Learning a Second Language
Have you ever noticed that kids seem to learn languages more easily than adults? Children seem to be able to pick up the inflections and sounds more readily and they often mimic accents and dialects when they are around them for extended periods of time. This is not to say that adults cannot learn to be just as fluent as children, but sometimes it takes more effort to master it.
When our children were young, we decided to put them in French Immersion. I live in Canada, and French is one of our official languages. We thought it would be good to have them learn a second language while they were young. Both my husband and I took French in school, and we managed to do quite well, but it was sometimes difficult to get the correct pronunciation for some words. The programs then were more focused on writing rather than on speaking. They were just beginning to use oral language for teaching. I continued to study oral French in university and then went on to teach in a French Immersion school. My husband studied other languages as well and he finds language acquisition easy.
Many people opt to put their children into a language immersion program rather than have them study it as a course. Being immersed in a language, they tend to become familiar with the inflections, syntax, and basic grammar through hearing it being used on a continuous basis. When they are introduced to it in written form, it makes more sense. Of course, immersion is not for everyone and many people are able to learn well through classes also. (I found learning French fairly easy even though I didn't have the immersion setting.)
Oral language acquisition is best done in a conversational setting. This allows for practicing phrases that are useful and practical with others rather than doing worksheets full of conjugating verbs, and learning lists of vocabulary words. Of course, in order to do written work and read passages or books in another language, some of these exercises are useful as well. It is important to find a balance that works.
My next post will focus on 6 steps for learning a second language.
If you are interested in finding out more about French materials for language and numbers, check here.
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About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.