Learning a Second Language at an Early Age

Learning a Second Language at an Early Age

The knowledge acquisition of a foreign language is a prerequisite nowadays in the modern society, therefore, it is suitable to present the language to a child at an age that he/she is more susceptible to acquire new knowledge naturally. Being bilingual has numerous positive factors for an individual. Researches show that children who learn two languages develop skills to construct positive influences on their educational process.

After the age of three, the child’s perception enlarge, so, he/she is ready to learn more and get many stimulus, among them, learning a second language. Researchers in neurology say that the childhood is the perfect period for a second language acquisition. Every child between the age of zero and twelve who is being exposed to real situation where there is human interaction, will acquire more naturally everything in this environment, especially the language, which is the more developed skill during this period.

The brain is sculpted in childhood and a large number of synapses (connections between neurons) happen. The earlier a child is stimulated, more mental structures are created, enabling the development of their skills. The second language is easier to learn during the childhood, because the cognitive skills are still being constructed. The bilingual child shows an especial metalinguistic sensibility being more conscious of the linguistic perception. This way, a child exposed to a foreign language understands better its structure, not only of the language that is being studied, but of any other. ORLANDI (2003) said that the language is important to the mental knowledge and help the child to plan and to organize.

It is evident that bilingual students are mentally more agile in their cognitive construction . The child realizes that a chair can be named silla ( Spanish) , stul (Russian) , cadeira (Portuguese) or another name. She/he understands that the image which symbolizes the object does not depend on the name given. Learning a new language is cultural. The earlier you learn , the earlier you interact with people. The student become more aware of culture and how to respect the differences. According to Vigotsky children are more enthusiastic and lively as learners ; they seem less embarrassed than adults at talking a new language, so, they do not monitor themselves as some adults do and it also helps them to get a more native like accent.

After analyzing some articles based on researches with children, between the age of zero and twelve, it is right to claim that bilingual children acquire numerous abilities such as: how to deal with the increasing of linguistic complexity; the enlargement of the cultural differences perception; the development of multiple intelligences and the self esteem building.


Aspectos Pedagógicos da Divulgação do Baby Wave – Number One Idiomas