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Spending time in China is the best way for children to learn Mandarin

The South China Morning Post – Anita Shum

“There’s no better way to learn a language than to speak it, and there’s no better way to “make” you speak it than travelling to that country. To practise Mandarin, China is a preferred choice for most as it is the only official language, but you can choose other destinations such as Singapore, Taiwan and even Malaysia, where Mandarin is one of the official languages. Check beforehand whether your children will be learning simplified or traditional Chinese characters. Taiwan is the only one of the three that uses traditional characters, the others use simplified characters.” (more)

Music & Language Lead to Efficient Brain

Language Magazine – Staff Writer

“A new study reveals that bilinguals and trained musicians utilize fewer resources in their brains while doing tasks involving memory. This means that it’s easier for them to do so. As their brains use less effort to perform tasks, researchers infer that their musical and bilingual brains may protect them from the onset of cognitive decline later in life..” (more)

Bridging the Gap

Language Magazine – Tom Beeman

“The term education gap often refers to socioeconomic factors such as race, income, or gender, and perhaps even issues such as equity and access to education come to mind. But what about linguistic abilities or even the differences between the way the same subject matter is taught in high schools versus colleges? Unfortunately, there seems to be a gap between these different levels of education, especially when it comes to the teaching of world languages. To solve this dilemma, it is important to learn about trends in both secondary and post-secondary language teaching, be open to input from those in the field, and begin to come up with ideas for possible solutions. Though this article focuses on the teaching of Spanish, many of these same issues and solutions could easily be applied to other languages.” (more)

The Future of Education is in Two Languages

Language Magazine – Fabrice Jaumont

“Gregg Roberts once said that monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21st century. So, I ask, what if we lived in a world where every child could grow up bilingual? If this idea inspires you, then know that there is a way to do it. Through the hard work of parents and educators, a renewed push for bilingual programs is changing the educational landscape of schools, communities, and cities around the world.” (more)

Massive Study Confirms Teens’ Grammar Expertise

Language Magazine – Staff Writer

“After years of research suggesting that the “critical period” to learn ends before the age of 10, an enormous new study of well over half a million learners suggests that children remain very skilled at learning the grammar of a new language much longer than expected—up to the age of 17 or 18. However, the study also found that it is very difficult for people to achieve proficiency similar to that of a native speaker unless they start learning a language by the age of 10.” (more)