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How should a child be trained a foreign language?

  1. Kevin Peter profile image70
    Kevin Peterposted 4 years ago

    How should a child be trained a foreign language?

    What time is the best for a baby to learn a foreign language? Can the two languages be taught together? Will confusion rise in them?


  2. Hummingbird5356 profile image80
    Hummingbird5356posted 4 years ago

    Children can learn up to 6 languages at the same time without getting confused between them.  If you know someone who speaks another language the best thing is if that person only speaks to the child in that language and then he will learn to speak to him. 

    I used to know someone in Germany who was American, but her mother and family were German, her husband was Mexican.  The children would speak German to the grandmother because she could only speak German.  His father spoke to him in Spanish and his mother in English. The only problem was that because he knew his father could speak English whenever his father spoke to him he answered in English.  If his mother tried to speak to him in German he only answered in English. He understood everything but spoke English more often. 

    The best way for children to learn foreign languages is the same way they learn their native tongue.  They just have to know that the foreign speaking person doesn't speak their language and they will answer in that language and get more practice.  Later on, they will be freer in speaking but I think this is the best way. 

    Just as when anyone goes to a country where they do not know the language, it is not long before they are speaking because they must.

  3. brianrock profile image88
    brianrockposted 4 years ago

    If the language is spoken at home, then kids are perfectly capable of learning multiple languages at the same time... in fact, it's probably backwards to think of the second language as a "foreign language." Simply speak the languages normally, and children will pick up on them.

    My cousin's husband is Turkish, and my cousin also speaks fluent Turkish. They speak both English and Turkish at home, and the children are more or less fluent in each. When the kids were first learning to talk, it was a bit confusing... but then, kids are always confusing when they can't formulate proper sentences. They learned very quickly who to speak English to (the rest of my family) and who to speak Turkish to (their father's relatives from Turkey).

    But I think the most important thing is that it's just natural. They (and my cousin and her husband) use Turkish and English interchangeably, and it's an effortless transition. It's when you start thinking of languages as foreign and extra that it becomes a cumbersome task to learn a new language.

    1. DoDojson profile image60
      DoDojsonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      It's very important that children speak both langauges from the early ages

  4. Sirius Centauri profile image75
    Sirius Centauriposted 4 years ago

    Interesting question Kevin.

    From my personal experience, I think as much as we might not like it, interactive games and (believe it or not) television; are one of the best ways for a child to learn a language, especially in cases where you don't have people around to teach them.

    When I was growing up, English was beyond foreign. Because of the regime in SA then, I had almost no interaction with anyone who spoke it except from TV. I'm not sure how I got the grasp of the language by watching the occasional TV programs but eventually when opportunity availed itself for me to go to a 'multi-racial' school, I had caught on so much of the language that it was super easy to have conversations, broken as my English was. A few months after enrolling at the school, the teachers were asking me "Where did you learn to speak English? you speak well" - yet no one at home or in the community had taught me.  The medium was English at the school and I did well academically. I'm still convinced TV is how I learnt the language.

    When my son was 4, I bought him one of those multilingual laptops in which he was able to learn and recite most of the Spanish words. Then he would watch programs in Spanish. He started talking in the language too but due to not having anyone to speak to, I'm sure he'll forget most of it, so to reiterate what Hummingbird5356 and brainrock said, being fluent may depend on having someone there who speaks the language but for a start, age-appropriate interactive games and TV (because of its visual aspect that helps relay the semantics of the language), are a good foundation to a child learning a new language. You could get them language DVDs for a start instead of pre-determined TV programs.

    I don't think it's confusing for kids as long as you they know which person to speak a particular language to or when to speak it. In my home, my son knows we only communicate in IsiZulu, speaks IsiXhosa with his dad's family and English at school but he'll respond in the appropriate language that is spoken at the time. The little ones are generally smart enough to know there is a difference.