The Problem Of Learning A Second Language Essay

The Problem Of Learning A Second Language Essay

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It is often said that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. This proverb may in fact be true when learning a second language. The implication is that there is a critical period for learning a second language. Unfortunately, many elementary schools in the United States do not offer foreign language classes, missing the opportunity to learn a new language while still young. By learning a new language early on, students may increase their chances of success in higher education and mental capabilities all while exposing themselves to a diversity of different cultures and experiences.
“The so-called broken English - the malapropisms, the accents, the mangled grammar - we heard everyday of our childhoods was what had, in fact, fixed our attention on succeeding” (Kniffel). This is what Leonard Kniffel, author of the article, English Only Is English Lonely, and senior editor Beverly Goldberg had to say when talking about growing up with English as the main language. Much like Kniffel and Goldberg, people in the United States believe because English is so commonly used, there is no need to learn a new language. Many stress that it can be hard to fit language learning in when (1) there is no place to use the language regularly and (2) there is no time. However, one must consider that, “..if we teach our children only what we think is going to be useful to them, we risk shortchanging them even more” (We Learn Foreign Languages To Understand Our World).
“Americans have long had a stubborn streak when it comes to foreign experiences. Sure, we 'll go overseas for a look-see at classical architecture or venerated statues. But don 't ask us to eat a lot of local cuisine” (Newcomb). For many bilingual speakers, the experience of knowing a sec...


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...r test scores and surpassed students in comparative school settings where a second language was not studied” (Stewart). The statistics on the benefits of foreign language study speak louder than words.Students should consider the facts before writing off the opportunity to learn a second language all together.
In conclusion, United States grade school students should be required to learn a foreign language. Not only has it shown to increase higher education and test scores, but it also increases students mental capabilities all while expanding their range of knowledge for the world around them. The stakes for young children are high. The benefits of learning a second language at a young age is proven to exceed its drawbacks. The United States must fight for the need to require foreign language in elementary schools as a critical component to our children 's success.

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