Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mom= Mamá=матушка= μητέρα

We all know that babies have an amazing capacity to learn. If you think about it, the first five years in the life of a human are very dramatic. We learn so much in a short period of time: walking, running, eating, and, of course, talking. Children do not only have the capacity of learning how to talk and to communicate in just one language, but to learn up to four languages at once. Yes, that’s correct, that’s why people say that children are like sponges, they are literally absorbing every bit of knowledge available, in this case, languages.

According to Richard Tucker from the Carnegie Mellon University, there are more bilingual or multilingual people in the world than monolingual ones. He also mentions that worldwide the majority or children learn more than one language at once at an early age. CNN also published a brief article a while back with some interesting facts about world languages in which they found that “66 percent of children in the world are raised bilingual.”

You might be thinking: what are the pros and cons of raising a multilingual child? Well, the pros are easy to count: it’s easier for a person to learn a new language from birth than later in life; your child will learn to appreciate other cultures; it will facilitate communication with other members of the community; and it helps children develop stronger writing and reading skills. When we consider the benefits of learning more than one language, the cons seem minuscule in comparison: multilingual children tend to speak later than monolingual children; they also have a tendency to mix languages (something that they overcome with consistency in the use of one language or the other by family and friends); and parents of multilingual children need to make an extra effort to provide them with materials and an adequate learning environment. Visit the Multilingual Children's Association web site for more information.

In case you want to learn more about multilingualism and children, here are some resources for you:

Here are some tools in case you want to expose your children to a new language in a fun way:



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