Learning Languages

Tips and Tricks I have learned from my 2 year old Niece

When it comes to languages, kids are kind of amazing really….

Last weekend is the first time in about 3 months we have really been able to connect in person with family, and so while it was great to meet up and actually socialize (remember when we used to do that). It was also a learning opportunity as it gives me a chance to practice my terrible Russian.

The real surprise though was our Niece, who at nearly 2 years old seems to be having no issues learning Russian, English and Kazakh.

The ease with which she could go between all 3 kind of amazed me as an English only speaker.

It was at this point the family all just laughed and told me this is normal progress for kids coming from bi or tri lingual families and cultures, but it did get me thinking…

What can I learn from her???

Quite a lot actually as it turns out, which I wasn’t at all expecting as we sat down for Sunday lunch, but hey that’s the way life goes.

  • No room for self doubt, learning a new language is just part of life for her, nothing special and as a result there is no over thinking or over complicating the process and no self doubt
  • Sing, I heard songs and nursery rhymes I knew as a kid, being sung in 2 or 3 languages. Having something fun and familiar to practice with makes sense, tying back into the self doubt observation. Who has time for self doubt when your having fun?
  • Counting, I actually written about this before, but counting to 10 in your chosen language helps as an exercise to give you confidence before you start learning. It also helps us to start thinking in our chosen language which is about the most important language skill to develop
  • Just have fun, loosen up we won’t learn properly when we are not in the right mind frame, learning should be fun. If it isn’t chances are we won’t be taking advantage of the full potential of the lesson.

Final Thoughts

Every day is a school day and to learn from Kids can be really quite enlightening.

Its also a good way to challenge one’s self to improve, like come on I should know more than a 2 year old!

Of course its never that easy but kids can provide some good incentives to learn and of course they are great fun to learn with!

Learning languages as an adult can be tough and intimidating, learning with kids might just make it much more fun and accessible…


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