Chapter 9 : Middle and late childhood

Did you learn a second language as a child? If you did, do you think it was beneficial to you? If so, how? If not, do you wish you had? Why or why not?

I learned a second language later in life, starting when I was 12. Around the age of 12, we lose our abilities to mimic foreign sounds as well and will likely have a stronger accent (Santrock, 2019). Learning a language seems from research to be extremely beneficial for young children, the advantages strongly outweighing the disadvantages (Santrock, 2019, p. 296). Bilingual children (children that speak two languages) show a higher level of concept formation, cognitive flexibility, and tend to be better than their counterparts at noticing grammatical errors (Santrock, 2019, p. 295). Though I learned french later in life, I am now practically bilingual. I noticed while learning the language, that I had to relax my rigid ways of viewing and explaining the world. There are concepts that exist in one language but not in others. Speaking 2 languages has been allowing me to experience the world in a much more fluid way. It has also increased my capacity to learn new languages, and I am learning Spanish much more quickly than I learned French. It has been proven that children that speak at least two languages, they show a higher level of phonological awareness - distinguishing sounds - and integrate new vocabulary more quickly (Santrock, 2019).

Today, I am very grateful to speak English and French. I am very excited to speak Spanish as well. However, I wish that I had learned the languages earlier. I would have loved to have the multi-lingual perspective while growing up and discovering the world.

Santrock, J. W. (2019). Lifespan development (17th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

© 2016 by Aviva Rose-Williams.

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