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Linguaholic

Learning a language as a child


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When I was a child, I was lucky enough to attend a "hippie" kind of grade school.  One of the cool things we got to study was German.  While I don't remember as much German as I did in school, I'm pretty surprised by the amount I do remember.

Any similar experiences?

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No you're very lucky here. But I do have a friend who speaks Italian but he's not Italian, I think he's Mom is a teacher or something well anyways, so yeah I learned a lot from that friend of mine. Every time I come over his house his Mom would talk to me in Italian and they would teach me a few words that up until now I remember.

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I think when learning any language what you learn generally sticks with you, especially in your childhood years. As a child I did French for one year and I think I grasped a lot, more so vocabulary that I now often use and recall from time to time.

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It is definitely ideal. If I have kids in the future, I want them to learn languages while they are young. Much better to grow up with it. Even though an adult's brain is actually better for studying languages than a child's, children have an edge when they are acquiring their first languages/native languages. When you are a child, your brain is primed for learning at least one language. The simple trick is to have them learn more than one as their native languages.

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Learning a language as a child is the ideal. I honestly believe that.  When you are a child you can learn languages more easily, it's up to the parents to keep that alive and kicking by practicing!  As it is with everything, or almost everything: use it or lose it.

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Well I got to learn English when I was in pre-school, and I did not remember that I struggled with it at all, in fact I never had any difficulty with it, mainly because English is widely spoken here in my country. I guess immersion really is the number one factor and age too when it comes to the easiest ways and circumstances in how to learn a new language as effortlessly as possible.

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I honestly wished Languages were taught at an early age. It sinks in so effortlessly at that age. I have been exposed to three languages when I am young. Though I can't read and write in one, I speak it like a pro. The other two I can read and write just as well as the other. Both are languages I have learned when I was young. Lately I have tried my hands at Malay , Tagalog and Indonesian, and I have to say it does not come easy.

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If I we're taught a second language as a child I would be so happy. Learning language as a child is the best way since it's going to be fresh off of your mind and it's going to have to be easier for you in the long run when you try to study that language again when you're an adult.

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I don't know if I, and all of my other class mates would have responded to well to learning a completely different language other than English at an early age. On one hand, you do want children to learn as much as they can, and to be worldly, so to speak, especially in this globalized economy we're living in. On the other hand you have to be realistic at throwing too much at them at such an early age. I had a hard enough time learning basic spanish in high school, and I'm a pretty smart individual, so I'm not so sure how well young kids would pick it up. It couldn't hurt to try, though. None of the schools here really taught in depth Spanish, French, etc in elementary school.

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There are many different cultures and dialects here so most of us do learn different languages from an early age whether in school or just from our families. Also, English is standard here as well so most of students here learn that from an early age as well although only some schools are as diligent in enforcing its learning and I was fortunate enough to land in one of them so I was able to learn it.

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No such luck here. My primary school offered foreign language classes for beginners, but really it was semi-competent teacher marveling at older students being able to produce translations into, say, German for common nouns and sometimes adjectives. I hopefully attended this nonsense for half a year and got nothing from it.

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Spanish was introduced to students in elementary school upon reaching fourth grade, and it really didn't work out well with a lot of students because a lot of kids complaining that they weren't interested in Spanish and/or that they had trouble learning it. in middle school, Spanish was required up until high school, where students could continue taking Spanish (like I did), or begin taking Italian or Latin. The only thing that has changed about the current system is that students start learning Spanish in kindergarten, so that's a start. I'm happy that my younger brother and sister have a chance to learn a second language, but there definitely needs to be more reinforcement in teaching young children/teens the importance of a second language.

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Well kind of similar, when I was younger I had to move to USA and do one year of school over there, when I went there I only knew like 50 words in English and I was pretty much lost. After around 6-8 months I was more fluent in English than most of my classmates, I guess that is the best way to learn a new language after all. The experience was so immerse that time went by flying and before I realized my thoughts were already in English.

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I love to learn how to speak in French but struggle very much. My five year niece started her French classes recently and can speak impeccably. I guess it is easier to learn a new language when young when the brain is still growing. Besides a child does not have too many things to think about that may clog the thinking capacity.

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My son is a private school, Kindergarten, and they have Spanish one day a week. I'm glad he gets that, but would prefer he had it every day. I'm thinking about getting some children's books in Spanish to advance him. However, I speak German, and would love for him to learn that language as well. The brain benefits are huge and I'd hate to squander the opportunity.

Does anybody have a good source for children's books in other languages, such as Spanish or German? I would want them for myself, as well as my son. I think they are great learning tools.

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It is definitely ideal. If I have kids in the future, I want them to learn languages while they are young. Much better to grow up with it. Even though an adult's brain is actually better for studying languages than a child's, children have an edge when they are acquiring their first languages/native languages. When you are a child, your brain is primed for learning at least one language. The simple trick is to have them learn more than one as their native languages.

This is exactly why my children (ages 3 and 10 months) are in the process of learning Spanish and ASL now, rather than later.  By the time children are between the ages of 6 to 8, their brain has been wired for one language if that is all they have been exposed to.  The brain automatically filters out any sounds that are attached to their language.  This is why adults have such a difficult time learning a second language.  Their brain is wired to filter out and ignore those sounds.

Children who learn a second language are also able to pick up a third, fourth, etc. much easier (even if they study later in life) because they have exercised that portion of the brain required for language acquisition.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Based on my experience,I can say that learning a second language as a child really helps.  I started to learn English at around six or seven years old, and continued to learn until college.  Because of that, I was able to get a job that required me to speak in the language at all times. I am grateful that I started learning at an early age.

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I'd like to see a study on how well young kids pick up new languages. And whether or not learning it at a young age gives them an advantage of people who learn when they are in middle and high school. I'd be interested to see the results of a study like that.

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