Perhaps the first question to ask is why should my child learn a second language at all? Second languages aren’t as important if you know English right? Would learning one, especially from a young age really be a benefit? The answer is simple. Yes, numerous research studies have shown that second language acquisition from a young age will not only give children a competitive edge later in life, but it will also aid in brain development throughout their entire lives.
Of course as kids get older most schools will teach Spanish. This certainly is a useful language, close to that of English even. That said, Spanish speakers in the US are extremely common and having it as a second language won’t contribute to your Child’s future in the same way that others might. Many companies and organizations consider languages such as Chinese and Arabic to be “critical priority” languages. That’s not the only reason, however, to potentially choose a language like Chinese over a more common option such as Spanish.
Chinese can seem to be very complicated with its tones and characters. However many are saying now that Chinese can be even easier to learn than languages such as French and Spanish, including notable people like Mark Zuckerberg.
“If you’re a bilingual speaker, you’re able to entertain different perspectives and go back and forth.”
There are more reasons why Chinese can be the perfect fit for your child’s second language education. As a language that is different from the romance languages it offers a new perspective and is even better for cognitive development than one more similar to English. This forms even more ways to see and understand the world than the average second language will allow. Knowing a second language is as if you were able to “listen to music from only one speaker, or you can listen in stereo … It’s the same with language.”
Of course there are other practical reasons why Chinese is perhaps the best choice. With over 1 billion native Chinese speakers in the world it is one of the top spoken languages in the world. In the past decade China has seen an unprecedented amount of growth coming close to the GDP of the US in such a short amount of time. This growth has led to large amounts of business and government ties which in turn puts China in the seat of one of the most powerful nations in today’s world. While English might be the most international language, as Nelson Mandela put it “if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head,” said Nelson Mandela. “If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” As cognitive scientist Phillip Wolff of Emory University in Atlanta who wasn’t connected to the study. “If you’re a bilingual speaker, you’re able to entertain different perspectives and go back and forth.”
To be able to learn Chinese from an early age, when a child’s brain is the most receptive to it would be a major benefit for any native English speaker. The children who have this opportunity to study Chinese will have a distinct advantage over those that have not. As the world moves forward China’s importance on the world stage only grows larger and larger, likewise the ever increasing benefit of Mandarin Chinese will as well.