Parents in Vietnam should stop worrying about their children learning multiple languages at a young age, experts say, as this does not necessarily increase the risk of developing language disorders.
Nguyen Thuy Huong, a mother in Hanoi, has stopped allowing her two-year-old daughter to watch English-language cartoons as she believes there is no hurry to teach her child English, Viet Nam News reported.
Some parents became concerned after seeing a three-minute video clip that alleges that young kids who started learning English before they could speak Vietnamese ended up unable to speak either language properly.
Some parents are now choosing to withhold their children from learning English until they get to first grade.
However, the myth has been debunked by experts on languages and education. One of them, Tran Thi Ai Lien, said parents were mistaken to think that children who learn English while yet to be fluent in their own language will have trouble speaking Vietnamese well later on.
Scientists have shown that children are actually able to learn up to five languages simultaneously as long as they understand them properly. In one current case, a girl born to an Israeli father and a Vietnamese mother is able to speak both Vietnamese and Hebrew fluently and now is learning English with ease.
However, experts have also said that a passive way of learning English at a young age – such as watching videos on YouTube – is ineffective if the children do not also have the opportunity to express themselves properly.