“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart.”
In 2017 the world is smaller than ever before. Today more people are travelling more widely and regularly than their parents’ generations – and at younger age. With so many people across the world encountering those from other cultures and with different tongues, there has never been more potential to enjoy new experiences and meet people through using another language.
With so much to gain from your child beginning their journey with another language, the benefits of giving that opportunity are clear for all to see – but they don’t stop with the chance to benefit in the future.
With the early acquisition of a language skills the introduction of a new language at school is far less daunting, and studies even show that such skills increase proficiency in other subjects with numeracy and verbal skills particularly benefiting in children who are exposed to a new language.
Encountering new words and phrases has been shown to make children more curious about the meanings and uses of words, developing memory skills and training the brain to retain and recall information effectively.
Socially, children who are learning a new language are known to be more confident and willing to interact with others, meaning that your child doesn’t only develop the ability to use their newly acquired language – they also become better at communicating in English.
The ability to absorb and use a new language is present in every child, but can begin to fade if not used. Giving a child an introduction to a new language exercises that ability and not only increases their chances of becoming bilingual, but also maintains that precious aptitude for grasping the building blocks of a new language.
And why limit your child to two languages? Studies have also demonstrated that those who work at acquiring a new tongue in childhood are far more likely to learn and use a third language in later life.
But with so many benefits there for those who learn a new language, where should you start?
Many people have family links with other languages and cultures, or have experienced another country through work or travel, and have a natural preference for one language or another.
Here at Oso Spanish we have experienced first hand the thrill of taking the first steps with a new language – developing relationships with Spanish speakers and in Spanish-speaking countries across the world – allowing us to feel confident about recommending that same journey to children in our home city.
From a country of just 5 million people, learning Spanish in Scotland opens up 28 Spanish-speaking countries across the world, breaking down barriers with over 400 million native speakers and presenting new opportunities in the thousands upon thousands of universities, colleges, schools, businesses and institutions across the globe which employ language as a second tongue.
As a phonetic language it is simpler for children to gain an understanding of Spanish in its spoken form, and with a shared alphabet – apart from an extra letter and a few sounds we don’t have in English – it is much more accessible to children in its written form than scores of alternative languages.
With large portions of English and Spanish vocabulary developed from a common source it is easier for English speakers to make progress than with other unrelated languages. Also as a Romance language Spanish opens the door to many other European languages which are even closer than English in their vocabulary, grammatical structure and syntax.
Beyond the language there are far greater benefits. Spanish speaking countries and cultures are among some of the most vibrant and welcoming in the world. In addition to our Spanish neighbours in Europe, Spanish and Spanish dialects are spoken all over the world from South and Central America, even to parts of Africa and Asia.
The United States of America might be an English-speaking country, but it is home to over 40 million native speakers of Spanish all over the country, from California to Florida and New York.
Helping your child to take their first steps towards learning Spanish presents them with opportunities at every turn, whether academic or social, and Oso Spanish is the perfect place to start that journey.
With our focus on creating a fun and friendly environment where children can enjoy learning in a relaxed atmosphere, an emphasis is kept on providing a non-academic structure where oral interactions replace traditional classroom learning. Our immersion programme sees classes taught almost wholly in Spanish, with simple materials and instructions giving your child the confidence to keep adding to their new language knowledge and building a passion for the language, culture and history of Spain and Spanish speakers across the world.