Learning English in Young Age: Children learn English as another Language
There seems to be no optimum age for learning a language, according to linguistics experts. Singleton (1995) writes, “There is no point at which vocabulary acquisition can be predicted to cease.” Adults have several advantages over children when it comes to learning foreign language, especially English. Research by Harold B. Dunkel and Roger A. Pillet in 1957 assessed both adult beginning learners of French and elementary students learning French. In their studies Dunkel and Pillet found that the adult students performed better in written and oral tests, but worse on pronunciation. Adults tend to ...view middle of the document...
‘Language is the most powerful tool in the development of any human being. It is undeniably the greatest asset we possess. A good grasp of language is synonymous with a sound ability to think. In other words language and thought are inseparable’ (Vygotsky 1986). Language has a major role in supporting children’s process of identity formation and in helping them understand where they fit in the new environment they are entering. The acquisition of language is essential not only to children’s cognitive development, but also to their social development and wellbeing. For young children interaction with adults and other children is the key to the acquisition of language. For infants and toddlers their early interaction with parents and caregivers provides the basis for communication and learning in both the first or home language and in the second language (Siraj-Blatchford and Clarke 2000).
Young children are natural language acquirers; they are self-motivated to pick up language without conscious learning, unlike adolescents and adults. They have the ability to imitate pronunciation and work out the rules for themselves. Any idea that learning to talk in English is difficult does not occur to them unless it’s suggested by adults, who themselves probably learned English academically at a later age through grammar-based text books.
Brian Tomlinson (2008) introducing English in primary school seen as offering a double advantage: the number of years available for learning for learning the language can be extended and younger children are seen as particularly effective language learners. Learning English at a young age can make a big difference in a child's future, it offers opportunities for a brighter future for children. Children who are taught English early will develop better communication.
* The earlier you learn English, the better your accent and intonation will be. In fact, the critical time for acquiring a good accent seems to be before puberty. After that, it becomes much more difficult to gain near-native pronunciation. Lenneberg (1967) point to the "critical period hypothesis," that spans from birth to around puberty proposed that natural language acquisition through exposure can only happen during the critical period. It means that the acquisition is faster and easier.
Openness to Language
* Children are usually more open to experiment and less likely to feel embarrassed about making mistakes in front of other students. Adults often clam up when asked to speak in a classroom environment and "over-think" the sentence or word. Making errors is a crucial part of the language process. Children also tend to be curious and excited about the new language and seek opportunities to practice new words and phrases.
* It has already been established that children who learn a language when they are very young have a much better chance of not having a “foreign” accent when speaking another language....