Six-year old child displays aptitude for languages

AT A TIME when many youngsters shy away from picking up extra languages, a six-year-old from Bandar Mejalara, Kepong in Kuala Lumpur has become a beacon for learning linguistic skills.

Nik Eusoff Nik Nurfaqih is just six years old and is already showing great aptitude for Bahasa Melayu, English and Chinese which he is learning at school.

But he has also gained a measure of fame as a TikTok sensation with videos showing the young lad displaying confident use of Tamil – both verbal and written.

According to his mother Karina Imran, the video showing her son learning Tamil has already garnered half a million views.

“On July 30, he begged me to let him learn Tamil but we didn’t let him because we don’t have a teacher to teach him and we don’t speak the language,” recalled the 34-year-old mother.

“But after his persistent requests, I got annoyed and gave in. I let him watch Tamil syllabic videos and play educational games on a tablet.”

Three weeks later, Eusoff wrote his first Tamil character and could read basic Tamil scripts.

In addition to the above languages, the young linguist has also shown a penchant for Jawi and even Russian script, being able to pick up subtle nuances in the text despite having no formal lessons.

Penchant for languages

Online videos which have been his main resources seem to have held him in good stead as he eagerly picks up new words and phrases.

After videos of Eusoff learning Tamil went viral on TikTok, he has been featured on Bernama Seithigal and Astro Vaanavil.  Karina said she shares videos of Eusoff on TikTok and Instagram as a way to document his progress and their memories together.

“I didn’t even expect the videos would go viral until people, including my colleagues, started telling me that they wanted to follow Eusoff’s progress,” shared the mother.

“I hope that by sharing the videos, I can help other parents who may have children like Eusoff.”

At a time when any new measure to introduce new language syllabi in schools is met with opposition – much of which is tinged with racial paranoia – it is heartening to see this young boy’s desire to devour new language skills.

Nik Eusoff’s eagerness to learn is to be applauded and his parents’ efforts in helping him accrue as much knowledge and skills in this age of globalisation should be commended.

Malaysians are fast becoming a mono-lingual bunch with each ethnic group happy to subsist in their own linguistic bubble. This has caused various problems not least with regards to social integration and inter-communal harmony.

So, let’s hope these videos will inspire more parents to encourage their young ones to learn more languages. Only good – not harm – can come from this. – Sept 13, 2023

Main pic credit: Harian Metro

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE