Fun speculation on native language learning for kids and the ideal written language combo

Suddenly had a thought ruminating around my head, that if one was going to or has kids and plan to teach them multiple languages, what would be the best choices? I mean ones that when learned, would offer quite a breath of sister languages and you would have help with plenty of writings as well.

So thinking about it I came to English, Russian, Japanese, Arabic and Hindi.

I picked English because it is my native language but you could go with French or any other Romance or Germanic language if that’s your native. Also Chinese can be an alternative. I also picked Japanese because it has more flexibility in it’s application of Kanji given how it modifies.

So I narrowed it down to those five because you have the options of the Latin, Cyrilic, Kanji and Arabic writing which opens up so many readings here. There is a lot of shared vocabulary there as well as Steve mentioned with Czech, Russian and Polish and Ukranian. I assume the same holds true with Farsi to Arabic and possibly Turkish. The Arabic script is it’s writing which Farsi has as well.

Lastly while there is definitely different writing style in Hindi I am pretty sure there is similar vocabulary.

My thought was teaching those five to native speech if possible would make the sister languages take even less time to learn should the child desire to learn those others later.
I don’t know if anyone here has thought of this or know someone who has raised their kids learning those languages or something similar.

I am not discounting Indigenous languages that may not have a writing system or ones in general that don’t. This was more a ponderance on those that are the most prominent alphabets and have the largest variety of written work.

I would choose languages based on your resources and circumstances.
I for example didn’t have a choice, I teach my kids languages I can speak myself.
Two foreign languages already is a stretch. Can’t imagine introducing more.

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Well in the case of IF one was able to afford those resources you would probably give them access to it in terms of the Babysitter speaking one of those languages or a Nanny maybe. There are schools that teach curriculums entirely in another language.

I understand your comment and this was a thought exercise as well as pondering if anyone has tried this.

Hmm. Steve also said Farsi is not that similar to Arabic.

“Lastly while there is definitely different writing style in Hindi I am pretty sure there is similar vocabulary.”–> to what?
Hindu could help learning Urdu (apparently it’s also the same) and Bangla.

I’m learning Spanish and French and later I’ll learn German and though I’m an English speaker and they share the same root, it’s still not exactly a picnic! Though easier than the others.

I think if you are exposed to foreign sounds early they are easier to pronounce. That would be a plus for this. But on the other hand, five languages is a lot as a kid, especially if they are so different from each other.

I suggest you start with difficult languages. because if the natives is English, learn european languages ​​easily. it would be good to learn arabic first because it is one of the most difficult languages but it is easy for babies to learn.

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Yeah I was more thinking all the languages around India regarding Hindi…there is Telegu, Kannada, Malayam, Gujarati and Tamil off the top of my head.
My thought was less it being a picnic, just less of a hurdle than if a purely native English speaker was introduced to Chinese, Japanese or Arabic or vice versa.

The best way to teach a kid a foreign language, most especially when they are very young, is to simply speak it. Kids are known to pick up lanuages. A five-year-old Israeli mastered English within a week while visiting the U.S. An Albaninan toddler I babysit picked up sme Albanian in Albania. Another toddler I saw understood German because his mama was German. I myself picked up some Polish and am learning it to this day.

Please tell me about this Israeli kid mastering English in a week, I suspect that this is not without a large amount of prior contact to it, we are talking about a country where English is basically like it is in Sweden…

It is a fascinating question, and to be honest there are lots of examples from history of people learning multiple languages. To what standard, hard to know, but Newton was obviously very good at Latin learning in school. Considering that was a “dead” language, it stands to reason a living language won´t be that hard even if it is really different to the country one lives in.
Having said that… I don´t think you can really teach kids what they don´t have a good logistical support around. There are also horror stories of kids getting destroyed by bi lingual parents who don´t know how to teach them (especially if the parents are from different cultures). I saw one TV program of a Greek English guy with an English wife who only spoke English, yet he insisted the kids speak Greek. He had no idea how to teach them and they just ended up smashing everything, and the child psychologist said his insistence was essentially torture if the wife didn´t speak Greek too.
If you want to give a kid an upper hand in life, probably best to teach them world languages which are in demand (Mandarin, Spanish, Portugese, French, German etc). Emotion is a huge driver in language learning and if you can´t forge an emotional connection with the language, it is lost. There were experiments done with kids who had foreign language speaking robots, and apparently not a single one of the kids remembered a word as an adult.

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@EABurgess, I do not know of the Israeli kid personally, but was told of him. His English may blossom because English is widely spoken in Israel and is learned at school. Yes, maybe mastery is too big of a word I apologize, and I did not know of the lanuage-learning conflict you mentioned.
I was impressed that you mentioned Newton in your post. I did not know he knew Latin.
All in all, there is some ease for kids learning foreign languages, but here at LingQ they try to make it easy for us. I wish you good luck on your own language studies!