Jump to content
Linguaholic

Learning a New Language From Children?


Recommended Posts

There this woman I know who got a job as a nanny. She had to care for her employers three children. At that time she got hired, she could hardly speak English but she spent a lot of time with the children and within a year she was fluent.

I learned from her that the kids wouldn't let her say that English was hard. Hard? If they (the kids) could speak it well, they wouldn't believe that it would be hard for an adult. And because they were confident their nanny would speak English well, in the end she didn't disappoint them.

Have any of you here tried learning a new language from a child you know? How would you say it compares to learning from an adult?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Learning a language not, but I have learned words and various expressions from my friends children in Spanish, Russian and Portuguese. I guess it might come down to the age of the children - when they're young they repeat same words and simple structures often and it's easy to catch on - whether you intend to learn from them or not. Maybe it's more of a 'learning together' as their parents are teaching them - and they teach me. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is how I got my job as an au pair in Italy. When I started my search, I knew I really wanted to go to Italy, to experience the culture and learn the language. The father contacted me and put it to me that his family spoke little to no Italian, would I be interested in teaching the kids some English while I learnt some Italian from them and other people around me. I jumped at the opportunity and it worked great. That's why at the end of my 3 months there, I could speak some decent Italian :) 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always been surrounded by English speaking children but their programs on TV like Dora the Explorer helps me learn a few phrases in Spanish. There is also this French DVD for children my sister gave to my son; it helped me learn a few words in French.

So I believe children help language learning.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

A year to learn a language? Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't it take much less time than that to learn a language, especially one as easy as English? Maybe the nanny just did not have the time to get proper lessons, in which case then it's great that she managed to learn from the children she was caring for. I'll bet they also picked up quite a lot of the language she speaks considering just how fast kids pick up languages. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Norm A said:

A year to learn a language? Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't it take much less time than that to learn a language, especially one as easy as English? Maybe the nanny just did not have the time to get proper lessons, in which case then it's great that she managed to learn from the children she was caring for. I'll bet they also picked up quite a lot of the language she speaks considering just how fast kids pick up languages. 

Hehe @Norm A....I like the way you say "...especially one as easy as English." I think because it's easy for you, possibly because you've spoken it for most of your life, it appears very easy. But in my experience, language complexity differs from person to person. For instance, I found French fairly easy to learn, but I know some people who feel it's hard. Yet they are able to pick up a language such as Afrikaans, just like that, a walk in the park. But for me, Afrikaans is seriously hard LOL -and I bet you'll say it's fairly easy. So really, it's all relative, dependent on many different variables.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On July 28, 2016 at 3:09 PM, Milanina said:

Maybe it's more of a 'learning together' as their parents are teaching them - and they teach me. 

Yep, that's more likely it. Personally, I've "learned" from children by listening from their basic errors and then being motivated to find the actual correct way so I can suggest a correction for their improvement. The Internet does wonders in this regard.

For instance, I'm currently in touch with a bilingual kid who makes me look for the right way to say things as I'm inclined to assist him... this happens with both languages, so that's a double benefit to me :D

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is easier to learn a new language from a child, mostly when you can get time to play with them. You can spend some time playing with them hence knowing more about their local language. You can ask children to teach you new songs, which are also a good way of learning a new language. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This looks like total immersion working for this woman regardless of the fact that she was talking to children, this may very well also had worked out with adults, but I guess that she felt less self conscious around kids as she felt that they were not judging her harshly and was not afraid of speaking with a few weird grammatical mistakes when the kids themselves are also perfecting their own language skills.`

Believe it or not, most kids are cool and probably took the whole thing as a game and enjoyed teaching her new words and expressions.    

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...