Introducing a second language to a child from a young age will increase their chances of being fully bilingual and also help them to learn third or even fourth languages with greater ease. This increased capacity to pick up languages also helps build a child’s confidence, their ability to adapt to an ever increasing world market and their sense of self. The Vale of Glamorgan website states that a child who can speak two languages will be able to:
- Communicate with a wider variety of people
- Become a bridge between generations, e.g. if there are grandparents or other family members who can speak Welsh
- Open the door to a different culture. With the opportunity to speak Welsh, your child will benefit from the broader horizons provided by the enjoyment of two cultures.
There is a large amount of research which shows that people with two well developed languages have particular advantages in the way they think. It can help make you a more lateral thinker as children who are bilingual have two words for objects and different meanings attached to words in different languages – this can help you help you to be a more flexible thinker in later life.
A lot of parents worry that introducing a second language may confuse their child or hinder their development but thorough research proves that this is not usually the case. Sometimes something termed as’ temporary delay’ can occur when learning two languages and this in the past has been wrongly diagnosed as a learning difficulty. However more recent studies prove that although a slight delay in one language is perfectly normal and will balance out by itself, a delay in both languages may signify a learning difficulty.