Sometimes we get an intuition about our children and where they are in their journey. When they’re ready to say their first few words, when they’re ready to take those first few wobbly steps, and even when they’re ready for their first kiss. It’s a parent’s second nature to have this innate insight into their children. This same insight could be alerting you that it might be time for you child to start learning a second language. If this is the case, this is an important crossroads for you to approach. Learning a second language can be difficult, but it’s much easier for children to learn and retain language than it is for adults. As such, if you want your child to learn a second language, like Chinese, for instance, the earlier you start them off the better.
The reason Chinese, and other similar languages, can be especially difficult to learn for native english speakers, and native speakers of other Latin-based languages, is because these languages are character-based. This presents a fundamental difference in the way that the language is designed, the way the syntax functions, and even impacts things like grammar and interpretation too.
If you think your child may be at a point in their life where taking up Chinese as a second language could be beneficial, these are a few tricks and tips to help them get off the ground and get their start in learning Chinese.
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Repetition is Key
If you’re considering how to learn Chinese, many of the basic tactics will be the same that apply to learning any other language as well. The golden rule here, when it comes to linguistics in general, is that repetition is the key. We’ve all heard that age-old-saying, “practice makes perfect”, but it wouldn’t hold so much relevance even in today’s day and age if it didn’t come from a place of truth. This applies to learning anything, not just language too. Whether you’re figuring out how to learn Chinese or how to play the piano, repetition can be a key ingredient to finding regular and repeatable success.
Repetition and regular practice are especially integral to mastering a new language because they help with things like pronunciation and can make a second language feel more organic and natural on the tongue.
Using Flash Cards and Other Memorization Tools
One of the most common memorization tools that people look to time-and-time-again are flashcards. Flashcards can be relatively simple, to incredibly complex in the amount of information they hold and test. By using flashcards, you’re able to help your brain convert short term memories into long term memories through tactics like visualization. It’s also important to note that flashcards as an educational and learning tool also make use of repetition within their design. In this way, they encourage and reinforce the knowledge to which we’re introduced. By doing so, we have a better chance at retaining information in our long term memory where we can access it at will.
Making use of memorization tools in learning a language will help in learning the vocabulary, the alphabet, and even the proper grammar. Folding flashcards into the regular study regimen can greatly improve the efficacy of the educational program.
Language Learning Applications
In today’s day and age, there is almost always an app for that. Whether we’re talking about having wine home-delivered at the end of the day, or getting our car sold, there’s an app for it. Well, language and education are no different. There are a myriad of language-learning and language-education applications available on the marketplace.
These various applications like LingoAce and DuoLingo are designed to help their users learn new languages in incremental sessions. This makes the learning process feel a bit more organic, and can encourage long-term success.
Since all children today are digital natives, they are likely extremely comfortable utilizing applications in their everyday lives as it is. As such, allowing them to use these tools in learning a new language can accelerate the entire process.
Teaching More Than Just Language
When it comes to teaching your child or helping your child learn a second language, it’s vital that the language and the words aren’t the only thing being taught. Languages are influenced just as heavily by the society that forms them as they are influential. In other words, the culture and history of a language is just as important to learn as the language itself.
By teaching kids about the culture, history, and society from which a language was born, we also give them access to a whole breadth of powerful information that can help them develop as both intellectuals and empaths.
Language is a beautiful, far-reaching, and communal thing. Learning more than one language will set your kids up for a successful future in a society where almost everyone is bilingual.