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The exposure of children to various languages as early on as possible is a viable and important educational tool.
An interesting point that this hypothesis makes A Brief Glance into is the argument for introducing second, third, and subsequent languages to children at a the Significance of younger age. A large majority of adults who learn a new language at an older age still retain Immersing Children an accent from their mother tongue. This is due to the fact that the ‘imprint’ of their first into a language has already been set in their brain. However, if they are exposed to the second language as children, their brain is able to acquire the language, as it would sound being The “Critical Period Hypothesis” was published spoken by a native speaker. In simple terms, the in 1967, based on studies and research carried connection of brain to tongue, and the signals out by Eric H. Lenneberg. This hypothesis that the brain delivers to the tongue to continues to be debated by his predecessors. maneuver in order to speak a certain language Lenneberg’s hypothesis is based on the are very specific steps that control the way that assumption that language can be learnt readily words sound. Hence, a developing brain, which from the age of two years until puberty. He can be compared to a sponge, will be able to claimed that at puberty the brain loses its learn a lot of steps and signals to deliver plasticity due to lateralization, or the process by different languages; whereas a fully developed which the two sides of the brain each develop brain will only have a guideline of specialized functions. Hence, he believed that predetermined steps that is programmed to after lateralization, which is usually complete at that of the mother tongue. puberty, language acquisition becomes more Many people argue that it would be confusing difficult. for a child to learn too many languages at one This hypothesis is of noteworthy consideration, time, as they fear that the child will be especially in a country such as Malaysia, which confused. However, in a country like Malaysia has recently enforced the necessity of that is multicultural it is not uncommon for promoting the English language in schools. most people to be multilingual as they are Whether the details of Lenneberg’s hypothesis exposed to different languages. The Lenneberg are justified or not is a question that is left to be hypothesis supports the fact that if the brain debated by psychologists and language extracts different steps to instruct the tongue to specialists. Nonetheless, it is a well-known fact deliver different languages, then this also that children do pick up languages more easily means that the brain has the ability to know than adults do. Likewise, children have a and specify which steps are utilized for which phenomenal ability to learn and retain words language. This ensures that the child will not be and phrases that they encounter not only confused, as the human brain has the through formal education, but also from what propensity to differentiate and disseminate they encounter on television and the media. various languages. The exposure of children to various languages as early on as possible is a viable and important educational tool. If not for the Lenneberg theory, then for the simple reason that it is always a benefit to be multilingual in a world where everyone speaks a different language.
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