Learning different languages can be wildly beneficial for children in terms of development and cultural exposure, but with so many languages to choose from, which is the best for your child? A new study has narrowed it down for you.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research and Opinion conducted the study in partnership with Heathrow airport. Experts analyzed how language can impact children’s lives and the role it plays in everyday life. They also determined which ones tend to lead to the best career opportunities as an adult.
“We believe that language learning is hugely beneficial for children’s development and it’s a real investment for the future,” said Antonella Sorace, professor of developmental linguistics and director of bilingualism matters at Edinburgh University.
The study involved a survey of 2,001 parents with children under the age of 18, along with another survey of more than 500 business leaders.
So which languages took top spot? Results indicated that children should be learning French, German, and/or Mandarin if they want to be successful within the next 10 years and maximize their employability. Proficiency in a second language opens the door to new markets for businesses and allows them to create new relationships with prospective partners.
Aside from being able to speak another language, the academic and interpersonal skills that can be gained from learning a new language are important as well. “Children who are exposed to different languages become more aware of different cultures, other people, and other points of view. They also tend to be better than monolinguals at multitasking and are often more advanced readers,” said Sorace.
A vast majority of parents surveyed in this study (85 percent) believe it is important for their children to learn a second language, and about one in four believe it will enhance their child’s career opportunities and boost employability. However, 45 percent of parents surveyed admit that their child or children cannot speak a second language.
If you want your child to stand out from the crowd as first-time job hunters, brush up on the habits of parents of successful people—and, of course, make sure they learn one of the three success languages!