Learning languages is such a great experience—regardless of your age. However, there have been studies that showed that learning a second or foreign language as a kid is very much different when you try to acquire a new language in our adulthood. “It’s the classic ‘old dog, new tricks’ excuse. Many adult learners, in fits of frustration, will claim that adults are simply poor at languages. They say children have more porous minds, better memories, and more adaptability. I’m sorry to report, it’s a myth. Linguistic researchers have found that, under controlled conditions, adults can be better at language learning. So why does it seem that children have an easier time with picking up foreign tongues? Adults have pre-existing language knowledge. While children are still learning the mechanics of their own first language, adults have a more developed understanding of how language works. Adults already know the more advanced elements of grammar, such as how conjugation works, or what an adverb does. They already know how to build a sentence, and have a good sense of punctuation and spelling. In children, those skills are still developing,” wrote Anne Merritt in the article Are children really better at foreign language learning? for telegraph.co.uk.
Miss Kyle, a teacher in one of the best Chinese tuition centre in Singapore, shared her observations, being a language teacher for both adults and children, “I noticed that adult learners of second or foreign language may be more receptive, probably because they already have a loaded mind with other languages. There appears some interlanguage problems because of the existing language they speak. But when it comes to recognizing patterns, syntax, and basically grammar, adult learners of course do have the advantage for obvious reasons. Children on the other hand are like sponges who will take in everything you teach them. It is also easy to teach intonation and correct accents with children as they imitate the sounds that the teacher makes.” Teacher Kyle says mandarin lessons for kids has always been her favourite.
According to the article Top 5 Reasons Your Child Will Benefit from Learning a Foreign Language of the site frontiersacademy.org, there are several cognitive benefits from learning a new language:
Mitch, who enrolled her daughter Martina in Mandarin classes for children, saw the improvement of her child who used to be less sociable,
“When Martina was younger, she would often just nod at anything we ask her. She was too shy to speak. And her vocabs wasn’t that wide yet as compared to how many words she knows now in two languages. But she was a good listener. She easily understood requests. I decided to enroll her to a Mandarin class as her father is a Chinese businessman who often travels, while I speak English fluently. By learning a second language, I noticed Martina started opening up to other kids who speak Chinese too in her formal school because she can now easily express herself. She now has more friends, and that makes me feel more secure as a doting mother.”
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