Older Children and the Learning of Languages

Can older children still acquire a second or third language?

The basic rule is as follows: the earlier one begins to learn a language the easier it is and the greater the chance of obtaining the level of a native speaker. But even if one does not learn a language in childhood it is never too late to start. The following suggestions refer to the acquisition of a language at a later point in time than in childhood.

  • Avoid dramatic changes: the new language should be introduced slowly, music and rhymes are a good start.
  • Acquire vocabulary. There must be a rudimentary vocabulary present to begin a conversation or to practice with roll playing
  • Practice and repetition. Provide the older child with the ability to practice what he has already learned, for example, at the table with “Please, can you give me the water” or “good night” when he   goes to bed.
  • Use your social connections to provide a child the opportunity to practice. Do you have  friends who speak the language or do you know kids that also want to learn the language?

Tip: Vacation where the language is spoken-two weeks in the cultural area provides enough exposure for your child to practice what he has acquired.

Tip: Also look at our articles review in our Blog.

Further in Raising Bilingual Children: Constellation of a Multilingual Education

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