I read an article in Newsweek recently entitled “Why It’s Smart to Be Bilingual.”[i] It probably caught my eye because I am grandmother to a nearly-four-year-old, and the photo attached to the article was of a young boy. I found the article fascinating, though, because of its thesis–that “regular, high-level use of more than one language may actually improve early brain development.” It helps in our ability to focus despite distractions, to ignore irrelevant information. These skills are called “executive function,” and they appear very early in bilingual children.
Bilingual education is, of course, far from rare in many countries, but in the United States it is certainly not the norm, especially for toddlers.
The whole Newsweek article is very interesting and I recommend it to you. The author speculates that since attention disorders such as ADHD can be linked to a compromised executive functioning, perhaps learning a second language, which uses these skills, might impact a child positively.
For these reasons, and so many others, I recommend our Mango Languages service to you. You can find a link to it on our website, or just go here: http://libraries.mangolanguages.com/pittsylvania-county/login?u=511157. Mango helps people learn practical conversational skills for the world’s most popular languages. You can use our Mango account from your home computer–you do not need to be in one of our libraries. It’s convenient, and a fun and effective way to learn a language. Mango focuses on words and phrases that will really be used in common situations, and teaches them through conversation, not just word lists. There’s help with pronunciation, too, so that when you go to France you’ll have a better chance of being understood.
If you want to know more about the Mango method, check this out: http://www.mangolanguages.com/libraries/methodology
Oh, and by the way–for a limited time you can learn how to talk like a pirate with Mango. Try it out here, but don’t wait, Matey: