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Does A Second Language In Early Life Affect A Native Language?

2339 words - 10 pages

Language acquisition is the process whereby children acquire the capacity to identify and comprehend a language either native or a second language. Most children learn a language through observation and listening and from there, they learn to copy what they hear and pronounce it. Many children learn to speak through sounds and vocabulary by imitating what the people around them, speak. Children are exposed to a language and this exposure helps them to be able to interact with the rest of the people. Children are not taught a language but they acquire it from the people around them at a tender age. Second language in early life affects the native language, both negatively and positively. ...view middle of the document...

It is the most effective and a beneficial way because it helps the child learn the language faster and more easily during their first development years Kuhl, (2010). Moreover, it produces a higher quality of creative thinking and cognitive development in a child because they are able to learn it in the first years of their life. According to Marinova et al (2000), the sooner a child starts learning a second language, the better because the earlier they start learning the longer they will have to learn and the more progress they will make compared to those who start learning it at a later age in their lives. Therefore, the effective years of learning a second language are the early years of a child’s development. Learning a second language in early life will help a learner become fluent in their first language and this is an advantage. Children learning to speak a second language never make grammatical mistakes and if an adult makes such mistakes, a child will notice easily than an adult. Brown asserts that, young children learning a second language are more conscious of language arbitrariness compared to adults learning a second language (Brown, 2000). The result of second language acquisition in children is very different in many respects from the outcome in adults.
A child’s brain is considered to be plastic compared to that of an adult and it becomes rigid after the age of about nine. This gives a child an advantage of developing a reflex to switch from one language to the other without any confusion and therefore, it is best for a child to acquire a second language before the age of nine since it will be easier for him/her. The plasticity of the brain gives a child superior ability to acquire a language easily, be it native or a second language. When the brain is already lateralized, language acquisition becomes more difficult compared to when the brain is still plastic (Bialystok & Hakuta, 1994).
Reading a second language has its pros and cons on the speech of a child. Young children will have no problem when it comes to reading a second language. They become bilingual when there is need to communicate in two languages and easily revert back to monolingualism when there is no need. Reading a second language puts a child to an advantage other than a disadvantage. First, reading a second language gives a child a solid grasp on their first language. When a child reads a second language, they are able to understand the rules of both their native language and the second language. This double reinforcement leads to firm language and reading comprehension skills in a child. A second language helps change a child’s ability to communicate in their first language and they become effective in their native language. Moreover, it gives them better cognitive skills and this improves their reading capacity as they will learn to pronounce the words correctly. In addition, knowledge from the second language impacts the ability to manage information from...

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