Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.
Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?
When it comes to learning a new language, it is always the best to learn it early rather than later since the benefits of studying a new language outweigh its cost. The usual cost of exposing a child to a new language early is that it may make the child's first language worse; however, the benefits of learning a new language early include the speed of learning a new language and the opportunities of making new foreign friends. Therefore, the pros of learning a new language early exceed the cons of it.
When the child has not perfected his first language and is forced to learn another new language right away, the child may not be able to use his first language properly any more for the rest of his life as he has to allocate some of his time to learning a new language instead. This obviously may impact his grades and consequently his career as the child will most likely study in the school where everything is taught in his first language. For instance, my parents encouraged me to focus on learning Russian language when I was small and this resulted in me being severely disadvantaged compared to my classmates in terms of grades which was quite annoying.
Nonetheless, learning a new language early can help the child learn it much quicker since at that point the child usually does not shoulder many responsibilities which means that they can concentrate on learning a new language, unlike adults. Also, it is known that younger children can imitate foreign accent much quicker than older children as they are less influenced by their first language in comparison to older children. For example, from my personal experience, it did not take me too much time to imitate Russian accent and I did not struggle too much to have it, unlike my older brother who decided to learn this new language after graduating from his university.
By learning a new language, the child may also be able to broaden his opportunities and increase his options which can be extremely beneficial for him as networks are crucial, especially when he searches for a job or needs friends to share his views. To illustrate, when I was a small kid, I was proactive and made many friends who can help me in many different ways such as helping me to find a job and therefore my life has become much simpler and probably more enjoyable.
To put all in a nutshell, even though learning a new language early has it downside, allowing the child to learn a foreign language early definitely a wise decision as the benefits of learning a new language exceeds the cost of it.
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