A new study has identified the languages children should learn now in order to set them up for success in adulthood
The results revealed that French, German and Mandarin are the top three languages that will set children up for life so they can take advantage of maximum opportunities as adults.
Over 2,000 UK parents with children under 18-years-old were surveyed in the study, which was carried out by the Centre of Economics and Business Research and Opinium in partnership with Heathrow airport.
As well as identifying the top three languages that children should learn to set them up for success as adults, the results also revealed that kids across the country are missing out on many opportunities that learning languages presents to them.
According to the research, 45% of parents currently have children who can’t speak a second language to a basic level where they can have a simple conversation, such as introducing themselves, ordering food, asking for directions or what time it is.
On the contrary 85% of those parents surveyed believe language skills are very important for children and 27% agree that it will improve their children’s future career opportunities and employability.
It is believed that language skills in general will contribute up to £500 billion to the economy by 2027, so the earlier children start learning a second language, the better.
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Antonella Sorace, the founder of Bilingualism Matters and Professor of Developmental Linguistics at Edinburgh University commented on the study saying, ‘This research demonstrates how important language learning is to the UK economy, and shows that many more doors are opened to people who learn a second language as children.
‘We believe that language learning is hugely beneficial for children’s development and it’s a real investment for the future: 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 often are more advanced readers.’