preschooler & other languages - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 07-25-2002, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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my dd has memorized frerere jacque from one of her music tapes

this got me to thinking about exposing her to foreign languages

there is no way she's going to learn it the way i did (in highschool, memorization and repetition from a book - lots of verbs and conjugating)

i'm sure there must be something out there somewhere for this? or do you have experiences with it?

i still have a % of my espanol but not enough to teach her and i definitely think i need a different method than was used to teach me
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#2 of 4 Old 07-25-2002, 11:53 PM
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Actually exposing to languages isn't too hard if you have cable. Find a foreign language channel and leave it on

- Amy

edited to add that I've read that just hearing other languages is beneficial to a child's brain ... learning or not is another story ...
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#3 of 4 Old 07-26-2002, 12:12 AM
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we take a Spanish class (it's singing, dancing, playing, etc), have books and tapes in French and Spanish.
It's a great gift to give a child because at this young age they are hearing how the sounds work and memorize the words and sounds so easily.
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#4 of 4 Old 07-26-2002, 05:41 PM
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There is thought to be a "critical period" for language learning that ends at about 12 years old, which coincidentally is just about when most American schools begin teaching languages. : After that period, it is much harder to learn a language and much harder to speak it without an accent. So early language learning is a great idea! There's also some evidence that kids who study foreign languages at an early age have an easier time learning yet more languages later in life.

When I was 4, I took a summer French class taught by a Quebec native who had moved to our town; she held it at her house for only 4 or 5 kids about 4-8 years old. She had some pictures for us to color and label, pointed to things and told us their names in French, taught us some songs, etc. It was great! 25 years later I remember about 75% of what I learned, and I also remember a lot of the Spanish words from "Sesame Street", whereas I took 3 years of high school German much more recently but remember only about 10%.

If you can find a native speaker of some language who is willing to spend an hour a week just hanging out talking with your child, that seems to me like the best approach--even better if the person also has a young child who is fluent in the language!

Another approach is to have your whole family try to learn a language together. Spanish might be a good choice because you already know some of it. Get a dictionary and put little signs on everything around the house. Get a tape with some songs and learn the sounds without worrying about what they mean; then later look at the lyrics and translate them and find out what you've been singing! If your daughter can read, rent Spanish movies with English subtitles so she can practice two things at once! Look for a first-year Spanish textbook in used bookstores, and even if she can't read, you can use it to learn dialogue and teach it to her so you can talk with each other about weather, food, and other everyday topics.

As for videos, some kids at church are really pleased with their Spanish video featuring someone called Muzzy....

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