Ease of learning a foreign language? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 04-19-2006, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just asked about Hebrew in another thread and after I hit post I got to thinking. My MIL and FIL are going to be teaching us Spanish (FIL is from Chile and MIL went on a mission to there). DD being around us will likely be learning along side us. I'm guessing that being taught it at the same time as just learning to talk period she might have an easier time picking it up. Correct me if I'm wrong. So could I start Hebrew pretty early on? Is there an "ideal" time to start languages? I know that the younger they are the easier it is to learn a language although it's not impossible as you get older.

I guess what I am getting at is those of you who do foreign languages, is there an ideal/best age to start so as to get the fullest experience/comprehension from it?

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#2 of 9 Old 04-19-2006, 09:38 PM
 
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There's not really a best specific age, but starting sometime before about age 8 seems to be the best window. You can start teaching a foreign language at birth (which you kind of do - whatever language you speak in the home anyway). Be aware, though, that kids in bilingual homes tend to be later talkers than kids in monolingual homes. However, once those bilingual kids start talking they generally can speak both languages.
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#3 of 9 Old 04-19-2006, 11:08 PM
 
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The sources that I've read state that if children learn to speak a foreign language before the age of 10-12, they will be able to speak without an accent. I've never read of an 'ideal' age to begin teaching a foreign language, but the general advice seems to be, the younger the better.

Also keep in mind that personality difference make a big difference. We recently adopted DS from Ethiopia, and he is now learning English in a full-immersion environment From my reading on adoption, I've learned that some children learn new languages VERY quickly (are speaking the new language like a native in a matter of months), whereas some children take longer to learn. My 5yo DS has been in the USA for 5 months, and still speaks English in a 'baby talk' sort of way. So I think that it really depends on the child, as well.

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#4 of 9 Old 04-20-2006, 02:18 AM
 
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Ideally, teaching children second languages is best the younger they are. After around puberty, the acquisition of a second language is not as easy. My son speaks two languages and my daughter speaks three! He was spoken to in the two languages since birth, but lost his 2nd language for a few years. It's been a nightmare to try to re-train his pubescent brain the language, but it has worked well. My daughter is young and speaks other languages with great ease, but I firmly believe it's because she's younger. Having studied this for many years, I feel it's just easier the younger they are.
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#5 of 9 Old 04-20-2006, 02:37 AM
 
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Younger is definitely better but keep in mind that it goes beyond teaching it. My first language was not English. I learned English in kindergarten and how to read it and write it before anyone else in my class. We spoke French in my home till I was about 8 and for some reason it just stopped. Even though I still understand it pretty well you would never guess it was my first language because I couldn't have a conversation with it. It has to be continued for a long time to really really have it become permanent.
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#6 of 9 Old 04-20-2006, 03:32 PM
 
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Yes, learning while you are young can be better but many people learn foreign languages as adults. You can always learn, no matter what age!
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#7 of 9 Old 04-20-2006, 05:01 PM
 
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Rosetta Stone and Muffy have great programs for foreign language. We have been learning Russian. It even has a different alphabet. Rosetta Stone makes it easy to learn.
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#8 of 9 Old 04-20-2006, 05:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momof3sweeties
Rosetta Stone and Muffy have great programs for foreign language. We have been learning Russian. It even has a different alphabet. Rosetta Stone makes it easy to learn.
You mean Muzzy?
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#9 of 9 Old 04-20-2006, 05:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWine
You mean Muzzy?
Yes!!

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