What is The Best Age to Start Learning a Second Language?

When is the best time for children to begin acquiring second and third languages? At Satit Bilingual School of Rangsit University (SBS) we believe that earlier is better.

婴儿和新生儿

The work of neuroscientists has presented convincing evidence that second language learning should begin as soon as possible after birth. New-borns develop new synaptic connections at the rate of up to three billion per second. One specialist states "婴儿听到的、看到的、感觉到的、尝到的和触摸到的一切都被大脑吸收并储存在其记忆细胞中。" (科图拉克, 1997)

By the age of 6-8 months a baby’s brain has about 1,000 trillion synaptic connections. But, later, the number of connections begins to diminish.

10岁以前

By age 10, half of the connections have died off in the average child. However, up to that time, the brain of the young child has been like a sponge. The foundations for first and second language learning have already been set in the young brain.

在SBS 我们鼓励家长在孩子2岁半或3岁时就为其报名。 Contemporary researchers point out that a child who is first exposed to a second language at a later stage, say 8 or 9 years of age, will not intrinsically learn it in the same way a younger-aged child would learn it. 查普尔顿 (2016), of the British Council, has confirmed that very young children can not only differentiate among the different sounds of languages, but also they can produce the sounds that are peculiar to specific languages such as English and Chinese.

成功指标

准备就绪的一个指标是当幼儿已经开始显示出在新环境中感到舒适的迹象。这些儿童会表现出兴奋,例如对前往新地方,如购物中心或访问亲戚和家庭朋友的前景感到兴奋。(沃斯, 2008; 科学日报, 2019)

查普尔顿 adds that younger learners soon develop a fascination for the words and sounds of the new language while older learners quickly lose it. They become self-conscious and are therefore less likely to acquire a second language in the uninhibited way as younger learners. At SBS second language learning approximates the way children are acquiring their first language.

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