one language at a time or both?????

Krystel - posted on 03/02/2011 ( 18 moms have responded )

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my son is 9 months old and so far i have been talking to him in french since my bf and i are french, and sometimes in english. i really want him to fully bilingual so my question is should i keep talking to him english and french now or start with french and once he knows it pretty well introduce the english?

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[deleted account]

oh and the only reason we are doing english and italian (me eng husband italian) is because those are our mother tongues respectively. a friend was told by some language professional that they made a mistake speaking italian and englihs at same time. she was perfect italian mother tongue, he both. but she did englihs and itlian and her english is not perfect. they need to hear it spoken perfectly in order to learn it perfectly. my poor children...if I spoke italain with them they'd be so speaking jumble.

the otuside world will influence and teach them english if you both do french easy peasy if you are living in an english speaking country.

[deleted account]

in my experience (childcare worker, plus worked in internationla schools in italy) and 20 month twins me speaking english only and father italian only I've read and seen best to speak your mother tongue language. children are sponges. will soak up english from being in an english speaking country no problem. I've worked with kids that have started daycare only speaking one language (different from english) and it is amazing how quickly they learn english. I figure give them your mother tongue language spoken correctly. I think it is such a gift to give your child more than one language. will also have easier time picking up other languages if desired later in life.

Melanie - posted on 04/13/2011

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I don't think there is any problem speaking to him in both languages but if you have a personal experience of learning one language then the other at 5 and it worked for you it may work for your son too. I know someone who did this too.

Donna - posted on 03/05/2011

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french and english both. Kids absorb languages until they are around the age of 6.

Renae - posted on 03/04/2011

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The normal recommendation is both at once. Most mulitlingual children take longer to talk and will confuse the different languages for a while (switching between them midsentence). All of this is normal and it usually all comes together around age 4 or 5. Young children can fluently learn any number of languages at once. Psychs and Speech Paths usually tell parents to continue speaking however they normally do in their home, so if you speak french to some relatives and english to others then you continue doing what's normal in your home and your child will learn and adapt.

I used to work with a little boy who spoke German, Polish, Japanese, English and French. He was about 3 at the time and would say a sentence with one word from each! This happens because they know some words in one language and other words in another, so they use what they know until they are able to mentally compartmentalise each language. Luckily, his older sister who was 7 also spoke all of the same languages except Japanese so she could usually translate for me!

Kimberly - posted on 03/03/2011

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Both is fine. Where I live they offer free educational and early screening programs for parents (with their children) in New Brunswick. They said it was know problem for babies/kids to learn more then 1 language at a time. If they are "slow" with their speech they probably would be "slow" learning 1 language.

Jodi - posted on 03/03/2011

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Krystel, by the time he is in school, he will pretty much have caught up on the speech thing. My nephew was only slightly delayed, and what I mean by that is that his vocabulary was a little more limited, just because he was absorbing 2 languages. But he started school at almost 6, and had very few problems by then. Once he was in a school environment where English was the only language spoken, he was up with the other kids in no time at all.

Alison - posted on 03/03/2011

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I am raising two bilingual children in a fairly bilingual city. My husband speaks French, the daycare is mostly French, and I speak mostly English.

Infants have the ability to recognize different languages - by watching the shape of the mouth - I believe between the ages of 3-9 months. So it is not as confusing as some may think to see the same person speak more than one language. If they are not exposed to more than one language during those months, they will lose that ability (although, I am convinced all is not lost).

Being bilingual will have an impact on their language development, but for most children it is not very significant by the time they reach school. For some children, however, language is just difficult, and they may do infinitely better with only one language.

I would definitely encourage you to introduce the second language from the start. It is really hard to change later on.

If you are living in a French-speaking country (or city), try to find childcare in English and reinforce it with books, movies, websites, etc. in English. If you are living in an English-speaking environment, you should stick to speaking French at home almost exclusively. The English will most likely be a non-issue.

Shikha - posted on 03/03/2011

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we are doing the same by teaching our kid our native language along with english....we try to speak to him in hindi (our home language) more at home as when he goes out he learns to speak english by himself as others talk to him in english and he gets no other option to communicate with them....it depends on where u live....if u live in france then u need to focus more on english as he will learn french automatically and vice versa...

Krystel - posted on 03/03/2011

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i know i shouldnt worry but i dont want him to be behind in his speech, i wouldnt want him to get picked on later cuz he isnt at the same speaking level as other kids his age. wouldnt it be better one language at a time? i was fully french and learned eng at 5 years old and i speak it more now then french! :( i dont know what to do

Laura - posted on 03/03/2011

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My daughter the other day responded to me in not two, but 3 languages (NO!, NON!, NEIN!), so English, French, and German. She can name her colors in English, French and Spanish. I'm bilingual (English/French) and my husband is biligual (English/Japanese). I have a working understanding of Spanish and German. I think part of it is myself and my mother have conversations in multiple languages (ie, all of the above), so she picked up on it from there. I am trying to teach her more French then anything.

Jodi - posted on 03/02/2011

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I agree with the other ladies, definitely both. But just be aware that you may find he will be delayed in his speech a little because of this. Don't worry too much about it, though, because he will catch up. My nephew is bilingual English and Greek (his mother is Greek), and he was delayed initially, but this is common.

Krystel - posted on 03/02/2011

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thx everyone! and Teresa i heard the same thing too, and it does make sense when u think about it but the problem i have with that is if i speak only english to him and his dad only french , im scared since he spends a lot more time with me he will speak mostly eng. but i think im gonna keep doing what i do i speak one day in eng and the other day in french...i guess only time will tell!

[deleted account]

I have 'heard' that it's best in bilingual homes if one parent uses one language and one parent uses the other. Supposed to be less confusing or something. I have no personal knowledge on the subject though as I only speak English.

Alecia - posted on 03/02/2011

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Both. but when u speak full sentences use only french or english. and when u name objects name it in both languages. otherwise its the perfect time to start ur baby with more than one language because it will just be so natural to them. i wanted to teach my daughter french, but its not my native tongue, so i have found it hard to keep up on, but hope to incorporate it into ours lives soon. i got to take a 2 week tour to france when i was 18 and it was one of the best times in my life. i so want to share that with my hubby and daughter :)

Hayley - posted on 03/02/2011

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Do both. Children are much better than us at learning new things. I have many friends who are bilingual and speak both languages to their children.

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