Two Different Languages?! (15months!)

User - posted on 03/29/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My son is 15Months, and the only words I'v heard him say is momm-yy, mama, BALL. and just gabber.

Should I be worried?

Although, there is two different languages going on @ home. Is he confused? Will it take him longer to use his words?

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Esther - posted on 04/04/2009

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The book I was referring to is "Raising a Bi-Lingual Child" by Barbara Zurer Pearson.

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User - posted on 04/04/2009

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Quoting Esther:

My son is learning two languages as well. We speak Dutch at home and he hears English (and probably some Spanish) at daycare. He is saying about 10 words now, but I was actually surprised that he was. From what I've heard, it's very common (even typical) for bi-lingual kids to start speaking later, often around 2 years old. I've been reading a book about how to raise kids bi-lingual and there is a whole chapter in there about language development (in all kids, not just bi-lingual ones). It's really fascinating. But one thing I thought was particularly interesting and explains why it takes multi-lingual kids longer is that before they speak, they have to learn sounds. So for the first months of their lives they listen to us and they try to figure out what sounds they hear regularly and seem to serve a purpose, and which sounds they do not need to remember. They categorize those sounds and from that they can start to develop their language abilities. English has about 40 sound categories. Spanish has about 30. Some African languages have as many as 100. So for example, in English, the "b" and the "d" sound similar, but they are not the same and serve different purposes. Therefore they are stored separately. In some other languages there may not be any such distinction. In that case they would have gotten lumped together. So kids who are exposed to multiple languages have many more sounds to categorize, sort through & remember before they can start to form words (there are more steps in between but I'll spare you that). The ability to learn these sounds and store them in their brains goes away with age. That is why people who learn languages at a later age usually speak with an accent, their brains do not have categories for each of the sounds of the new language and are unable to reproduce them accurately. I hope I didn't bore you with this semi-scientific post but I personally found it very interesting.



I found this really interesting we speak mostly spanish at home, but everywhere else theres of course engksh.....I actually was worried too, because my 15 months old was saying only three words like tita wich we know is any kind of food or when he is hungry he goes tita-tita and caaaa wich I think is cat and mama sometimess.....not that often. We are taking these mommy and me classes and last week  I asked the teacher and she told me exactly the same .......she said sometimes it takes a little bit longer for them to talk.....but i didnt really understand why.....but what you post helped me a lot......where can I get some more information???.....thank you

Christy - posted on 03/31/2009

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my son is from just english speaking home.all he says is 'oh dear'.'no' and 'dada'...nothing else lol.

Esther - posted on 03/31/2009

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My son is learning two languages as well. We speak Dutch at home and he hears English (and probably some Spanish) at daycare. He is saying about 10 words now, but I was actually surprised that he was. From what I've heard, it's very common (even typical) for bi-lingual kids to start speaking later, often around 2 years old. I've been reading a book about how to raise kids bi-lingual and there is a whole chapter in there about language development (in all kids, not just bi-lingual ones). It's really fascinating. But one thing I thought was particularly interesting and explains why it takes multi-lingual kids longer is that before they speak, they have to learn sounds. So for the first months of their lives they listen to us and they try to figure out what sounds they hear regularly and seem to serve a purpose, and which sounds they do not need to remember. They categorize those sounds and from that they can start to develop their language abilities. English has about 40 sound categories. Spanish has about 30. Some African languages have as many as 100. So for example, in English, the "b" and the "d" sound similar, but they are not the same and serve different purposes. Therefore they are stored separately. In some other languages there may not be any such distinction. In that case they would have gotten lumped together. So kids who are exposed to multiple languages have many more sounds to categorize, sort through & remember before they can start to form words (there are more steps in between but I'll spare you that). The ability to learn these sounds and store them in their brains goes away with age. That is why people who learn languages at a later age usually speak with an accent, their brains do not have categories for each of the sounds of the new language and are unable to reproduce them accurately. I hope I didn't bore you with this semi-scientific post but I personally found it very interesting.

Erin - posted on 03/29/2009

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Maia is learning two different languages at home and it has not delayed her at all (probably close to a 150 word vocab now) so don't be afraid to keep that up.  As long as he comprehends what you're saying such as bring me the ball, where's the dog etc he's probably fine.  I think the normal vocab for this age is between 10-50 and I've heard boys tend to pick up language later than girls do as they are focusing on motor skills more.

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