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How important do you think early exposure is?

I've recently started trying more than just German and I've discovered that being exposed to German when I was young through cartoons and stuff has really had an effect.

I'm really surprised that swapping a couple of children's videos for English ones with another family could really matter...

August 19, 2013



It is helpful yes, but not really a pre-condition. Obviously we waste a lot of time NOT teaching young kids languages because its the ideal time to start that long term investment - but you can also help yourself just as much if you watch the same cartoons when you are 30 - it will just feel like it is taking longer to sink in because you have less time to spare :)

None of these tests they do on learning rates of adults vs kids ever seem to take into account that we don't have hours of free time to sit and watch SpongeBob Schwammkopf... or that we are neurotic about saying everything 'correctly'. My two cents.


I find that sending very young kids to learn languages as a complete waste of time in my experience, that's what I observed during my experience teaching English as a second language for a year.


This is a very interesting statement, I would hope that you will elaborate on it ! I accept that you have found it hard to rate the sucess of teaching very young kids foreign languges. because the necessity is not always obvious when you are that age, and that can lead to a sort of subconcious resistance (i can attest to that...)

However, that contrasts starkly with the fact that if I had not read so much "Placid et Muzo" when i was 6, I probably would not understand much French at all! I know how it probably seems like a waste of time, but I think that one of the most important things when learning a language is not only to understand the grammar and vocabulary, but also simply to feel 'at home' with it. You simply cannot underestimate the importance of that :)

i think if there is anything wrong with teaching the young foreign languages, then it is not in the concept, rather it is in the delivery. When you are six, you really dont give two ❤❤❤❤❤ about grammar or vocabulary or verb conjugation, but you love to hear and understand a joke or a story, whatever language it is in.

Sorry for my bluntness, just my opinion on the matter.


Like I need another excuse to watch cartoons in my spare time! :-P It's gonna be harder to learn other languages but that won't stop me. :-)


One difference you could think of is that children don't feel ashamed and are even encouraged to mimic the things they hear. Don't hold yourself back when you hear something, release your inner language :D It can't hurt to practise, right?


This is exactly the kind of feeling that I want everyone to see. I met a 60 year old Frenchman in St. Lucia, had been a mariner his whole life, who spoke what an examiner would have described as a terrible form of English. Do you know how little I cared about the examiners point of view? This guy had such entertaining stories, I was honored that he even made the effort to translate them for all of us in his own way. He was a great guy and I hope he is still going strong shipping stuff back and forth across the Carribean islands.

I hate the idea that anyone should feel ashamed of not speaking a grammatically perfect second language. We don't choose the language we are born with, and I would never, ever treat anyone in the world who learns my language (English) with condescension. If somebody addresses me in my own words, they have already done me more of an honor than I have done them. It's quite simple.

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