The Lingo Show on CBeebies aims to teach pre-school children different languages through play. The show’s featured languages are a reflection of the diverse languages spoken in local communities across the UK including Polish, Punjabi, Urdu and Somali. The show also concentrates on languages taught in schools such as French, German, Spanish and Mandarin and introduced the Welsh language last month on St David’s Day.
Children learn languages easily
Is it a myth or fact that children learn languages more easily than adults? According to The Lingo Show children are very receptive to new sounds and happy to reproduce them. The most effective way of learning a new language is when it is delivered frequently in small amounts in an engaging way. Visual associations and games also help children to digest the new language too and this is what the show provides.
Perhaps children find languages easier to learn than adults because they have not yet developed the self-consciousness that can affect adults when attempting to speak a new language?
Not for everyone?
Guardian columnist Zoe Williams recently wrote about her mother’s sceptical reaction and her 2 year old daughter’s reaction to The Lingo Show.
When the show’s narrator asked the young viewers to say hello in Mandarin, “nee hao”, it was seen as a pointless exercise by Ms Williams’ mother because in her opinion her granddaughter could barely speak English as it was. Ms Williams wrote that she protested this fact in her child’s defence only for the child to respond “Miaow” instead of “nee hao”!
Okay so maybe it will take some time for Ms Williams’ child to grasp Mandarin, but she did at least respond with a similar sound. And surely being exposed to a language other than her mother tongue can’t be a bad thing.
Children being exposed to different languages through TV is a positive step and will hopefully aid their language education in school. It will also assist interaction with peers whose mother tongue may not be the same as their own.
Parents need to keep up
However, parents need to stay on their toes if they don’t want to get left behind by their children in the language department. The majority of parents will need to retrieve fragments of languages from their own school days or could perhaps benefit from watching The Lingo Show with their children. After all it would be a shame if the children could only conduct conversations in Mandarin or other languages with inanimate objects such as the TV! They’d be much more useful as translators or interpreters!
If you need translation help, get Enigma Translation on board now rather than waiting for your child to digest the next episode of The Lingo Show. We are fluent in French, Spanish, German, Welsh, Mandarin, Polish, Punjabi, Urdu, Somali and many other languages – see our website for details.