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When to start children on learning languages?


GearZ
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Definitely start off as early as possible in my opinion. I'm not sure about teaching them three languages at once, because that sounds like it could get confusing. Two languages would make a lot of sense. Most of the bi-lingual people that I know were taught pretty much as soon as they could speak.

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Hello all.  My first child was born last month and my we've been discussing how and when to start teaching her languages.  Specifically, our plan is to teach her Spanish and German.  I've read that young children can pick up a language more easily than an adult, so we have a good opportunity to help her get started.

So, to parents or teachers, when did you start introducing younger children to a non-native language?  How did you integrate this instruction in day-to-day life?  Any tools or tips we should know about?  Any pitfalls to avoid?

Any thoughts would be great.  Thanks much. :)

Well to answer that question . I think a child begins to learn from three months up, and even when you are pregnant you can teach that child, it may sound stupid but it true, so I think the best time to teach them is from three months and even earlier. There are many different ways to teach them. You can call the name of the things you use when bathing them or when they are eating , just about anything and see the result. It does work. :grin:

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I'll be teaching my kids Chinese from the moment they come out of the womb. Then when they're older I'll have language partners.  :laugh:

Not only will I be speaking to them in Chinese, I'll be exposing them to Chinese movies, Tv shows, music, and stories. Maybe I'll get them a tutor as well.

My girlfriend's parents speak Spanish but they waited to try teaching it to their kids instead of just using it from the start which didn't work out very well.

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I dont want to force my kids if they dont want to you yet. But it's also best to teach them at a very young age. It's easier for them to learn.

Good point. I think kids should be allowed to choose whether or not they would like to learn a new language, but I think English should be highly considered since it is widely used and will offer many benefits when the child grows older.

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I think, if you have the ability to speak well enough in another language to teach a child, you should begin as soon as possible. If you start as early as possible the child should pick it up quicker as the child hasn't not known the language if the child is brought up with it. I think the older you get, the harder it is to learn another language as we start to reason with why things are a certain way and doubt ourselves. I work with children and there are a few children that are not originally English but as they were brought to live here young they are fluent in both languages and they get used to talking to their family in their language and everyone else in English. I am always trying to get the French child to speak french but she usually speaks too quick for me and I can't keep up enough to understand it all.

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It's better to start off at a young age. The older I got, the harder I found to learn a new language. Since we moved around a lot, I picked up quite a few languages along the way but since I was out of practice, I've forgotten most of them. So even if you learn it at a young age, you still need to practice because it's just as easily for a child to learn and then forget it. This is an interesting article I found if anyone wants to check it out: http://www.goethe.de/ges/spa/pan/spg/en7142444.htm

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I think you should start as early as possible, and you need to maintain an enviroment of speaking in Spanish or German, depending on where you are the natural school enviroment will teach them English (or whatever is the prominent language), then they'll speak to their friends at school in English. So you gotta have a home enviroment in the 2nd language, so they'll use that at home. That's how a lot of ABC kids can speak in cantonese/hokkien/mandarin to their parents and still speak English with an American accent.

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I agree, I think that the earlier the better is best. Start with basic things like colours and numbers. Are you teaching them a language that they will be using often, or is it just for fun/educational benefit? Depending on the situation your teaching style will probably differ a lot. Assuming it's just for fun/education, then just start small with a few words. Even if they don't end up learning the entire language, it's good exercise for their minds and will help them become more intelligent in other areas too.

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Teaching a child another language is best done AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE! I learned in my linguistics class that all infants have the ability to speak any language on earth, they only grow up learning whatever language they are surrounded by.

I disagree that flashcards and 15-minute games are the way to go with a child. You  have to make the language natural, constant, and fun for them to remember it and want to learn/speak it. Being immersed in the language is the most authentic way for anyone to learn a language. Children have to be taught that the same object can have several different names. If you are teaching your child Spanish, have Spanish pop up in real-life situations at home. Hand them something and ask them, "Can you put this is the basura?"

When they say, "What's a basura?" Say, "That's the garbage."

From then on you can consistently flip-flop between using the word "garbage" and "basura." Now for your child, they both mean the same thing. This flip-flopping is called "code-switching," and it's what bilingual people sometimes do with each other or themselves because multiple words have the same meaning in their brains. It's a great way to begin vocabulary-building in a realistic way that has personal connection to the child.

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As early as possible. A child's brain is far more capable of learning multiple languages than you might expect. If may not be easy, but they'll be rewarded with an invaluable skill and will thank you later.

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Children can start learning different languages as infants. If you speak more than one language make sure to use both when talking to your child even when they are still infants. This way you don't have to teach them they simply absorb all the languages they are exposed to.

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When I have children, I'll make try to make them at least trilingual from birth.

People always said that it's easiest to pick up a language as a baby, so might as well get some then.

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I was brought up bilingual. My parents talked to me in two languages since I was a baby. So I would say it is never too early. Children learn quickly. There are so many games and interesting activities you can involve kids in, and they don't even seem to notice in what language they are speaking. It's all communication to them. But they soon figure out who to talk to when they really want something, and in the right language, too. :-)

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I have read and heard also that it is best to start teaching a child any language while they are young. I think it would be a great idea to raise your child as bilingual or even tri-lingual. The point of emphasis though is to prioritize which language will be the primary or dominant. This would come naturally based off of where you stay and the environment. Definitely keep us posted on the progress!

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Whenever I have kids I would like to start playing language cds from when they are still in my tummy. I have read that even though they are still in, the chances are that when they come out they and you start teaching them, they will have a better understanding if you will of the language.

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