When kids learn languages, they tend to learn as fast as native speakers.
How is this possible? There are three stages in language development for humans.
Well, learning the native language of another country is already hard.
But, kids learn languages a little bit differently. Let’s discover how kids enter their language acquisition stage.
The time span of kids learning a new language
Language development is important for children. Particularly, it will determine their auditory and communicative skills.
Babies start to develop their language knowledge as early as 0-4 months. They can also distinguish languages and other noise.
You’ll notice how babies can recognize their parent’s voice (particularly their mother) but becomes afraid when they hear a stranger’s voice.
Language experts suggest that babies learn basic words at the same time they do word combinations that are already complex for their age.
At age 1 and above, the simple and complex words form sentences, usually inquiries.
They’ll also select fun activities that they can correlate with short phrases or even simple sentences to ask for their mom’s attention.
They are usually in the form of “eat food”, “my ball”, or “go out” phrases.
At ages 2-4, kids start to show how they feel and what they want. They’ll also be able to determine the sentence patterns for any language.
Most languages start with a Subject-Verb-Object, while other languages like German will start with Subject-Object-Verb.
There are more learning opportunities you get as a kid
You may have a favorite children’s book that you always read when you were just a kid.
Little did you know, these activity books are considered your first language book.
The earlier you get your language exposure, the faster you’ll build your essential building blocks.
As a child, I was able to become fluent in the English language because most of the books we have are in English.
The method of teaching is mostly English too, so that’s what helped me acquire an additional language.
Now I can say I both have my country’s official language and English language as my native language.
However, families that want bilingual babies should teach their target language to children as early as 2 years old.
The learning opportunities don’t stop at home since kids have to go to school to become fluent in their native language.
Many parents also enroll their children in a language program around 4 to 6 years old and above.
Become fluent with your target language using innovative language tools
More than the immersion program that you get from learning at school or at home, there are also fun ways to stimulate cognitive development early on.
Small interactions like visiting a new country and hearing a foreign language for the first time will heighten their interests.
Even by going to a local park, you can see some tourists that might not be English speakers.
There are also many language learning apps today. Unlike before, you have to go to the library to pick up popular languages to add to your target language.
There are many language learning software with language games that involves music videos, audio lessons, and even a VR simulation.
Kids learn languages today because there are a lot of advantages in language learning with different apps and resources online.
Simply put, you have more time when you’re a kid
We hate to say it but kids definitely have more time in their hands as a kid.
They have fewer responsibilities and more freedom to focus on what they want to achieve.
They even do their own long-term study without anyone forcing them to set goals per week.
For adult learners who are way past their basic language lessons as a child, it’s best to concentrate on important words at your language level.
Pacing is not really important to look at if you’re not going to your target country anytime soon.
But, if you don’t have 3-to 4 hours to dedicate to language learning, you can check these top 5 easy to learn languages.
Being prepared by learning the common language of that country a few months before traveling will gain new friends!
You might even discover wonderful places that aren’t part of the popular tourist attractions.
More kids listen to words repeatedly over time
Listening is such an important skill that it is considered the first language skill we learn.
You would notice that kids will always repeat the words “baba, mama, papa” or any random phonetic word that has a repeated syllable with the same pronunciation or tone.
Language acquisition for children is easier to develop. Kids tend to repeat adult language and mimic what they hear.
Imitation is very important when forming words and phrases. So, as early as they start to form words, parents should already correct how they pronounce these sounds.
For adults, repeating and mimicking a word to memorize is a great way to retain languages faster.
One of the famous techniques in the language learning process is called spaced repetition method.
Spaced repetition method or system (SRS) is a presenting strategy that provides information before you forget it and keeps it always fresh in your mind.
So you could see a word a few minutes later, then a few days later, then a few weeks later, and so on.
Always at the time when you need to see it the most to keep it fresh in your memory.
Children aren’t afraid to try
Mistakes are a natural way of learning. So kids who are encouraged to try even after failing will most likely have more motivation to continue.
Kids aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone. They always have that goal of at least learning something by the end of the day.
And for the next day, they even encourage other kids to learn languages with them.
In the same way, adults should encourage themselves to foster and hone their language skills.
A community with the same interest has solidarity benefits. They teach others about language learning methods and even create teaching methods too.
Adapt how kids learn languages
Your social skills aren’t supposed to be perfect. Bilingual children may have the educational advantage of being born with an additional language from their parents.
But, as an adult, it’s not easy to apply what kids do to learn languages.
Some of the tips we can suggest are these:
- Make time to learn languages on weekends. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a language course, try to use some flashcard vocabulary when you unwind.
- Only focus on one target language. Not a lot of adults can multitask. Learning one lesson at a time creates a good spaced repetition technique.
- Don’t cram all words to memorize in a short span of time. You will lose your motivation if you keep on forcing yourself to memorize a lot of words per day.