“The limits of my language are the limits of my world” – Ludwig Wittgenstein (1922).
In a world where opportunities are increasingly less limited by physical borders and where travel between countries is easier than ever before, it makes sense that language now represents the final barrier to total global freedom.
The essence of this fact was captured in the quote (above) from Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Whether it is applied within the confines of our own native language or to language as a universal concept, the fundamental interpretation remains the same: the better we are at using language, the less limited our world becomes.
If our limits are currently set by our native language – and our skill in using it – we can easily see how learning a second language could break down another barrier and expand our world. Each new language that we learn further amplifies the world in which we can exist and operate without restrictions.
The importance of language learning to future generations
As the world becomes more automated and globalized, language is set to become a key factor in securing the best career opportunities. What’s more, it can also play an important role in enhancing our social lives and travelling experiences.
Learning a second language can also alter our mind-set and the way in which we perceive the world. We become less insular and introspective and more worldly and open-minded. To truly benefit from this phenomenon, it is best to adopt a new language when we are young and more conducive to learning.
Check out this great video that explains THE BENEFITS OF A BILINGUAL BRAIN:
Very young children learn language in the most natural and simple way. They remember sounds and then recognize them as words, before eventually forming sentences. If a child grows up in a bi-lingual situation, they can learn more than one language in exactly the same way. But when a second language is introduced at a later stage, slightly more effort is required.
The older we get, the harder it can be to learn a new language. When we reach adulthood, we fall into a comfort zone, where most of our thoughts, beliefs and perceptions of the world are already established. At this stage, it takes real desire and commitment to master another language.
Here is short video that attempts to answer the question: WHY CAN’T ADULTS LEARN LANGUAGES LIKE CHILDREN?
Of course, it can sometimes be hard to inspire a young child to learn another language and to make them appreciate how important it could be in their adult life. But studies show that the earlier a child starts learning a new language, the more accomplished they will become.
Learning a new language also helps to stimulate the brain and can lead to better results in other academic areas. Children with strong language skills are often better at problem solving, multi-tasking and forming different concepts. They tend to operate better in a social environment and are generally better at expressing themselves.
This video highlights the TOP 5 BENEFITS OF LEARNING A SECOND LANGUAGE:
So how can you get your child to love learning language?
Learning Language through Reading
For centuries, books have been the educator’s main tool of choice and little has changed in that respect. Students with the highest level of academic success in most areas will have worked their way through many books on their way to intellectual greatness.
For language learners, books are essential. Being able to see the structure and formation of words and sentences, helps the mind to store them to memory. This enables the visual images to be matched to the spoken word much easier.
Reading can also prompt children to pronounce the words in their mind or by reading out loud. The connection between the written and spoken word is essential during language learning.
The other advantage of books, is that parents and children can read and learn together. By setting aside some time to read out loud, children can start to learn the language in relaxed environment.
As well as language-specific study books, you can also buy children’s fiction book in foreign languages via the internet. Children enjoy learning and reading much more if there is a story to be uncovered during the process. And thanks to the internet, you can now search for online videos that bring books to life with words and images.
Watching TV and listening to music
TV and music both offer children a fun way to indulge in language immersion. By watching foreign TV shows (with or without sub-titles) or listening to music, kids can pick up new words and improve their own pronunciation.
This type of learning can be done without much effort, by having music or TV shows playing in the background in the home. Or for a more interactive experience, you could host a Karaoke session in your home and get your kids to sing along in a new language.
Here is an example of an online music video clip that also displays the lyrics to the song:
Learning language by playing games
Children love nothing more than playing games, so combining language learning with fun activities makes perfect sense.
Playing games gives kids a great incentive to learn by adding a fun element of healthy competition. Games also provide a great way of communicating and interacting.
Some language learning programs use games and rewards to help you learn. One of the most popular examples is duoLingo:
Learning Language through Sports
If your child is a big sports fan, you can offer them the opportunity to learn a language while practicing their favourite sport.
Throughout the year, there are many locations around the world that offer sports camps for children of all ages. These sports camps offer a high level of sports coaching but can also be combined with language lessons.
What’s more, many of the camps are hosted in the language that they will learn, so a full-immersive experience can be enjoyed.
There are few better ways of grabbing a child’s interest than by offering them the chance to play their favourite sport. Their interest for the sport provides the motivation to learn and improve under the guidance of expert teachers. When language lessons are introduced into this environment, children are much more willing to learn.
Here at Ertheo, we offer a range of sports camps to suit all requirements in many countries around the world. In addition, we also offer camps for other hobbies and activities. The multi-cultural nature of these camps also gives children the chance to interact with native speakers of the language that they are learning on a peer-to-peer level.
Of course, these are just a few ways that you can help your children to love learning languages. It is also vital that parents offers them full support during any type of learn and act as role models themselves.
If your child is learning a language, why not learn with them. You can encourage each other and they will get great satisfaction out of showing that they can speak better than you! Whatever you decide, positive feedback and encouragement is essential.
Learning a new language is not easy, even for a young child. Be sure to create an environment that helps them to learn without too much pressure. They need to progress as naturally as possible and not see language as a chore but as a skill that will enhance their life.