Friday, August 30, 2013

Children and Language Skills

With the increasing cross-cultural marriages in India, many children typically end up with the parents having two very different native languages. For e.g: Father - Hindi & Mother – Telugu / Father – Malayalam & Mother – Bengali / Father - English & Mother - Tamil

And one important decision (consciously or unconsciously) which most parents end up having to make is what languages to teach their children.

Here’s the fact | Teaching your child a language requires time and effort. And in today’s day and age – Time is a scarce commodity!

Hence, many parents make conscious decisions and choices on this issue. Broadly this is what I’ve seen:
·       Decide to focus on English, and not really teach any of the vernacular languages. Of course, whatever first / second language is part of the school curriculum is anyways learned
·       Decide to focus on one language only, i.e., Father’s native language or Mother’s native language
·       Decide to teach the child both the languages, i.e., Father’s native language and Mother’s native language. The only pre-requisite is that both parents / families have to play an active role in the language teaching / learning process
·       Not make any decision on the issue; and let the child learn as he / she grows

I’ve read and heard so many contradictory and conflicting views, opinions and perspectives on the subject of “Children and Language skills”. On one end are those who believe that you should speak / teach a child only one language till the age of 5 – lest he / she gets confused; and on the other end a view which says that children under the age of 5 can be taught several (3 at least) languages really easily – since their natural ability to learn, absorb and comprehend language skills is the best during this phase.

For full reading of my post on the topic of Children and Language skills, click here

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the children have the natural tendency to absorb - infact my niece is 3 and speaks 3 different languages at ease. Even better is she adapts the language based on the person with ease