The best time to learn a second language

One of the great aspects of migration is the opportunity to learn new languages. Today, some children are brought up bilingual and that is great, since a language is a great tool to have. But when is the right time to learn a second language?

There quite different views on this. Some scientists believe the best time to learn a second language is from the age of ten until 17, others think it should be as young as 3 years of age. There’s only one thing they all agree on, is that it becomes harder with age. However, it is not impossible for an adult to learn a second language. In fact, there’s people in their 60’s and 70’s who do. Nothing is impossible, if you put a little effort into it, and age should never be an impediment for something as wonderful as leaning a new language.

My personal opinion goes towards early childhood. For me, this is the best time for them to learn anything. Indeed, it is the time when they learn everything in their lives. They learn to walk, to talk, to play and it is at this time of their lives they develop their personalities, creativity and critical thinking, so, in my view, that’s the perfect time for them to learn a second language. Their brains are like a sponge ready to absorb all the knowledge that come their way. Some parents even try more than 2 languages.

I strongly believe that learning more than one language is very beneficial, not only for opening the doors of communication, but also as a way of building up the child’s confidence. The vocabulary they acquire and the fact they learn how to separate it according to the language they belong to, will help them have a more rational and organised thinking, which ultimately will lead to more confidence.

Some people may say it will confuse the child. It may look that way, in the very first year when they mix both languages and parents may not be sure if they will ever be able to separate them and use them efficiently. I believe they will. Eventually they will separate the vocabulary and will effectively use both languages.

Later in life, knowing more than one language can be really important, as it may open doors professionally. As a parent, I believe we should do the best we can to give our kids the best start in life, I also strongly believe that knowing more than one language is a great part of that plan.

Cátia

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