Among high-achievers, being bilingual or even trilingual seems to be a trend. The ability to speak more than one language offers a variety of advantages today, and is the first step in becoming a global citizen. This is especially the case if you know a language that is already or will likely play a key role in the global marketplace and communities around the world, like English, Spanish, and Chinese.
There are far reaching and widespread benefits that stem from learning any language, but here we’ll cover how to learn Chinese, and specifically, the benefits of learning Chinese as a second language as a kid.
Improves Mental Development
Learning any new language challenges the brain and can help improve and shape a child’s mental development. For native-speakers of Latin-based languages like English, Spanish and French, learning Chinese requires not only learning new vocabulary but also a character-based writing system. The Chinese alphabet is character-based instead of being letter-based.
The mental process involved in learning a whole new alphabet and a whole new vocabulary in and of itself is a challenge and exercise is mental expansion. However, the brain-benefits of learning Chinese don’t stop there. Learning Chinese can also help with other aspects of cognitive development like critical thinking, logic, and information retention.
This has to do with the process involved in learning the syntax behind the language. Learning and understanding the complications of Chinese grammar brings yet another element into play that contributes to positive mental development.
Opens up Travel Opportunities
One of the best parts of learning a new language is that it allows you to explore the world in a different way when you travel. The Chinese language is spoken in more than countries as official language or by a large overseas Chinese community. By learning Chinese, your child will be on a more natural and organic path toward discovering and claiming international travel opportunities.
This could also open up professional opportunities in the future as well. If they find themselves in a position where they’re the only Chinese-speaker on their team, they could end up being delegated to represent the team in international settings and with Chinese partners or colleagues.
Creates a More Immersive Experience
No one has to learn the language before they travel somewhere outside their home-region. That being said, there is a lot of respect given to those who do. It’s about respecting the culture you’re intending to visit.
Learning Chinese before visiting China won’t just put you in the good favor of the locals you encounter, but it will also create a more immersive experience overall. By learning the language you’ll better be able to engage with the society and communities by which you find yourself surrounded. You’ll be able to converse with local shop owners, put in your order at restaurants, and even socialize with friendly strangers you meet during your trip.
Teaching Your Child to be Inclusive and Open minded
Learning a second language can broaden your child’s perspective and understanding of other cultures. This can teach them to be more open to diverse points of view, while being inclusive of people from cultures that are different.
As our global society becomes more interconnected, it’s important that our children see the world with an open mind and an open heart.
Learning a Language can Improve Empathy
Finally, learning a second language, Chinese or any other language, isn’t all about linguistic ability. It’s much more than that. Through learning a language we are inherently exposed to different cultures, values, perspectives, and ideas than the ones represented in our native regions. This, in turn, can help children develop and improve their capacity for both empathy and emotional intelligence by helping them come to understand different perspectives and mindsets.
All-in-all, learning a second language as a child can be extremely beneficial.