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Discovering Languages and the Ability a Child Has to Learn Them

Feb 26, 2008
Maybe you have heard that there exists more than 6,000 languages in our world and that they are under threat. Similar to becoming extinct, many of these languages are at risk of not being preserved for various reasons. It is time that those of us in the United States make a strong push for diversity in the language curriculum of our schools. Why is it that they still tell the joke about the word American defining a person who speaks only one language? Why are we not outraged by that perspective other countries and their people have on us?

The young children of today are our hope for a future full of language diversity, appreciation of other cultures, and a world of more peace and love. Raise a child from birth hearing a second and even third language via music, multimedia platforms or local ethnic events and celebrations, and you will have yourself a child wired for a global future.

We all know that our economy is tied to the world. We read, hear, and experience daily how our ties around the globe keep our nation ticking. We may not agree on all of the ramifications these global connections have on our nation, our people, our lives, but the reality is there. Being prepared to deal with other countries is no longer an option, it is a necessity. We realize that speaking more than English is a must. And who better to begin teaching than our little children?

Did you realize that humans have evolved into beings uniquely equipped to learn, understand and speak many languages? Just as birds are born equipped for great sight and dogs for a great sense of smell, we humans are wired through the auditory cortex in our brains to convert sounds into words which then convert into meaning for our species. Because of this way in which we are born, infants learn languages before they ever recognize a letter or read a word. These young children show us that through imitation, context clues, and association with any language they encounter, they are able to acquire new languages innately.

Are you concerned that your child will be language delayed should you start the second language introduction too soon? Do not be. Recent research by Drs. Alison Mackey and Kendall King clearly disputes this myth in their book titled The Bilingual Edge. They point out the simple truth we as parents have felt in our guts all along. Babies, toddlers and preschool age children learn languages through the act of common conversation combined with repetition of vocabulary words and concepts. It has been proven that a baby can learn two words for the same object, say a word in English and a word in Spanish, just as easily as he can learn only one word for that same object.

Allow your child to learn more each day. Make the learning fun by interacting with your child in two languages. Oh, and if you do not speak a second language yourself because you never took high school Spanish too seriously or skipped French class to go get a burger, it is okay! These two PhDs and other linguistic experts tell us that being a native speaker is not a prerequisite to introducing your child to some of our world languages. All you need is some parenting common sense when it comes to choosing books, CDs, programs, and products that will bring the new language into your daily routine. I know you can do that because you are reading this!
About the Author
Beth Butler is the founder of The Boca Beth ProgramScoop your child up onto your lap and Order online or call toll free 1.877.825.2622 today!
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