Should children begin learning a foreign language as soon as they start school?
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Children should begin learning a foreign language as soon as they start school. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
这是一个有争议的话题。不同意这个观点可能更好写一些。尽管从表面上来看儿童确实在学习语言方面有天赋，但是学习母语是一回事儿，而学习外语是完全另外一回事。外语不是单词、句型那么简单(Learning English involves much more than merely memorizing vocabulary and grammar rules)。语言是表达思想的，某种程度上学习外语，超出了儿童的能力范围——尤其是对刚刚上学，甚至不知道学习为何物的儿童。极端的例子是河北省有一对夫妇(都是大学教师)，孩子才*，父亲教他英文，母亲教他日文，结果孩子出现了失语症(失语者 aphasic; 失语症 aphasia)。
More and more international corporations build their business in my country, China. At the same time, more parents tell their children that English is one of necessities to be successful in the future.
Students work so hard to master English that English learning related publications have always been on the top of the best-seller list.
It seems clear that one will be better off if he/she is a bilingual, and if the second language is English, even better! However, learning a foreign language must have been painful, since people are continuously creating all sorts of methods and suggestions on how to learn it more easily, more quickly, and more efficiently. Some people propose that children should begin learning English as soon as they start school. But would it really work? Hardly.
It seems true that children have natural amazing ability to develop their language skills. Statistic figures show that a 6-year-old boy can virtually memorize nearly as many as 150 words a day! But things become different when the child is learning a foreign language. When children are learning their mother tongue, they are not alone, and they are learning with numerous handy aids around. Parents, friends, and all the people around them are talking the same language, without any grammar error and nearly uniform intonation and pronunciation.
However, when they are learning a foreign language, all of those natural aids disappeared. And words become really foreign and abstract after they leave classes. And even worse, their teacher might have a bad accent or even wrong pronunciation. Some may adduce children in Luxembourg as evidence, but the point is that almost all parents in that place are trilingual!
Learning a foreign language well involves much more than merely memorizing handful vocabulary or several grammar rules. If a girl is able to say hello in a standard American accent, does that really mean she has learned a second language well, or she will go so far as to be a linguist? In fact, learning a foreign language in some sense is beyond the capacity of children, especially as little as first grade pupil, for language is used to express thoughts and ideas, both of which are naturally cultural and historical, and are sometimes too complex for children to comprehend. After all, learning earlier doesn't automatically guarantee learning quicker or better.