It is language learning week at LogIQids and today is the International Mother Language Day. What better day could we choose to dive into the nuances of language learning? We have interviewed Language Expert – Ms Amrutha Langs to get the right information regarding language learning for kids straight to you! Ms Langs, a LogIQids parent, is a self-taught polyglot and linguist. She can speak a total of 27 languages – 22 foreign languages, plus 4 Indian ones, and English, making her the best resource for language learning! Let’s see what she has to say about introducing a new language in your child’s curriculum.
Question: Why should we teach a foreign language to our kids?
Ms Langs: Learning a new language opens up doors to other cultures! You get exposed to a global lifestyle which broadens your outlook towards global issues. Professionally, in today’s super-competitive world, knowing a foreign language can help you boost your career, no matter what field it is in. The world has come closer but the global issues have increased. Finding solutions to such global issues – be it human rights, poverty or world peace – will be easier if people understand each other easily. Remember Nelson Mandela’s words –
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
Question: What is the appropriate age to start learning a new language?
Ms Langs: These days people start introducing new languages to their kids from an early age of 2 or 3 years.
Team LQ: We would recommend that you introduce a foreign language by the age of 7 or 8 years. Till they children turn into teenagers they will be like sponges open to learning and will be able to absorb the new language with ease.
Question: We have often read that our children must know English in order to start learning a foreign language. How true is that?
Ms Langs: Well, anyone can learn a foreign language, at any age! Children just need to have the right attitude and guidelines for learning. They may not be absolutely well-versed with English when they start with a new language, however, they can still start listening and reading in the chosen language to start getting a grip on it.
Team LQ: In our opinion, English could help in learning certain foreign languages such as Spanish, French or Italian – however only at a reading and comprehension level (due to a similarity in words, script). Students can still struggle with pronunciation issues. But we agree, it is certainly not necessary to know English to start learning. The first language you introduce to your child could be a foreign one if you are also well-versed in it.
Question: Which is the best language to learn? Which will be most beneficial in the long run?
Ms Langs: I’m old school when it comes to this. Today’s generation is not exposed to their own mother tongue, they feel shy to speak it and parents also feel hesitant in introducing them to it. Almost all the countries around the world emphasise on learning the mother tongue and national language before starting with anything else. I would suggest you start with their mother tongue, Hindi and English and then dive into a foreign one.
Team LQ: Once your kids are well-versed in the manner Ms Langs has recommended, you can pick any foreign language based on the chosen reason for learning –
1. If you are learning it to get better future prospects – Mandarin (Chinese) and German are great options, followed by French, Spanish and Arabic
2. If you are learning it for fun – Start with something phonetic and close to English – such as Spanish or Italian.
3. If you want to be a truly global citizen – This would be the right time to expose your child to various written and phonetic scripts – so pick Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese or Russian for an enriching learning experience.
Question: How should a parent go about this? What are some special resources for kids to start learning from?
Ms Langs: Instead of immediately enrolling your child for another class or tuition, go online and check out fantastic videos available for learning foreign languages. Blogs, YouTube Channels, and Mobile apps (such as DuoLingo and Memrise) provide interactive learning experiences.
Team LQ: A very easy step to incorporate would be playing rhymes and poems in the language one is learning. You can also play songs or podcasts to help your child develop an “ear for the language”. Here’s a list of resources you could check out.
We hope you found this guide useful and informative! Thank you to Amrutha for providing us with her time and support. Do let us know if you have any queries and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
A passionate Globe-trotter, Public Speaker, Philanthropist, Artist, Foodie, Writer and Blogger, Ms Langs has always chosen the road less travelled in whatever she does. As for her role as a parent, she describes herself as “I’m – A Mother, A Teacher and A Learner for Life!” She is currently homeschooling her son and a former foreign language teacher.
This article includes the interviewee’s opinions as well as inputs from the LQ team. We are always looking out for parenting and child psychology experts to write guest posts or interview on a particular topic. If you would like to collaborate with LogIQids and share parenting insights, do get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org