There are several great reasons for children to learn a second language. Learning another language can help your child think faster, and help your son or daughter develop effective problem-solving skills.
While Japanese may not be the first language that comes to mind when you consider options for your child, there are a number of excellent reasons why your son or daughter should learn Japanese.
Besides the workplace benefits your child will experience in adulthood, learning Japanese can impact a child in a number of positive ways. So as you consider the best language-learning path for your child, here are three fantastic reasons for your son or daughter to learn Japanese.
1. Introduce Your Child to a New World
You’re probably already aware that it’s important to introduce your son or daughter to different cultures, but have you considered the most effective way to do this?
While Spanish, French, and German are generally the most popular choices for language studies, they may not be the best options to truly broaden your child’s horizons. Mexico is just a hop across the border from America, while Spain, France, and Germany are just across the pond. In fact, these neighbors get even closer to home when you consider their impact on American culture.
What we tend to forget, however, is that America has another neighbor; Japan. This neighbor is both as close and as distant as they come. Unlike Western countries which have had a huge influence on American culture, Japanese culture is still very foreign to us.
You could expose your child to the familiar differences of other Western cultures, or you could introduce him or her to a whole new world!
2. A Deeper Level of Understanding (of English)
This benefit may not be listed on most language-learning blogs, but in my number of years as a Japanese teacher, I have witnessed this first hand.
Students actually gain a better grasp on English grammar when they learn a second language. This is especially true for Japanese students, because the language is drastically different from English.
One benefit I see with my students is improved awareness of syntax. Syntax is the way words are ordered within a sentence.
In Japanese syntax, the main verb is always the last word in the sentence. After learning this, students realize, often for the first time, that in English, the verb appears immediately after the subject.
This is just one example of how learning Japanese can help a student gain a deeper understanding of his or her native language.
3. Freedom of Thought
This is my favorite benefit to learning any language, but especially Japanese! Every language has words and expressions that aren’t found in any other language, but Japanese seems to be full of these.
Aside from just being fun, these kinds of expressive differences help students think in new ways and recognize and appreciate differences between individuals.
For example, while an English speaker must resort to poetry to describe sunlight filtering through a canopy of trees, Japanese has a single word for this; komorebi.
On the other hand, learning Japanese can also teach students that humans are just humans, the same in many ways no matter where they’re from. You may have heard the French phrase raison d’etre (the reason for existence), but did you know that the Japanese have a word for this too? Ikigai, which means “the reason for living.”
Find more one-word wonders in Japanese here.
Learning Japanese isn’t just beneficial to students academically and economically, but also on an individual level. It opens a child’s mind to a new culture, helps a child learn to express him or herself, and encourages a child to celebrate the differences in others.
Want to sign your child up for Japanese lessons? Find a teacher near you today!