Learning languages is rewarding and beneficial, this is why I am encouraging Isabelle to learn other languages, French and Italian to be exact. Our family are Italian and I’m ashamed to say that I never bothered when I was younger to learn the language, I would love to be fluent but I can just about get by with speaking and reading the language and find it difficult to understand when it is spoken to me.
Children find it easier to pick up other languages which is great but where do I start when I’m not so strong with them myself? I certainly cannot consult the dictionary every time I needed to know something
Well there are lots of learning aids designed for children, from books, CD’s, Games and even children’s TV shows. Isabelle is a big fan of Dora the Explorer & Handy Manny, these shows throw in the occasional Spanish word into the characters conversations. It’s a great idea as children absorb this and before long they are repeating the words and understanding their meanings.
Obviously I cannot rely on TV shows alone so with the aid of some great CDs we are in the process of teaching Isabelle French and Italian. You may have seen our review of the Baby Boom Boom CD which is one of the tools we are using. It is packed with well known nursery rhymes which are sung in the child’s native language and then repeated in the foreign language. It’s a great start and with Isabelle now repeating a lot of words it will be a useful tool. Small babies and children learn from the melody, picking up on the speed and rhythm of the language. Baby Boom Boom CD’s are also available in sets that include musical instruments which allows your child a more interactive roll in learning.
There are many advantages of children learning other languages, some of these include;
Learning a language at any age is a rewarding experience and a great boost in confidence. We are always looking forward to our child reaching their next milestone, and speech is one of them. Isabelle is coming on great with her speech now and is picking up new words on a weekly basis, which is a delight for us and Isabelle is extremely happy with herself when she picks up new words. With this her confidence is growing so imagine the accomplishment when they start to pick up another language. Children are always mimicking what they hear and it’s no surprise that they are good at it.
There’s no denying that learning another language is great for use later on in life, for education and future careers. With the admission processes for schools and universities being more competitive than ever, having other languages on your CV or application is a huge advantage.
Leaning other languages improves reading skills, there is a huge advantage for children using their ability and knowledge of other languages when reading. They can find reading a lot easier.
Children are constantly learning and studies have shown that with another language on board children process information easier as well as increasing memory and doing wonders for their speech.
Learning at a younger age is a hell of a lot easier than adult learning. Children can pick up on dialects where adults would tend to struggle; they can spot differences in tone and sounds. As I said earlier I can speak my families language and I can read it but if you put me into a conversation with them I struggle to understand the speed and tone of their dialect.
Another useful learning tool that I have found for children comes from Kids Learn Languages, similar to that of Baby Boom Boom but also including DVD’s and also posters.
So with my plan to encourage Isabelle to become bilingual at an early age I am starting to realise the flaw in my plan. How can I teach Isabelle a language that isn’t native to me? Ideally I need a native Italian speaker to help as it doesn’t make sense for me to teach Isabelle a language that I do not understand. This is where my own learning comes into play, Isabelle with no doubt pick up the language quicker than me but I’m hoping that with a nifty home learning course by Rosetta Stone that I will be able to keep up with her. I’m only on level one but the learning style suits me.
For now writing to friends and family in Italy I have to use a translator, not a physical person but Google Translate. This can often lead to a few mishaps and sentences that do not really make any sense. It would prove more useful if I used a translation service especially since we are looking at starting our own little company, it would prove useful if we had the use of a professional translation service like EVS Translations when dealing with overseas contacts.