Professor Phạm Quốc Lộc
20 February 2012
Early Acquisition of English as a Second Language: Risk or Benefit
Currently, as an internationally accepted language of business, science, and technology, English is crucial to the success and advancement in most industries and workplaces all over the world. Since learning this international language opens a variety of job opportunities for people and provides them with countless benefits, there has been an enormous increase in the number of English learners. According to a report on the status of English published by the UK’s British Council in 2004, there were about a billion English learners in 2000. A decade later, this report said, the numbers will have doubled: “[t]wo billion people- a third of the entire human race- could be learning English by 2010-2015” (“Two Billion People to Learn English” 1).
In Vietnam, particularly, English has become an integral part of business, tourism, education, and jobs’ interview. Being rolled with the global spread of this international language, English schools and centers have exponentially sprung up across the country. Learning this language has indisputably become a paramount concern of parents whose burning desires are their children’s bright future. Out of the various factors to be considered while preparing children for English acquisition, the most important one is deciding on the ideal age to start learning. It is natural, then, for many researchers, planners, educators, fathers, and mothers to ask if there is a critical period for English acquisition, or whether it is a great benefit to start learning English at very young age and so forth. A copious amount of research has been conducted to yield satisfactory answers to these questions. Nonetheless, there has been plenty of disagreement among researchers; my paper, hence, aims hopefully at contributing to a broader discussion on the issue....