Images of new Unuhi fairy tales!

5 reasons why our fairy tales will speed up your kids’ language learning!

By | News, Research

Do you love fairy tales and fables? Yes? Thought so! Many parents have firm favourites, which they will introduce to their little ones. Whether these are popular tales, such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, or fables, such as ‘The Mouse and the Lion’, everyone will know a tale that they treasured as a child.

Surprising facts about fairy tales and fables

Of course, all cultures have their own fairy tales and fables. Many of today’s fairy tales and fables evolved from ancient stories that were passed on from generation to generation in many cultures of the world, both orally and in writing. The most well-known Western fable collections started with Aesop in about 600 BC, whereas Africa and India had their own, rich story-telling traditions.

Researchers from the universities of Lisbon and Durham found in 2016 that some tales were “older than the earliest literary records”, with some dating back thousands of years ago. Analysis showed, for example, that ‘Beauty And The Beast’ and ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ were around 4,000 years old!

Why should you use fairy tales and fables in language learning?

There are a number of reasons why fairy tales or fables are particularly well suited to language learning. (This is why we have been working on a new set of bilingual fairy tales and fables for you!)

1. Familiarity with setting and vocabulary

You and your child will likely already know the fairy tales you will be reading in your main language, which will make it much easier to introduce the tales in the second/weaker language.

2. Association of language learning with fun and mystery

There is nothing worse than pushing your child to learn vocabulary that it finds  uninteresting. Using tales kids already love will make them curious and more receptive to learn how certain words or phrases have been translated into other languages. For example, find out together whether the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood uses different expressions in e.g. English and Spanish! The British Council website has some additional clever ideas on how to make English language learning more fun for kids – apply their advice in your own language(s).

3. Extension of simple vocabulary

Within each tale there will be a set of simple vocabulary, which your child will enjoy learning (e.g. animals or plants in the forest, family members, specific food items, and so on).

4. Grammatical understanding

All fairy tales and fables usually use the past tense, which could be something to draw older children’s attention to. Additionally, you and your child could learn about comparatives and metaphors in your first language – and how these are translated into other languages. 

5. Building imagination through creative storytelling games

Once you have read the fairy tales a number of times, play creative storytelling games with your children. Start with a setting and character of your choice and introduce this to your child. Then ask your child to continue for a couple of sentences, imagining what might happen next. Repeat until you have a completely new fairy tale! You may want to start this with your child’s stronger language, but once you have played this game a few times, start playing it in the weaker language too.

Sounds good! How can I get started?

The good news is that Unuhi has just launched new books containing bilingual fairy tales and fables in 20 languages. 😊 

You can choose your languages, so you will be able to read Little Red Riding Hood or The Elves and the Shoemaker in nearly 200 language combinations… 🙂 Find us on iOS and Android. Have fun!

Benefits of being bilingual

10 Benefits of Being Bilingual

By | Research

Fortunately, more and more people of all ages and backgrounds are learning languages today. In fact, more than half of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual. So what are those who speak only one language missing out on?

Here are 10 benefits of being bilingual:

1. Increase brain power.

Learning a language is a great way to keep your brain healthy and sharp.
Being bilingual can improve a person’s multitasking skills, attention control, problem solving and creativity as it promotes outside-the-box thinking. It can also help improve your memory – handy when shopping and remembering people’s names!

2. It can give children an academic advantage.

Studies have shown that bilingual children can outperform monolingual children in a number of subject areas. The effects of bilingualism can help improve a child’s educational development, cognitive functions, social skills, literacy, and emotional skills that have positive effects for many years to come.

3. Increase awareness of other cultures.

Being bilingual exposes an individual to diverse customs, ideas, and perspectives from different cultures. Of course, you can still learn about other cultures without knowing a second language, but language learning really allows for a more immersive experience.

4. Make travel easier and more enjoyable.

If you are or aspire to be a globetrotter, learning languages is a must! Traveling is way more fun and easier when there isn’t a language barrier; you can have a more immersive and authentic experience. You’ll be able to talk directly with the locals and make more friends along the way. Knowing what food to order without pointing at pictures and asking for directions when you get lost is also a bonus.

5. Improve competitiveness in the job market.

Speaking a second language can provide more job opportunities, depending on which languages you speak. Communication in the workplace is important, and more companies, especially those with international offices, are considering bilingualism a high priority. Being able to communicate with foreign clients or customers is considered a big advantage too.

6. Find it easier to learn a third language.

Learning a second language helps you reflect on your own language and gain a better aptitude for languages in general. The improved understanding of how language works, coupled with the experience you have already gained, makes it all the easier to learn a third or fourth language. Just look at Queen Elizabeth I.

7. You can better raise your kids bilingual.

Raising your kids to be bilingual may help them acknowledge the importance of their culture and heritage, as well as develop a stronger personal identity. It’s a great gift to be able to pass on to your children especially if the home language is different to the language taught at school. If you have simply learned a second language, this knowledge can be a big help in encouraging your children to become bilingual too.

8. Stay mentally stronger for longer.

Recent studies reveal that bilingual people’s brains age more slowly and therefore they live longer and more satisfying lives. It is now widely recognized that being bilingual can delay neurological diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

9. Improve social life.

Speaking a second language opens up a whole new range of social opportunities and can enhance your social skills and confidence. Put simply, the more languages you understand, the more people you can converse with and the more meaningful those relationships can be. As you use your language skills to connect with a wider range people, you’ll give a boost to your confidence in social situations more generally.

10. It can make you more attractive!

Being bilingual should boost your confidence in the dating market. A Valentine’s Day survey done by language software providers Rocket Languages revealed that 79% of people think someone who is bilingual is more attractive while 77% perceive people as more intelligent if they speak another language. OK, not exactly scientific proof, but interesting nonetheless!

So, based on those 10 great reasons to learn a second language, why not download and try the Unuhi App for free on iOS and Android and start reading bilingual books to your children today?

If you are raising bilingual children, Unuhi could be for you. Download the app for FREE and start reading books to your kids in the 2 languages of your choice.

Download Unuhi On The App Store
Download Android App
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