A Strategic World Language
Mandarin has become a strategic world language. Strategic laguages, are those tongues which have been designated by the federal government as languages in which there is a critical national foreign language shortfall. Fluency in a strategic world language distinguishes an individual as one of the few Americans poised to be an important global resource because of their language skills.
A Challenging Language for Older American Students
Mandarin is a tonal language, very different in that respect from the European languages with which Americans are more familiar. Such languages have words which carry different meaning based on the tone with which they are spoken. In addition, because there are no letters in the Mandarin language, only characters, its impossible to read it without knowing the characters. (There are thousands of them). These two factors help to make Mandarin more challenging for most older American students than, let's say, Spansih or French or German. Because both neuroscientists and linguis
ts tell us that the toddler years are most ripe for multiple language acquisition, it makes sense, that we would teach children the most challenging languages during these years.
An Opportunity to Communicate Without an Accent
And toddlers don't need to be "taught" proper pronunciation. Those who acquire a language at a young enough age, speak without an accent. The increased opportunities for cross cultural learning and relationship development that are presented when one is fluent and speaks with no accent, are subtle but profound. Such command of the language further distingushes the speaker.
Poised to Learn Spanish, French or ...
Teach the most challenging language while they are very young. Then in elementary school - they can take classes in Spanish, French or another language. And they will learn these languages more easily because their brains have become more adept at language learning. By taking this step now, while the window of opportunity is wide open, you have the opportunity to create a multi-lingual child, fluent in at least one strategic world language.