Spanish is easy and exciting for children to learn. For their first 8 years, children are naturally acquiring language skills. They learn primarily through imitation, repetition, songs and games. After approximately 8 years, the mind and body of a child shifts and learning a new language becomes more of an academic endeavor than a natural process.
Recent brain research using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has shown that the best time to learn a second language is at a young age because of a child’s brain plasticity. During this “sensitive period” children can absorb the language and learn it with the proper accent. Exposure to another language also equips the brain to learn additional languages later in life.
In addition to developing a lifelong ability to communicate with people from other countries and backgrounds, other benefits include improved overall school performance and superior problem-solving skills (e.g.,Bamford & Mizokawa, 1991; see discussion in Hakuta, 1986).
If children build a foundation in the Spanish language while they are young and uninhibited, they will carry a fundamental understanding of the culture and language including pronunciation, vocabulary and phrases to take into their future.
“The child has a real hunger for words, asks about the names of things and practices them without pause even when he is alone.”
-Sir John Eccles The Wonder of Being Human
“Kids who learn two languages young are better able to learn abstract rules and to reverse rules that they’ve already learned,” says Aamodt. “They’re less likely to have difficulty choosing between conflicting possibilities when there are two possible responses that both present themselves. They’re also better at figuring out what other people are thinking, which is probably because they have to figure out which language to use every time they talk to somebody in order to communicate.”
-Sandra Aamodt, PH.D & Sam Wang PH.D
Are you an auditory learner or a visual learner? If you answered “yes” you would be right. That’s because we use all our senses to learn and process information.
– Rebecca McInroy, KUT 2014
Can you remember what it was like for you to learn your native language? Probably not, but why is that?
As humans, we begin learning to speak during the earliest stages of our lives, in infancy. Most people don’t have many accessible memories from this period of development. How do we do that?
If we can learn a language as infants, why is it so difficult to learn a second language later in life?
– Rebecca McInroy, KUT 2018
A study of bilingual infants suggests that a bilingual upbringing outfits infants with more sensitive language perception abilities, even for languages other than the two spoken at home. Continue Reading...
Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age. Continue Reading...
Patricia Kuhl shares astonishing findings about how babies learn one language over another -- by listening to the humans around them and "taking statistics" on the sounds they need to know. Continue Reading...
Research suggests that the growing numbers of bilingual speakers may have an advantage that goes beyond communication: It turns out that being bilingual is also good for your brain. Continue Reading...