acquisition of a child’s first language. Most children will go through a “silent period”, when “the child is building up competence in the second language via listening, by understanding the language around him” (Krashen, 1982). A child’s personality also has a lot to do with when he/she will begin to speak in the new language. The key is to provide your child with opportunities to use the new language, other than just “performing” for others.
Is my child too young to learn Spanish?
The earlier a child learns a language the better. Studies have shown that children who learn another language before the age of five learn with the same part of the brain that they use to speak their mother tongue. Younger children are without inhibitions and so will speak naturally and with native-like pronunciation.
Furthermore, learning a second language, like learning any skill is a wonderful opportunity to keep young ‘sponge-like’ brains active and stimulated, setting a good habit for later life. It is said that even if a child discontinues the practice of a second language, some benefits will remain with the child.
In addition to developing a lifelong ability to communicate with more people, children may derive other indirect benefits such as self-confidence and awareness of other cultures. Knowing a second language does prepare us better for life in the multi-cultural, multi-lingual world of the twenty-first century, and can provide a competitive advantage in the workforce.
Will my child be confused?
This belief is prevalent in monolingual countries and has far more politics than science to back it up. Rest assured that your child’s little brain has more than enough neurons firing to cope with two languages (or even more) without frizzing out. On the contrary, decades of research in countless studies actually show significant cognitive advantages to being multilingual. And what about the experience of millions of families around the world where multilingualism is the norm, not the exception?
How do I help my child learn a second language?
“The most important things in language development are exposure and need. If children are exposed to a language in a variety of circumstances with many different people from the time they are born, and if they feel they need the language to interact with the world around them, they will learn it” (Sorace and Ladd). Mi Chu Chu Tren is an immersion program, fulfilling both aspects of exposure and need. In addition, at home you can provide music, videos, and books in the new language. Also, go to cultural events and sites where the language is used. Make friends with native speakers. Remember: exposure and need.
Learning a new language implies knowing the culture from which it comes. Cooking with Choko bring us how to make “Arepas”.
Aprender un nuevo idioma implica conocer tambien la cultura de donde viene. Cocinando con Choko nos trae como hacer arepas colombianas.
“Day of the death”, a Hispanic tradition which has been named Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Learn more and teach your kids about cultural traditions.