As a non-native English speaker in a country where English is the medium of instruction, our parents worry about when to teach us English without sacrificing the knowledge of our native language. With our generation most of us started learning English in primary school, where as my niece is already at 18 months telling me “no, stop it” (I think she gets reprimanded a lot at crèche). This then makes me wonder when is it the best time to introduce kids to a second or foreign language? Children at the age of one and a half and upwards are developing language skills faster than they would when they are older. They quickly absorb whatever they can hear. They can also learn to understand new words in two different languages at an incredibly fast rate. The importance of teaching a child a second language, in this case English, comes in terms of education. When the child is able to think in the language they are being taught in it makes it easier for them to grasp and understand knowledge than those thinking in their native language. People also realize that we now live in a globalized world. Therefore knowing only a single language has become inadequate. As English has grown to be the language of the world it makes more sense to learn it. In order to make it easier for your child to do so, they should start being introduced to various languages which they have been hearing and not recognizing since birth. Francois Thibaut states that our ability to hear phonetic pronunciation is the sharpest before the age of three. After this age we start losing the ability to hear and produce certain sounds if we aren’t exposed to them. Basically this means that we shouldn’t worry about not acquiring enough knowledge of our native language just because we are exposed to different languages.

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