Is Your Kid Monolingual? There's an App for That!

They say that the younger you are, the easier it is to learn a foreign language. That seems true when I assess my high school Spanish fluency versus my current ability to understand what they're saying on Jersey Shore. Little Pim, a leading developer of foreign language DVD tutorials for young children, has known this for a while, but now they're modernizing themselves to meet the needs of a new, tech-savvy audience.

This week, Little Pim unveiled their first-ever iPod app. Called Little Pim Word Bag, the game is designed for kids 1-4 and being hailed as "the first children's iPhone application tied directly to an educational DVD language learning series." Fair enough, but I don't think the Guinness people will be calling.

In Little Pim Word Bag, which costs $1.99, a cute panda named Pim helps children learn 27 vocabulary words in either French or Spanish. That's a far cry from traditional Little Pim DVDs, which teach over 60 words and are available in Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, English/ESL, German, Russian and Arabic. But I suppose it's a start.

Little Pim was founded by Julie Pimsleur Levine, daughter of famed linguist Dr. Paul Pimsleur. The company claims -- as every fifth parent does at a play group -- that learning a second language is beneficial to children, especially toddlers and preschoolers. According to their research, children who learn a second language also tend to have higher reading, writing, analytical and social skills, as well as "more extensive vocabularies than their monolingual peers." 

Hey, who’s calling my kid monolingual!

I'm all for kids learning different languages And while he's no Kung Fu Panda, Little Pim seems to know what he's doing. But here’s an overlooked question: What parents willingly put their expensive, fragile electronic devices in the sticky, quick-release hands of their 1-4-year olds?

DVDs seem a lot safer, but maybe I'm just being monotechnological.

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