Multilingual children always make their parents proud wherever they are. But they often shy away from taking the effort. It will create unnecessary confusion, children may not be smart enough; the reasons are many. However, experts say that these are just myths. Here are the six most common among them.
- It creates unnecessary confusion
When learning different languages, children may use all or two of them together. For instance, my daughter uses Spanish when she doesn’t get an English word for something. It may also happen vice versa. If she fails to express herself in either of the two, she just uses gestures. This is part of their effort to learn.
- It will cause a delay in development
This, in fact, is the most common among the widespread myths about raising bilingual children. Learning several languages never interferes with a child’s development. It actually contributes greatly towards their overall growth. Studies show that learning a new language increases mental flexibility and the ability to make wise choices. Some may even leap ahead their peers in other spheres of life.
- The initial confusion will continue even when they grow up
Remember, language is not an academic concept, at least for children. It is the medium they use to express themselves. Mixing all the languages they know is perhaps the easiest way for them to learn. But this seldom happens in the school. When everyone in an institution uses English, for instance, the child too will learn to follow suit. Research reveals that bilingual children learn fast to speak in a single language as they reach the age of five.
- You just have to speak; children will absorb a language on their own
Children do absorb a language as they hear. But it may adversely affect their fluency. Real fluency needs both the facility to use and the exposure to it. If learning gets confined to just listening, fluency becomes passive. Your child may understand spoken language. But they will never learn to use it in a sentence.
- Language learning should start from infancy
There does not exist a time like too early or too late for a child to learn a new language. However, the best time to learn, according to scientists, is infancy. It becomes slightly difficult for them from the age of five. Brain stores other languages in a separate region in adults. This makes mother tongue the medium of analysis when learning another language.
- Bilingual means bicultural
Language is not the doorway to a culture. It is just one aspect. If you want to embrace a culture, you have to visit the country. You should understand their way of thinking, customs and traditions.
Help your children to become polyglots. Their bright future is something that deserves everything you have; time, money and energy.