Typically when parents decide they would like their child to learn a foreign language, the languages that come to mind are the popular Western European languages such as Spanish, French, Italian, or even German. As a result, the majority of educational opportunities for a foreign language center on these languages.
In this article we’ll look at some three other language learning options for your child that are just as beneficial to learn if not more than these popular foreign languages. All three of these languages originate from Asia.
Common benefits of Asian languages
Before we get into our list of languages, it’s important to note that these languages all share one major benefit. Each language in this list is far removed linguistically and culturally from English. This means that as a child learns Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, they aren’t just learning a language that will give them an edge in their education or career.
They are also being exposed to an entirely different worldview. Inherent in these languages is a different perspective of reality, a different history, and deep but unique culture. A child fluent in one of these languages and fluent in their native English, will have a valuable and rare outlook on the world around them. This unique perspective will help children grow and develop as well balanced individuals. It’s also likely to boost their self-esteem.
These languages are also extremely difficult for older native English speakers to learn. If your child learns any of these languages at a young age, it will be considerably easier for them to achieve proficiency in it, as there are considerable benefits to learning a second language at a young age.
Benefits of Mandarin Chinese
In terms of sheer amount of native speakers, Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. There are more than 900 million native speakers of Mandarin. Even though the vast majority of Mandarin speakers are located in China, there is a growing Chinese diaspora around the world that still speaks the language as well.
Mandarin continues to be a force in the business world, as Chinese businesses are some of the big players on the international scene. Someone fluent in Mandarin and English will never lack for business opportunities.
Mandarin is also valuable for anyone looking to go into the field of education. There is a huge demand among the Chinese speaking population (both in and outside of China), for ESL teachers, and educators who can bridge the gap between East and West.
2) Benefits of Japanese
While not as prolific as the Chinese language, there are still over 120 million Japanese speakers in the world. Though it’s not quite the economic powerhouse that it was in the 1980’s, Japan is still a big player when it comes to business and industry. The country has long been a pioneer in the technology field. Someone fluent in Japanese will have their pick of exciting opportunities in the international workforce.
Interestingly enough, the Japanese writing system is one of the most difficult in the modern world. Should your child gain a love and understanding of written Japanese at a young age, it will greatly influence their cognitive development.
There are many student and travel programs in Japan for learning Japanese while in the country. This real world immerse approach is one of the top ways to learn Japanese, and a memorable experience.
3) Benefits of Korean
Like their Asian neighbors China, and Japan, South Korea holds many business opportunities for fluent Korean speakers. Korean companies stand at the forefront of the automotive and tech industries, and they show no signs of slowing down.
There are also large Korean immigrant communities across the globe in countries as diverse as the United States, Germany, Kazakhstan, Russia, and the United Kingdom.
Chinese, Japanese, and Korean might not top the list of traditionally popular foreign languages in the Western world. However, that doesn’t mean that they are any less beneficial to learn than languages like Spanish or French. Learning the Asian languages featured in this article will aid in your child’s cognitive development, personality formation, and also provide them with a range of opportunities in their career and education.