LANGUAGE ACQUISITION IN THE PRESCHOOL PERIOD
LANGUAGE ACQUISITION IN THE PRESCHOOL PERIOD
With the effect of globalization, the importance of using at least one or even two foreign languages fluently is now known. At this point, parents are looking for ways to teach their children a second and more foreign language starting from infancy. Teaching a foreign language at an early age improves the agility and flexibility of thinking, listening ability and sensitivity in children. It also improves the ability to understand in the mother tongue. It provides the child with the opportunity to communicate with people more easily. Foreign language opens the child’s mind to other cultures and helps the child to understand and evaluate people in other countries (Karakuş, 2012).
In order to clarify this issue, we can evaluate what we aim at our school by first examining the definitions of mother tongue, second language and foreign language. Korkmaz (1992: 8) defines the concept of mother tongue in the Dictionary of Grammar Terms: “The language that a person learns from the family he was born and grew up in, and the society to which he is connected by lineage, that descends into his subconscious and forms the strongest bond in the relations between people and society”. At this point, the acquisition of mother tongue is very important for the child to acquire one or more foreign languages.
Klein (1984: 31) defines the second language as the language used as a communication tool after or alongside the first language, acquired in the social environment and actually spoken in this environment. In this context, we can cite Turkish families living in Europe as an example. According to Klein (1984: 31), the foreign language concept that we will focus on is the language that is learned outside of the country where the language is used and then the first language for daily communication, that is, the language that is not used in addition to the mother tongue.
If we deepen the concepts of mother tongue and foreign language a little more, the acquisition of mother tongue in babies begins the moment they are born. Baby initially listens, then begins to understand and make sense of words and expressions. In this process, he begins to speak by making sense of the words and sentences he hears from his social environment.
Contrary to mother tongue acquisition, foreign language acquisition can be considered as an artificial process. Because in the classroom environment, the child becomes a student and tries to acquire the language through the teacher (Sancaktar Yıldız, 2012). For this reason, especially for children in the kindergarten period, it is necessary to listen to this language as much as possible, to provide suitable environments for them to understand it, and to enable them to hear and make sense of sentences in social environments.
At this point, it is very important that our aim for our children is that foreign language workshops are not teaching but learning. Our children develop their own linguistic awareness by hearing English while picking fruit in the garden and eating in the cafeteria, and they take an active role in the process, just as they acquire their mother tongue. In addition, for example, in the month of the space project, “English Alive” (Living English) workshops aim to reinforce the concepts they have acquired in their mother tongue with activities, games and songs on the theme of space. It is also very important for our children to have fun during the acquisition process. Because while having fun, acquisition takes place, and they can easily express structures that even adults have difficulty in pronouncing without realizing it and enjoying it.
To summarize, the more enjoyable and fun the foreign language acquisition process is, the more it contributes to the development of our children’s linguistic awareness. The more space is given to the “GET: Game, Enjoy, Toy” (game, fun, toy) trio, which is very beneficial in terms of development, our children can carry out their linguistic acquisitions in this direction with pleasure and joy.
Karakus, Cansev (2012). Preschool Foreign Language Teaching: The Case of Yalova, 2nd National Education Programs and Teaching Congress
Klein, Wolfgang (1984). Zweitspracherwerb – Eine Einführung, Athenäum Verlag, Königstein.
Sancaktar Yıldız, Hatice Betül (2012). La pragmatique et les actes de languages dans l’enseignement/apprentissage du français comme deuxième langue étrangère, Hacettepe University.
Hatice Betül Sancaktar Yıldız Very Important Kids English Alive Teacher