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What's the youngest you would attempt to teach a child a foreign language?


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Given that we didn't live in an area where the main language spoken was foreign ,so there's "rush": I'd say about 5; an age where they already have a good handle on their first language, so would have more "context" learning a foreign language.

What do you think?

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I'd say start them young! I am teaching my two and four year old cousins, just basic words. Surprisingly, they easily remember them. Though they tended to mix the languages before when I tried to teach them two in addition to our native language. So, basics I guess at that age should do. Then proceed further once they're old enough, say when they start in grade school?

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I would say the younger the better. But that would really depend on the child. My daughter is three. She has a pretty good grasp of words, although she still occasionally puts words in the wrong order. But that is not the issue. She is very stubborn. She refuses to do things I ask of her sometimes. If she was a more compliant child, I would start a second language with her right now.

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I think the earlier you start teaching the child the better the result will be. I have a native English speaking friend who is quite fluent in Spanish and as soon as his daughter was born he started communicating with her in Spanish. Now she is as fluent as her dad so it did pay off starting off at the earliest age.

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From the time my kids could already communicate, I started talking to them in English. That's not my native tongue but I taught since it's the universal language, it would be advantageous for them to be fluent in it. They are but they're left behind in our own. :-( My eldest though still has a grasp of it and can communicate fairly well. But my youngest cannot. However, she can understand much better now than before. So I will continue to teach her.

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I would definitely say from as young as 5 or maybe earlier. I live a Belgium, we speak French and Dutch, so we have to learn both languages at some point. Given the fact that I know some parents who started teaching their children Dutch and French and they turned out to be better in French than me, it's obvious that it's good to start learning a second language at a young age. I had to wait until I was 10 before I started with French, since my parents never thought of teaching me French.

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I would say around the age of 3. This is during the perfect window of opportunity in language development. This is around the time that children in my country begin to learn a second language. Even though English is the official language of my country, children do not learn English first. First, you learn the local language of your home and if mom and dad are from 2 different tribes, you learn both languages at the same time. The two are taught from birth. Then, you learn English and then a foreign language.

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I think I'd train the child as early as possible. I wouldn't necessarily rely on the age as a measure as I would rather just do it by feel but if I had to guess I'd say around 2 or 3 would be the ideal age for me to start introducing foreign language words. That way by the time they are more conscious they would already have a few of the basics and wouldn't have to struggle so hard with memorization.

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I would start teaching them at such a very young age like 2-3 years old. I think they will understand the basics. The younger, the better. Young ones are easier and faster to learn where they have good grasp of new words. It still depends how willing the child to learn anyway, can’t force them if they don’t want to. Perhaps it is better to use other techniques.

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I would start as soon as I think that he/she was capable of learning a second language. I have friends, however, who live in a house with parents that speak two languages, such as English and Spanish, and they said that they practically learned both languages from birth. I would start teaching a child as young as three or four years old the general basics, but if you start speaking to them in different language at a very young ago, it might 'click' for them faster than for children what start learning a different language when they're five. It never hurts to start early.

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If you want them to be fluent in a particular foreign language, you'll have to teach them from the beginning. Let them treat that language as their first language. I mean, I know there can;t be two first languages, but what I am saying is, two languages can be taught at the same time since the inception.

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I think the best time to teach them new languages is when you're teaching them to talk. If and when I have my own kids, I'll teach them English first and then their father's secondary language, which is Spanish. With each word that they learn in English, I'll teach them the same one in Spanish. After all, we're able to learn languages faster the younger we learn them at. Frankly, I don't think it'll be much of an overload on them if you're not trying to teach them a dictionary worth of words, you know?

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I think from the age of five is when a child is ready mentally to learn an additional language other than his primary dialect.At this age,the child has developed psychologically and can understand the complexity and challenges that comes with learning a new language.

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It depends on the child, but if one makes speaking more than one language at home something that is the norm, then the child will learn without even "trying".  I used to work at a daycare, and their were very young children there, "in diapers" age, up to 5 years old.  Some of those children were already bi-lingual, no problem at all, because they grew up from babies listening to more than one language being spoken at home.  I say the earlier the better.

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Younger is definitely better. I wish my parents had taught me a second language when I was younger, because it certainly becomes more difficult as you get older. When I have a child, I think I will probably teach them a new language around 4-5, as they would already have a grasp on English so it would be easier for them to learn another language at that time.

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