A new show on BBC channel CBeebies aims to teach pre-school age children about languages and their related cultures.
Eleven minute programme The Lingo Show features an animated bug named Lingo, as the “host” of the show. Lingo then introduces other bugs from other countries who sing little songs about their respective allocated language and culture within a live action set. Episode 1 introduces Wei, a bug which sings in English with Chinese Mandarin words interspersed. Through the use of songs and repetition, we learn that the Mandarin word for hello is nee hao.
The show isn’t especially logical, as it goes on to demonstrate the words for ice cream, banana, and yellow fan, red fan and blue fan, but hey, it’s for kids so I guess needs to keep their interest. It’s literally an introduction, and doesn’t overwhelm with too many words. The series doesn’t look at a different language each episode either, which is great for continuity.
There are other “characters,” each of which will introduce a different language. The languages they represent are Spanish, Somali, French, Punjabi, Welsh, Polish, and Urdu.
You can watch episodes on the BBC iPlayer here.