According to American linguist Noam Chomsky, the “Father of modern linguistics” , learning a language is a biological process and happens naturally. He explains every child has the ability to learn any language that they frequently have contact with since birth.
A project conducted by Dr. Tran Hong Van and VietSpeech research group of Charles Sturt University, Australia on developing Vietnamese language skill on 300 individuals including 150 families that have below 18 year old children has brought important messages to Vietnamese parents living overseas who are in doubt about keeping Vietnamese for their kids:
- Speaking Vietnamese does not reduce children’s local language ability (e.g. English). It actually has a positive impact.
- Two of the most important factors in keeping Vietnamese for children are:
+ parents using Vietnamese with their kids, and
+ parents having a positive perspective towards maintaining Vietnamese
When children start school, the local language will dominate Vietnamese, and home is the only environment where kids can use Vietnamese.
Therefore, to keep Vietnamese for children, parents need to use Vietnamese at home when communicating with their kids. The Australian Government encourages families to speak the language they are the most fluent in at home. You should speak to your children in Vietnamese if you are not fluent in the local language.
We all know that maintaining Vietnamese for our children requires a lot of effort from parents and support from our community. By acknowledging this early and approaching it with discipline, our children will accept, learn and have naturally good language competence.