Multilingualism starts with mastering your mother tongue

door Regina Coeli

It seems so logical: as a child, you learn to talk by listening to the people around you and experimenting with sounds. Ideally, you then learn to read and write in the same language and learn about all kinds of subjects in your mother tongue. The foundation that’s laid in your native language is crucial for your personal development as well as for learning other languages later. Multilingualism starts with having a good command of your own language. Conversely, knowledge of other languages also helps to develop your mother tongue.

Mother tongue as starting point

No matter how well you learn to speak a foreign language in your life, the refinement with which you can express yourself and understand things in your native language will remain unmatchable. For this reason, your native language forms an essential starting point in our language training. Characteristics of our language course, to name a few:

  1. Our trainers teach exclusively in their mother tongue
  2. Students are supported in their native language if necessary (read more below)

At Regina Coeli, lessons are given by native speakers. Naturally, native speakers know the grammar rules of their language, but—much more importantly—they also flawlessly feel how grammar can be used to bring nuance to the language. Knowledge of culture and communication styles also play an important role in this. Our trainers did not have to take lessons in this; every one of them learned it at their mothers’ knee. This is why our team of trainers is made up of people from all over the world.

We also aim to ensure that students are taught by trainers who speak his or her mother tongue. We are able to support students in six different languages: Dutch, German, English, French, Italian and Spanish. Spaniards attending an English course with us are taught by native speakers of English, and part of the team will also have a high level of knowledge of Spanish as a foreign language. This does not mean that they speak Spanish in part of the lesson, but it makes comparisons between English and Spanish grammar and proverbs easier.

Broad basis in Dutch

Native languages and multilingualism are hot topics in the Netherlands. In February 2018, for example, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) published a report on language in the Netherlands. They argue that the Netherlands is a multilingual society, but Dutch is what binds us. Everyone residing in the Netherlands, including expats, needs a broad basis in the language. At the same time, attention must also be paid to the development of the other mother tongues spoken in the Netherlands.

A multilingual world

The importance of the mother tongue was also underscored at the Salzburg Global Seminar in December 2017. Linguists, policy makers and other experts from all over the world convened there to discuss multilingualism. Worldwide, the mother tongue and multilingualism are even more interesting. This is clear from these statistics:

  • 7079 languages are spoken worldwide.
  • Of these, 23 are dominant languages. Half of the world's population speaks one of these.
  • 2464 languages are at risk of extinction.
  • 40% of children do not have access to education in a language they understand.

Language connects and excludes

Language connects people, but can also exclude them. That is why Salzburg Global Seminar participants, including Language Institute Regina Coeli’s Director of Studies, are actively urging policy makers around the world to develop good language policies. For more information, please refer to the full statement of the Salzburg Global Seminar here.

Interested in following language training at Regina Coeli?

The Regina Coeli method ensures that you learn to speak a foreign language quickly and effectively. Our highly qualified trainers teach you the skills, vocabulary and grammar that you need for your specific situation so you can immediately start communicating in the language.

Do you require more information? Please contact us!

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