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Baby growing up in multilingual home...

 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
43 messages over 6 pages: 13 4 5 6  Next >>
Joined 4417 days ago

15 posts - 17 votes
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Mandarin

 Message 9 of 43
22 September 2008 at 11:41am | IP Logged 
Do you remember the title and/or the authors of the research paper? Sounds interesting, as what I usually get to read always mentions more (or only) benefits of growing up as a bilingual.
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Bilingual Tetraglot
Senior Member
Joined 4820 days ago

803 posts - 1119 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: EnglishC2*, Spanish*, French, German
Studies: Italian, Modern Hebrew

 Message 10 of 43
22 September 2008 at 1:24pm | IP Logged 
Talabí wrote:
The recommendation made by the researchers was to try to avoid teaching a second language before children can build up sentences in their first language, which is about 4 or 5 years old.

Allow me to disagree: "Bad research, bah." ;)

My borthers and I grew up in a multilingual environment. Our parents taught us to focus on one language and not code-switch in mid-sentence. But skip and prattle we did.

That research probably talks about situations mostly with immigrants and fails to take into consideration education. (Or show me otherwise?)

In our household, we now speak 4 languages with our daughters - I was mostly, by foolish choice after reading several books, monolingual with my oldest (spoke French to her, my third language) for almost 8 years and discovered that was wrong - middle one got French from her mother and English / French from me for 4 years, then I added Spanish. Slow going. The oldest one is bi/tri-lingual, the second one is also working on Latin (and FR,EN,SP,DE), she's 11 now.

My 2 youngest (4 & 6) got English, French, Spanish, German from 2 on -- they are now fluent in German and French and understand everything in English. And switch to piggy Spanish with my brother, because his wife speaks that best.

Throw the rule books out, try to keep to one language but gather people around you that speak others, it's a great gift.

Edited by zenmonkey on 22 September 2008 at 1:26pm

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Joined 4290 days ago

17 posts - 17 votes
Speaks: Bulgarian*, English, German

 Message 11 of 43
03 November 2008 at 5:03pm | IP Logged 
I have a niece (4 years old), which lives in Germany. Her mother is Russian, her father is Bulgarian and in the kindergarten they learn English. I have found that she prefers to speak the native language of the country she is in. When she is in Germany, she is very reluctant to speak any language different than German (although her father talks to her in Bulgarian and her mother - in Russian). But when she visits us in Bulgaria, she starts to speak Bulgarian just after a few days...
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Bilingual Tetraglot
Senior Member
Joined 4183 days ago

269 posts - 291 votes 
Speaks: English*, Russian*, French, Spanish
Studies: Japanese

 Message 12 of 43
05 November 2008 at 1:53am | IP Logged 
Talabí wrote:
Recently, I read a research about this specific topic, in which the authors pointed out certain disadvantages about teaching two languages to a child (5 years old or less). The main disadvantage found in this research was that children tend to mix both languages, since they don't have any pre-established language. Therefore, using Spanish and English, a phrase like "Hola, how are tú?" will be somehow "normal" to these children. The recommendation made by the researchers was to try to avoid teaching a second language before children can build up sentences in their first language, which is about 4 or 5 years old.
I find that difficult to believe. I was born in Moscow, and moved to Israel with my family at the age of 4 months, and later to Canada, when I was 5 years old. The first 5 years of my life, during which I learned Russian and Hebrew, I never had problems with confusing the 2 languages, and I was very fluent in both.

I forgot Hebrew when I moved to Canada, due to disuse, but that's another story altogether.
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Super Polyglot
Senior Member
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Speaks: French, English*, German, Spanish, Dutch, Macedonian, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Czech, Catalan, Welsh, Serbo-Croatian
Studies: Sign Language, Toki Pona, Albanian, Polish, Bulgarian, TurkishA1, Esperanto, Romanian, Danish, Mandarin, Icelandic, Modern Hebrew, Greek, Latvian, Estonian

 Message 13 of 43
12 November 2008 at 3:26pm | IP Logged 

Here is a video lecture by language development researcher Patricia Kuhl:

University of Washington - Provost's Distinguished Lecture

Some of the research presented may be of interest to those who desire to raise multilingual children. The age at which babies can distinguish any and all language sounds is covered, also the rapid decline of such ability is charted.

Amongst other findings, DVDs, as well as audio recordings, that purport to teach babies foreign languages are shown to be useless. The primacy of social interaction is discussed.

There is a cool demonstration showing the importance of visual information on the perception of consonants (at around 51:45 in the video), try it.

Thanks for posting this video. It is really interesting for anyone bringing up a multilingual child. I have met many people fluent in 2,3 or even 4 languages from birth and they manage just fine. This video shows some more recent evidence as to why children should start learning as young as possible. My wife and I are bringing up our daughter in a multilingual environment and she started speaking before the average for monolingual children according to the health visitor!     

Edited by Torbyrne on 12 November 2008 at 3:40pm

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Joined 4845 days ago

81 posts - 81 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Japanese, German
Studies: Russian

 Message 14 of 43
12 November 2008 at 5:46pm | IP Logged 
Thanks everyone for your participation in this thread. My wife and I are bringing up our son in French and Japanese (one person, one language), and we are wondering when and how we should introduce other languages, namely English and German.

Zenmonkey, and Torbyrne, how do you do it? Do you choose a different language each day and stick to it? Or do you have special time for each language? Or do you stick to one person one language and rely on your close relatives to interact with the child one language each? At what age (of the child) did you start?
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 4298 days ago

451 posts - 501 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Italian, Dutch, Catalan

 Message 15 of 43
13 November 2008 at 9:24am | IP Logged 
My wife and I are bringing up our children trilingual. She speaks only Portuguese and I speak only Spanish to the kids (ages 4 and 1 month), while they get English from pretty much everyone else. We started doing this with them from birth. My 4 year old is doing very well with all three languages and I expect that the baby will too.
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Senior Member
Joined 4191 days ago

532 posts - 619 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, Italian
Studies: German, Croatian

 Message 16 of 43
22 November 2008 at 9:31am | IP Logged 
My two year old gets only English in the house but Spanish pretty much everywhere else. He seems to know who to speak which one to and if he sees that someone doesn't understand when he says thank you, for example, he'll then say gracias.

From reading the above posts I'm encouraged to introduce a third language in the house.

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