All babies are born with the innate ability to acquire language and because of this ability do so at a rapid rate. Children are able to hear and understand reasonably complex structure or patterns without ever having a direct lesson in grammar or speech.
However, it’s commonly believed that there’s a certain period of “linguistic plasticity” that extends only to a certain age (before the age of 8 years at the outside) after which language learning becomes much more difficult and less successful. Studies of so-called “wolf children” who, for various reasons, were not exposed to language before the age of 8, have shown that these children have very limited success in acquiring language thereafter – especially grammar.
One famous example of this is the case of 13 year old Genie, who was discovered isolated in a room by her father. Although, after her discovery she was subsequently able to learn the words for identifying objects, all attempts to teach her grammatical English – how to use the words in comprehensible and grammatically correct sentences – met with failure.
- Created: Wednesday, 27 February 2013 12:56
Using regular and repetitive methods to expose children to a language is a great way to teach them the language and music is a great way to do that! Our LCF songs each tell a story – perfect for young ears to learn and get used to the story which in turn helps them remember the language. And … you can now access some of our funky animated songs in French and Spanish online for FREE!
“The neurological links between language and music are vast but the basic thing to remember is that music activates more parts of the brain than language does, on both the right and left sides of the brain. So if you remember something to a tune, you are more likely to recall the information than if you just read it or heard it spoken. Have you ever heard a song on the radio that you haven’t heard in a decade and you surprise yourself by singing all the lyrics? Music and catchy jingles can stick in our minds for years while names of people, places, verb conjugation charts and memorized data disappear.” (source /www.everydaylanguagelearner.com)
Kids love hearing a favourite song and will listen to it again and again, and each time they do, they learn a little more of the target language. The LCF Fun Languages CDs for our French, Spanish and Mandarin for Kids club members are another way for your child to keep learning.
- We’re always in the car – you don’t need to schedule ‘practice’ time all the time – just turn on the CD when you’re in the car (or in the background at home) and let the fun vocab rock out!
- Listening to lyrical music in different languages will really help them “copy” the melody of the language.
- Lyrical music helps them to remember pronunciation and vocabulary.
- Kids love kids music! Their ears naturally atune to the melody and words without realising it. They’ll be humming it and singing bits long after you’ve turned it off.
- Stories in songs engage your child!
… and what is the difference between an integrative and an influential motivator?
The saying that language is “best learned between the sheets” is a perfect example of an integrative motivating factor.
Integrative motivation is when an individual learns a foreign language, say for instance Spanish, with the aim of integrating into Spanish society. The language is being used as a tool for communicating and building relationships within the culture of the Spanish language.
People who learn a second or foreign language in order to achieve a separate goal are instrumentally motivated. In this instance, learning the language is not an end in itself but rather a means by which to achieve that accomplishment, whether professional or personal.
The ever increasing role that Asia is playing in the future of both Australia and New Zealand, and in particular the economic and social importance of China as a regional neighbour and trading partner for both countries, is not “new” news. And, specifically as it pertains to second language learning, much has been written on the potential benefits to this relationship by developing Chinese language education in Australian and New Zealand schools. A good and mutually beneficial relationship will require a pool of Ausies and Kiwis who have a good understanding of the country and its culture and who’ve learnt to speak the Mandarin Chinese language well.
However, a recent report on ABC news brings a new perspective to this discussion from the Australian point of view, with experts saying that not only will the inclusion of Asian languages in the national curriculum go a long way to enhancing this relationship; it could also help curb racial discrimination.
… it comes with physical and psychological health benefits as well
Thanks to multiple studies on the The benefits of learning another language, we’re all now much more familiar with the many cognitive gains that come from learning, and being able to communicate in, a second language. And it follows on that this has enabled us to better appreciate why beginning the language learning journey in your child’s early years – when new cognitive connections are most readily formed – can make the difference between knowing another language, and owning it.
But did you know that the benefits extend beyond cognitive brain function and into the realm of physiological and overall wellbeing too?
(Read on for full infographic)