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When Should School Children Start Learning A New Language?

When Should School Children Start Learning A New Language?

We live in a time when there are great efforts being put in bringing the world together on a global level. Thanks to the explosion in the development of telecommunications and means of travel, the world has suddenly become a much smaller place than once thought. Yet, although everything seems easy within reach, there is still one thing which is essential in any kind of cooperation between people : mutually understandable language of communication.

Without it we are like the people working on the tower of Babylon, all set and ready to work, but unable to communicate our needs. This is why acquiring knowlegde of foreign languages is so important if one wants to participate in the process. And if one belongs to a nation whose language is not on the list of so called 'world languages' learning at least one becomes almost a necessity.

So, there is no doubt, that studying foreign languages is useful and necessary, the question that poses itself is - when is the good time to start learning one?

The natural answer that follows is: as early as possible. But how early in fact is that? Some people feel that childern should start learning a foreign language as soon as they start school.

There are some good arguments for this point of view- children, when they are young have almost an unlimited capacity to learn. Their brains are like sponges waiting to soak the knowledge of the world, and as we grow older our ability to learn new things and skills dwindles. Hence the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".

The critique that immediatley follows this point of view argues that while it's true that children have great learning capacities, starting to learn a new language at this point would still be too early beacuse the new language would come in interference with the native language. They feel that children who start school have enough concerns with learning the basic skills of reading and writing in their own language.

That's why implementing a foreign one at that time would only serve to confuse them and would have neagtive effect on the proper acquisition of both languages.

In my opinion, it is never too early to start learning a new language, if in fact it is done with the right approach.

That is to say children need to be accessed in...

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