In the modern era, where the internet has provided the gateway to the whole world, where the advancement in communication has reached higher peaks and where social media has invaded almost everyone’s lives, it has become imperative for every being to know at least one foreign language. So, should children learn foreign languages? There are several positive and negative aspects of this question.
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The first positive aspect is that when a child learns the vocabulary in a foreign language it expands the vocabulary in that child’s mother tongue through checking new words in a dictionary. The child can learn completely new words or better understand the ones he or she already knows. The second positive aspect is that for the brain. Switching between two languages is like switching between two tasks and therefore language learning can improve the child’s multitasking abilities. Whereas learning foreign vocabulary can improve the child’s memory. The third positive aspect is that the child will be exposed to other cultures. He or she will have the opportunity to learn about a new culture. Through language, a child can learn about the country’s traditions and history, find out how the language evolved and which other languages influenced it.
Now let us discuss some negative aspects. The first one is language interference or mixing languages. After learning a foreign language, the child might start mixing all the languages he or she knows and might use the words of one language while speaking another language. The second negative impact is that the child develops a foreign accent which causes him or her to lose some of their national identity. Another negative impact is that learning a foreign language by a child requires additional effort on the child’s part which can cause the child to develop stress and tension.
We can probably go on and on about the positive and negative impacts of a child learning a foreign language but the true answer to the question is that, it truly depends on a child’s mental capabilities. Every child has a different IQ and different mental capabilities. Some children might not be able to learn a second language but they might be good at painting or music. So in the end it truly comes down to what extent the child is capable of learning a foreign language.