Studies have shown that children who learn more than one language gain enormous advantages, such as the ability to concentrate better, in spite of outside stimuli. The only question, then, is what language they should learn in order to give them that edge in their future. Here are the best choices, ranked according to advantages, learning difficulty and availability.
Take note that before you even consider a third language, your child should master English and Filipino first. Emphasis is given to the national language this month with August being declared "Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa".
In his studies on early developmental language learning, language expert Professor Kenneth Hyltenstam found that a child achieves greater fluency on the language he is most comfortable with if he or she focuses on learning it before the age of six or seven. After that age, introducing a new language is ideal.
5. German Advantages: German is still popular in Europe - it’s a language that can come in handy in native-speaking countries such as Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Even places such as Italy, Poland, and Hungary have many German speakers, as well as the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Croatia, Russia and other Eastern European nations. Many of these countries have venerable and prestigious universities that have strong backgrounds in pure and applied sciences such as physics, chemistry and medicine. A chance at a scholarship to one of these schools would be more accessible if a child were fluent in German.
Also, there is a demand for German-speakers for corporate postings in Asia, particularly in the banking and construction industries. Translators and transcribers are also fairly lucrative professions.
Difficulty: Quite a number of German words found their way into the English language (ex. Kindergarten, hamburger, poltergeist, Neanderthal), so there is some basis for comparison which your child can use while learning the language. Pronunciation can be challenging, saying tongue-twisters such as götterdämmerung, sturmpanzerwagen or entschuldigen sie bitte, but mastering German is also a good start for those who wish to learn other Northern European tongues such as Norwegian, Dutch and Finnish. Teachers are a bit hard to find outside of the Goethe Institute.