Bilingual Baby: When is the Best Time to Start?

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The benefits of introducing your baby to another language are well documented. In our rapidly globalizing society, knowing a second (or third) language provides an obvious edge over the competition in the job market.

But, what about its impact on childhood development? While some would suggest that over-exposure to foreign language may cause delay in speaking, this assumption is both unproven and outweighed by the benefits dual-language babies experience as they grow.

We know the many benefits, so the question soon becomes: “When do we start?”

The answer is surprising. According to an article by the Intercultural Development Research Association, it may be most beneficial to begin second language exposure before six months of age. In a study by psychologist Janet Werker, infants as young as four months of age successfully discriminated syllables spoken by adults in two different languages. Dr. Werker’s work also determined a possible decline in foreign language acquisition after 10 months of age. To give your child their best start, you must begin early.fun-language-learning

How is this so? The answer can be found in the complex world of the human brain. Our brains react uniquely to language learning at any age, even growing when stimulated by another language. While mankind can acquire a language at mostly any stage, it is exceptionally difficult to do so outside of childhood. From infancy to age five, the brain is capable of rapid language acquisition. Even so, there are varying degrees of acquisition, even for children. After six months of age, infants begin distinguishing the differing sounds of their native tongue and others. Beyond six months, exposing your little one to a brand new language will pose a challenge.

That is not to say that teaching your two year-old French is a bad idea! It is merely to say that the earlier you begin teaching your child, the better.

Though most babies wont utter their first words before eleven months of age, they develop complex mental vocabularies through the piecing together of “sound maps.” As they gather from what they are exposed to, an infant who hasn’t been immersed in another language during this delicate stage will not piece together adequate sound maps to differentiate another language.

The reason for this is rooted in the brain at birth. Children are born with 100 billion brain cells and the branching dendrites that connect them. The locations that these cells connect are called synapses; critical components in the development of the human brain. These synapses are thought to “fire” information from one cell to another in certain patterns that lead to information becoming “hardwired” in the brain. The synapses transmit information from the external senses to the brain via these patterns, thus causing the brain to interpret them, develop, and learn from them. From birth to age three, these complex synapses cause infants to develop 700 neural connections per second.

These synapses are critical in sound mapping, and at the age of six months, the infant brain has already begun to “lock in” these new patterns and has difficulty recognizing brand new ones. This is because although your baby is born with all of the neurons they’ll ever need, that doesn’t mean that they’ll “need” all 100 billion. Infancy to the age of three is filled not only with rapid neural expansion, but also with neural “pruning;” a process in which unnecessary connections are nixed and others are strengthened.

Exactly which connections are pruned and which are cultivated is partially influenced by a child’s environment. Synapses are cultivated or pruned in order of importance to ensure the easiest, most successful outcome possible for a functioning human being. If a function is not fostered during this stage, it is likely that the neural connections associated with it will fade. For the brain to see a skill as important, you must make it important.

To put it plainly, if you only speak to your child in English, the infant brain sees no reason to retain a neural pathway regarding the little Mandarin it has heard. Babies learn about their environment at every age and are internally motivated from birth to do so. Your baby wants to learn and does so by exploring and mimicking the world around them. They’re entirely capable of building a complex knowledge of Mandarin, Arabic, or Italian. So, why not feed their mind and start now?

Fall Holidays From Other Cultures to Promote Bilingualism

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One of the most magical aspects of the last three months of the year is the many holidays observed around the world.

From the time of the fall equinox until the New Year begins, there is an added element of excitement and sense of the fantastic, especially when there are children around. Make the most of the holidays by expanding your child’s bilingual education to include learning about the customs, holidays and fun that are part of the culture of your child’s second language.

When learning a second language, observing traditions and understanding celebrations, helps a child’s vocabulary grow as his well as providing a connection to the culture.

Here are two celebrations that will help your bilingual child better relate to his or her adopted or first culture.

  • Día de Muertos — If your child is learning Spanish talk about Día de Muertos, a Mexican Holiday that coincides with All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints Day.  Some traditions include personal altars called ofrendas set up in homes. Visits to the graves of loved ones are featured. Gifts of sugar skulls and marigolds are presented along with personal items that once belonged to the loved one. To read more about Día de Muertos browse this informative article from Huffington Post.
  • Chongyang Festival ( 重阳节 ) — is celebrated in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Japan. This holiday, which began before the Han period, is still celebrated today. Also known as the Double Ninth Festival, this celebration has many traditions you can do with your family to learn more about the culture. One tradition is climbing a steep hill or mountain to symbolically defeat evil. The festival occurs on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. It is believed that the day contains too much yang and so brings trouble. You can read about some of the traditions, myths, and ceremonies, and the reasons behind them in this article.

There are many holidays, celebrations and traditions to be explored. Take some time to browse the internet for information on these.

  • A good starting place for your search is to type into the search engine: _______ Holidays. (insert: Chinese, German, Portuguese, or the country of the language your child is studying).
  • Select one holiday or festival and enter that name in your search engine, e.g., Chongyang Festival, for more information about the holiday.

You will soon have a long list of holidays, traditions, and adventures to extend your child’s learning.

For more information on how Little Pim can support and contribute to your child’s bilingual education visit our website and browse our blog posts today.

Continue reading “Fall Holidays From Other Cultures to Promote Bilingualism”

Bonding With Your Child Through Your Native Language

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raising-bilingual-kidsCreating bonds is a very important part of raising children. It allows them to feel nurtured and loved. Sharing your native language with your child is a great bonding experience that can have a life-long impact.

Family ties

Many parents that are raising bilingual children have ties to the language through family. The technology that we have today makes it so easy to communicate with family that is far away. Your child will have the great advantage of communicating and forming bonds with the extended family. Being able to communicate not only broadens social skills, it definitely expands the family tree.

For a fun craft, build a family tree with your little ones when they are old enough to recognize names and photos of relatives. Talk about the relationships between each family member and go over relevant vocabulary in your native language, i.e. words for mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, etc.

Cultural traditions

Languages are more than just words. There is a lot of tradition within them. Through the words of your native language, your child will learn about food and traditional dishes, they will learn about music and instruments. They will hear stories that have been told through generations and pick up books of great writers. They will be able to have an understanding and participate in these traditions. The bond between you, your child and family will have stronger roots.

gift-of-languageThe gift that keeps on giving

Sharing your native language with your child really is a gift. It will not only set up great advantages when he/she is an adult venturing out in the world, but it will instill a strong sense of self and an emotional connection to others. One day, your child will be in the position to pass down all of the great treasures that are wrapped inside the words of that second language.

Need some help introducing your child to a second language? Little Pim makes it fun and easy to learn a new language with resources your child will love! Comment below if you have any questions!

Your Baby CAN be Bilingual

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bilingual-babyExperts around the globe agree that language learning begins at a young age. Adults that attempt to learn a new language often struggle, whereas small children have the unique ability to latch on to multiple languages at a time. However, many parents face a dilemma when it comes to the decision of exactly when a child’s exposure to another language should begin. It’s a topic that poses many valid questions among parents and educators:

When should I begin teaching my child a second (or third) language?”

“Should I wait until they can talk?”

“Should I wait until they’ve mastered English?”

“Will exposing them to too many languages at once cause communication difficulties later on?”

Science has shown us the answer, and it’s groundbreaking. Babies can learn multiple languages at a time and have no delay in language development as a result. In fact, beginning multilingual exposure in infancy may give your child an edge over their peers later on. Oral vocabulary is critical for children as they achieve literacy in any language, which doubles when a child is fluent in more than one language.

A University of Washington study determined that children exposed to other languages during the first year of life fared better in preschool due in part to the fact that their vocabularies were greatly increased. The bilingual children in the study were shown to understand written language at an earlier age than their peers.

Children should be exposed to multilingualism as early as possible. 6-month-old babies can understand spoken language with great clarity. Infants as young as 7 months can understand and keep their languages separate. As children reach a verbal age, they commonly mix languages together, but this is not at all a bad thing. It is a common occurrence in young and old bilinguals alike, called “code switching.” Code switching is an almost universal step for children as they learn to verbalize multiple languages correctly. Children that mix their languages do so only temporarily, whereas adults that learn later in life commonly struggle with it.

You can teach your child several languages at once without “damaging” them in any way. Considering that over 60% of the world population is multilingual in some way, it’s easy to see that human beings are hardwired to know more than one from the start.

Here at Little Pim, we have many products that encourage language immersion from an early age. Do you have any little polygots running around? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Outstanding Information on Teaching Your Child Another Language

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back-to-school-language-learningTeaching your child a second, or even third language, is exciting, stimulating, and fun, not to mention an experience that will bring you and your child closer. Moreover, the best part is you will be doing a great service for your child. Approximately, two-thirds of the world is bilingual and in the United States alone, the number of children who speak a language other than English has increased to 21 percent. The benefits of learning another language are well documented; a few of the benefits include:

  • – Increased intelligence
  • – More fluent verbal skills
  • – Greater memory ability
  • – Problem-solving savvy
  • – Improved cognitive skills
  • – Better reading/writing skills
  • – Larger worldview

As a parent, you may have a lot of questions about how, where, or when to begin the journey of introducing your child to a new language. Let’s look at a few of the questions parents have.

When is the best time to teach my child?

Research shows that babies and toddlers are prime age for teaching a second language. As astonishing as it sounds, the brain of the baby is wired for learning a language. The sounds of the language are as a pattern to the brain, which acts in ways similar to a computer – coding and decoding the symbols of sound and storing it into the memory. Before the age of six years old is ideal.

How can I possibly teach my child another language when I don’t know the language?

This is probably the biggest concern and hold back for a lot of parents, but with immersion-style videos, books, and entertaining material, your baby can begin learning the language whether you know it or not. Actually, you will learn right along with your child. Engaging videos are a must to attract the attention of the small child. Our Entertainment Immersion Method® engages a child’s natural love of play and learning through repetition. Colorful books to touch, upbeat music, and flashcards all work to reinforce the language.

early-learningWhere can I find a program that will effectively teach my child another language?

At Little Pim, we have developed a highly-visual, language-learning program that children fall in love with. One reason our program is effective is children can relate to their “teacher,” which happens to be the delightful, animated Little Pim panda bear. The books and videos host the adorable panda so children come to know and love the little bear. They will look forward to learning. One child’s parent is quoted as saying her son “loves the animations of Little Pim and often asks to watch them over and over again. He loves to yell the words he knows…”

Teaching your child a second language has never been more fun. Choose from our 12 language sets to watch a free preview of Little Pim today!

Bilingualism: Reading With Your Child

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reading-with-kidsExtracurricular reading, throughout the year, is one of the best ways to assure children continue to develop language and reading skills fluidly. Children tend to lose weeks or even months of learning when they do not practice their newly acquired language and reading skills over the summer months and other school breaks. Reading at home is essential to helping your child continue to grow his skills. When your child is bilingual, it is of particular importance to include reading materials from both languages.

There are ways to help your child to enjoy reading, if he or she does not, already. Many competing interests pull children away from academic pursuits. Reading in the second language can cement skills and provide a fun distraction, especially if reading time is also special parent-child time.

Popular children’s books available in other languages

Following are some suggested children’s books for preschool and grade school children. It is necessary for your child’s academic progress that you select books from her reading grade level, rather than her actual grade level if she is reading to herself. Many children read above grade level, and some read below grade level. Your child’s progress in both reading skills and language development, when reading appropriate books regularly, will increase. When reading aloud to your child, you can both enjoy more advanced books, which helps with their comprehension.

For preschool children, most often, you will read to them. Use your finger to point to words as you read. The left to right process is an essential pre-reading skill for English, Spanish, and many other languages; while some other languages use right to left pattern, such as in Hebrew text. Pointing helps your child understand the left to right, or the right to left pattern, for the languages they learn.

Each book listed below shows the foreign language versions from readily available online sources.

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Korean)
  • In a Small, Small, Pond by Denise Fleming (picture book – have your child create the story from the pictures, using the second language)
  • Harold and The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (Spanish, French, Korean)
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Mandarin)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Spanish, German, French, Mandarin)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess (Spanish, French, Italian, Hebrew)
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle (Spanish, French, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese)
  • I’ll love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw (Spanish, French)
  • My FaceBook by Starbright Books ( Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Korean, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Hebrew, Portuguese)

Read Aloud Chapter Books

  • Charlottes Web by E.B.White (Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Korean)
  • Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary (Spanish, French, Japanese, Portuguese)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis (Spanish, German, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean)
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (German, French, Mandarin, Russian, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Portuguese, Korean)

These are a few books to get you started on you bilingual reading lists. Once your child has identified the authors he especially enjoys, you can encourage him to explore more of that writer’s work.

For more information on enriching your child’s bilingual education, let Little Pim be your go-to source.

Differences Between Brazilian and European Portuguese

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Portuguese is one of the most beautiful, romantic, Latin languages. As the sixth most spoken mother tongue in the world, Portuguese is an excellent choice for your toddler or preschooler.
Speaking Portuguese, even if you have no ties to the language and culture, is a marketable skill that will serve your child well in the future.

As with English, the country where the language is learned and spoken makes a lot of difference in words, pronunciation, and grammar. The Portuguese spoken in Brazil is so different from European Portuguese that it is often referred to as Brasileiro, according to the website Lexiophiles.

There are many reasons for these differences and here are two of the most obvious ones.

Cultural Influence

In Brazilian Portuguese American Indian tribal languages donated many of the words for local foods, plants, and animals, as well as other objects. These words are unknown to speakers of European Portuguese.

Italian, French, and African languages such as Yoruba, have also found their way into Brasileiro. These add a significant contribution to the vocabulary of Brazilian Portuguese that does not exist in European Portuguese.

Intonation and Cadence

Brasileiro is more musical or lyrical than European Portuguese. Vowels are more open than those in European Portuguese and to English speakers, European Portuguese can sound somewhat muffled.  Brasileiro is syllable-timed like Spanish with equal stress on all syllables. And European Portuguese is stress-timed, with stressed and unstressed syllables in words, which is more familiar to native English speakers.

Little Pim’s language courses for young children make learning Portuguese an exciting, playful, and educational experience for your child. She will learn 180 Portuguese words and phrases to start her on a lifelong path of bilingualism. Browse our website for more information on Portuguese language learning for your child.

Incorporating Language Learning into the 2016 Olympics

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Olympic_rings_without_rims.svgFlash forward a couple weeks from today: It’s a sticky summer day, and to cool down and spend some quality time with your kiddos, you decide to go home, sprawl out on the couch, and watch the Olympic games. Your child becomes disengaged, or maybe your kid loves the games and is glued to the television. Either way, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to teach your children Portuguese and make them feel a deeper connection to Rio than the screen in your living room. We, here at Little Pim, recognize this language learning opportunity, and luckily, we offer lessons and flash cards in Portuguese that will make your son or daughter speak as well as Gabby Douglas flips in the time of a Usain Bolt 100 meter dash.

olympic-games-kidsSports Vocabulary

The most obvious vocabulary to introduce to your child during the Olympic games would be basic sports vocabulary, like the words for: ball, referee, pool, court, and field. To try to cultivate the strongest correlation between the words you are teaching and an image, it is probably smart to introduce the vocab as its corresponding image appears on the television.

Additionally, since the words you will be teaching them are about being active, you can make the language learning active. Play a game of catch while watching the 2016 games. When you have the ball, say the English word, and have your child say the Portuguese translation upon catching the ball. They can learn more about how to discuss playtime in Portuguese with the Little Pim “Playtime” lesson, which is available for online purchase. This online accessibility means they can sit on the couch and learn Portuguese on any device with the Olympics on in the background.

Geography

The Olympics has a record number of countries competing this year, so now more than ever the Olympics is a melting pot of cultures. This presents you with the ability to expose your child to a plethora of different countries. With that, you can teach them how to say each country’s name, main languages, and prominent religions in Portuguese. You can pull out a map and point at the country in question as you go along! If your family has roots in a certain country, this is a great time to introduce a bit of that country’s language too; Little Pim lessons could probably help you do so!

Counting

The number system is critical to any language, so it is a good place to start when learning Portuguese. As the shot clock winds down or the race is about to begin, have your son or daughter count down in Portuguese. They will be ready by New Years to count down to 12 AM in Portuguese!

Start by counting numbers 1-10 in Portuguese, then go backwards to start the countdown:

10 – dez 5 – cinco
9 – nove 4 – quatro
8 – oito 3 – três
7 – sete 2 – dois
6 – seis 1 – um

Stats

As each athlete’s statistics are plastered across your television screen, you can teach your little one the words for goal, assist, point, etc. This can be a particularly great exercise with little boys and girls who have already developed a passion for sports

(it is probably genetic) and enjoy memorizing statistics from player cards and a teams’ websites.

sports-vocabulary-kidsPersonalize the Activity

If your son or daughter is especially fond of one sport that will be performed during the summer games, make sure to focus on the vocabulary relating to that sport. This will make the language learning of greater value in their eyes, and thereby more fun for them.
For example:

Basketball Soccer Tennis
Hoop = aro Cleats = chuteiras Tennis net = rede de tênis
Rebound = ricochete Corner kick = escanteio Volley = voleio
Foul line = linha de falta Header = cabeçada Advantage = vantagem

Get Involved As a Parent

If you are fluent in Portuguese or have never heard a word of it, speaking the language with your kid makes it a group activity as opposed to a chore. Additionally, if your whole family wants to extend your exposure to Brazilian culture beyond language learning, please refer to a post coming out soon about fun activities infused with Brazilian culture that you can do right at home.

Portuguese Flash Cards Volume 1Vocab Reinforcement

For the words to stick, a child needs to become familiar with them by hearing them a number of times. On your way to a mall or weekend get-away, you can review the Portuguese vocab in a fun trivia-like format. The Little Pim flash card set could serve this purpose really well!

 

Teach Love and Kindness

Sports have the power to transcend countries’ borders, racial divides, and social differences. That power is what makes the Olympics such a beautiful thing to watch, especially today when these issues run rampant in our society. Teaching your child the English words for unity, equality, fairness, and sportsmanship, for example, is a powerful action in it of itself. Imagine the power of teaching them these words in yet another language, like Portuguese.

By teaching your child another language at a young age, you accomplish many things. You make them smarter, you differentiate them from other children their age, and you ultimately make them more valuable to our society and a potential employer. Above all of those things, you make them sensitive to and connected to another country, culture, and way of life. In learning a new language, they are learning to respect differences instead of hate them, just as sportsmanship teaches. Language learning is powerful. Sports are powerful. Rio is the perfect opportunity to combine sports with language learning, an action that could have an amazingly powerful impact on your child.

P.S. It will also be fun!!

To get you started:

“Creating Peace” Vocab List
Unity = unidade
Fairness = justiça
Equality = igualdade
Sportsmanship = espírito desportivo

3 Ways to Make Bastille Day As Much Fun As the Fourth of July

French for Kids

Bastille Day for KidsBastille Day is upon us! This July 14th presents a perfect opportunity to get you and your young ones excited about language learning through some French culture. While the topic of the French Revolution may seem like a dry subject to your average 0-6 year old, (or even to you), here are some great tips about how to make this another fun-filled summer holiday:

1. Build A Fort

The French working class stormed the Bastille, the prison, to gather ammunition stored there. 

Grab your kids and build a fort with lots of blankets and cushions and voilà you have your own make-believe Bastille. Make the password to enter to the fort a French word to incorporate some vocabulary. If the kids are having fun, you can quickly grab some French-inspired snacks to munch on inside the fort, like Brie cheese and crackers or macaroons. If you have the time and want to try your hand at some more serious preparation and cooking, check this these French recipes via Betty Crocker. This is the perfect Bastille Day activity if it’s raining outside or if you want to escape the sweltering heat.

2. Go Down To the Tennis Courts (or Out to the Sidewalk)

Soon after the storming of the Bastille, the members of the Third Estate, (working class men), were locked out of the Estates General meeting, which was supposed to be an assembly of all the French classes. They retreated to the nearby indoor tennis court and took an oath that demanded a new constitution.

If your family is on vacation or has access to a tennis court, bring the kids with you and have them make up their own game with the balls and/or racquets. This game can act as their very own constitution for the “republic of the tennis court.” Even if there isn’t a tennis court around, you can use some chalk to draw a small court on the sidewalk. This would be a great time to introduce your kiddos to some French sports vocabulary. Also, if the game is more active, you can have your kids “warm up” with some hops and jumping jacks, counting out loud how many they are doing in French. The “I Can Count” lesson from our French for Kids program (Vol II, Video 6) can help refresh their French counting skills.

3. Have a Picnic and Mini ParadeFrench Macaroons

On Bastille Day in France, there is a huge parade along the Champs-Élysées.

Picnic in the park and have the walk back be a mock parade. You can get the little ones excited by breaking out the red, white, and blue attire from the fourth of July- luckily American and French national colors are the same. For some red, white, and blue food options to bring on the picnic, refer to the previous Fourth of July blog posting! As you are picking out the clothes or preparing the food, you have the perfect chance to teach the kids the French words for various colors. Additionally, the Little Pim flashcards or coloring sheets are a great post-picnic activity in the park.

What’s Happening in NYC?

Here in our home of NYC, there are some more official celebrations all around the city. For more information visit TimeOut’s”Bastille Day in NYC” guide.

We, here at Little Pim, hope you and your whole family make great memories this Bastille Day while also getting a taste of France’s lively culture. We hope we can join you in helping your children experience more of the world!

 

A Simple Guide: Which language is best for my child to learn?

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Choice is an incredible gift. For parents, however, it is also paralyzing. When our choice regards our children’s education, we catalog every possible option, outcome, success, and worst-case result, don’t we? Little Pim applauds such parents who want desperately to choose what’s best for their child. We recognize how this deliberation is firmly rooted in love, so we not only gift you with choices, we also equip you with helpful tools to choose.

Seeing as multicultural awareness and the growing necessity for well-rounded children has never been as strong, we’re thankful for your interest in at least one of the 12 language programs we offer. You’ve likely had the thought: Which language is best for my child to learn? The following guide should help you confidently navigate your choice, as well as this important note.

Children aged 0-6 have brains best for learning up to three languages at once! If you can’t choose one, why not consider two or more? Your child will soon thank you for this choice between multiple languages learned. What a unique potential to influence our world!

Little Pim’s Twelve Language Programs:

Spanish

As the 2nd most common language in the United states, Spanish is one of the simplest languages for English-speaking children to learn and one of the most useful languages in the world for travel. There are over 414 million Spanish-speaking people in the world. Spanish lends well to learning other Latin-based languages in the future such as French and Italian. These languages all have Indo-European roots and share some characteristics that are present in Spanish but not English. Knowing Spanish can open up many job opportunities for your little ones, especially in the United States in healthcare or education industry.

Check out LeapFrog’s blog to learn about 10 benefits of teaching your child Spanish.

Frenchlittle-pim-for-kids

Did you know that French is the most widely studied language in the world? As the official language of over 29 countries, French is highly utilized in the world of higher learning, literature, culinary arts, and fashion. It is also recognized as an official language of the United Nations. There are also many words in the English language that have French origins, such as “rendezvous” or “cinema.”

French is also one of the foreign languages our founder, Julia Pimsleur, chose for her two boys, Emmett and Adrian. Adrian speaks fluent French and Emmett speaks some Spanish, French and Hebrew.

Mandarin Chinese

It’s the most widely spoken language in the world! An increasing demand for Mandarin-speaking employees is just one reason to start your child early! Spoken by over 1 billion people worldwide, Mandarin is an official language of the United Nations. Mandarin Chinese is tonal, which means that pitch is used to distinguish its lexical or grammatical meanings. The earlier a child begins to learn this language, the easier it is for them to pick up on the differences in tone and begin employing them correctly.

The latest trends we’ve seen at Little Pim are new parents choosing to teach their child Mandarin alongside romance languages like Spanish and/or French.

Russian

russian-3-pak-digital-downloadAs the official language of the former Soviet Union, Russian is still spoken in 15 European and Asian countries. Russian is spoken by almost 280 million people worldwide, and is an official language of the United Nations. It is the fifth most frequently spoken language in the world. International political developments and growing business opportunities with multinational companies have led to increased demand and opportunities for Russian speakers.

The Russian alphabet is easy to learn and only has 33 letters. It is a Cyrillic script, which is a writing system used for alphabets across Eastern Europe, as well as North and Central Asia. The Russian alphabet is wonderfully phonetic, making it even easier than English as the letters have a consistent pronunciation.

Italian

Italian remains one of the top 5 languages studied in US colleges. Over 7,500 businesses correspond with Italy hosting over 1,000 US firms. If you’re child is a musician or music lover, he or she will love learning Italian. Did you know that Italian is the language with the highest number of words for naming food, restaurants, dishes, and produce? For more reasons to learn Italian, check out The Italian Academy’s article on the “Top 10 Reasons to Learn Italian.”

German

teaching-german-for-kidsAs the 10th most spoken language in the world, this language has English roots. Phew! There are thousands of words that are closely related known as “cognates.” Why not try this language long-associated with academia and science. Knowing German also increases business opportunities as Germany is the #1 export nation in the world.

Japanese

Almost every nation in the world includes some aspect of Japanese culture and commerce. Tourists flock to Japan annually, supping from its offerings and influence. Japanese is the 9th most spoken language in the world, with 128 million speakers. Japan has the 2nd largest economy in the world, which leads to increased demand for Japanese speaking experts. Learning Japanese may also inspire your child to learn the other Asian languages we offer such as Korean or Mandarin Chinese.

Arabic

As an official language of the United Nations, Arabic is the most widely spoken Semitic language. Arabic is spoken by roughly 300 million people. Many English words have Arabic roots; words like ‘candy,’ and ‘spinach.’ Yum! According to AmericanCounsels.org, “In the last 15 years, U.S. government agencies have expressed a much greater need for Arabic speakers to address the complex political, military, and economic questions surrounding U.S. engagement in the Middle East and North Africa.”

hebrew for young childrenHebrew

Over 10 million people speak Hebrew daily. Worldwide, millions more study Hebrew for both religious and cultural reasons. If you or your little ones plan to travel to Israel, learning Hebrew will definitely come in handy as it’s the national language. Israel is also one of one fastest-growing high-tech economies in the world. Learning Hebrew can be easy and fun, especially with Little Pim by your side.

Portugueseportuguese-for-kids

Welcome to the language of the Southern Hemisphere! Because this language is rarely studied, speaking it is an incredibly marketable skill. Did you know that Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world, with 215 million native speakers?

By learning Portuguese, your kids will have a much easier time picking up any of the other romance languages like Spanish, French, or Italian since they all have Latin roots.

Korean

Korean is currently growing in popularity due to South Korea’s powerful economy, geopolitical importance, art and culture. There are over 80 million Korean speakers in the world and the Korean culture is like no other. Many people choose to study Korean because they fell in love with the culture. Korea is famous for K-pop music and Korean dramas. For more reasons, check out our blog post on why your child should learn Korean.

English

Little Pim’s most popular language program outside the United States in our English/ESL program. After Chinese and Spanish, English is the world’s most spoken language with over 335 million speakers worldwide.

Learning a second language can be fun, easy, and effective with Little Pim. Language learning should always be a positive experience and cannot be rushed. Remember to praise your little ones for speaking in the second language. Teaching your child a foreign language can be a great way to give your child a head start and prepare him or her for the global economy.

For more extensive explanations, you can read further here. And of course, please do not hesitate to comment below contact us with any questions.