At 2 and a half, Zayd is a really good communicator. I also have realised that he has a natural talent of language. He is able to construct long sentences and speaking almost like a pre-schooler. He is bi-lingual, speaking and understanding in Malay and English. His Malay is better than his English. He has more Malay vocabularies, thanks to his dad who’s always telling him stories about cars and whatnots in Malay.
I know some parents really pushed their kids to master English at an early age and I totally get it. English is very important as it is the language that is mostly used in education, business etc. For me, I prefer to not push any language but rather to let him develop natural love and appreciation for all languages. My wish for him is to be at least tri-lingual, with Arabic being the 3rd language. Since me and his dad is already bi-lingual, it is only normal that we want our kids to be better than us. If he really has a knack for languages, I would like him to master as many languages as he wants.
I truly believe that the key to knowledge is language. Not just English language, but all languages. In fact, this over-emphasis of English language, for me – has more problems than benefits. It will produce generation that is narrow-minded and arrogant, thinking that the only ‘valid’ knowledge is the one produced in English. They will shut down their eyes and ears to other sort of knowledge and only want to learn what is deemed ‘valuable’ in the English-speaking world. This has resulted in the loss of so many important knowledge.
People who love language are people who love other people. They want to know about other people. They want to understand them in their own language, in their own perspective. Not just from reading the accounts of other people’s writing about them. Or watching documentary made about them. And in the Quran, we are told:
O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another (49:13)
And one of the most basic way of getting to know one another is through learning their language.
I am not doing nearly enough at exposing Zayd to many different languages. Maybe I should download that Duolingo apps again hmm..