Mobile menu

Question for those of you who have bi/tri-lingual children
Thread poster: IrinaGM
IrinaGM  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:10
English to Georgian
+ ...
Mar 16, 2007

I am raising a bi-lingual baby (he also hears a third language but we're not actively speaking it to him) and I was wondering those of you who have bi/tri-lingual children, when did they start talking? I have several friends with bi-lingual children and I have heard different answers so I was wondering....

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Juliana Starkman  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 18:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
same situation. all is well Mar 17, 2007

Hi Irina,
My girls (who are now 4 and 2) heard only Spanish and Hebrew at home until they started at their mainly English speaking nursery, around the age of 2. They began speaking both their "home" languages (occasionally mixing them) at the same time, but at slightly different ages.

The older one spoke in sentences by about 18 months, but the younger one has taken a bit longer, and just now, at 2 and a half, is speaking in full sentences. Apparently it can take some multilingual kids a bit longer, but I think it's just an individual kid thing. Also, my older one always used to facilitate for her sister, and tell us what she wanted, even before she asked! So, she felt no need to speak herself I guess. Once they start there is no stopping them.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:10
French to English
+ ...
when I was a kid Mar 17, 2007

Irina,

I don't have kids, but I was a trilingual tadpole. Mom used to tell me I started to speak very early (a real chatter box - at about 18 months) and in 3 languages - French, English, and Vietnamese.

When we moved to the US and I started nursery school, I pretended not to understand English (and refused to speak it). The teacher (convinced that I did not understand her) called in my Mom, who then asked me what was up. As the story goes, I thought the teacher didn't understand speech because she would not speak my other languages!

When funky things crop up, don't rely on what other people tell you about your kids -- ask them what is going on, they will probably have a very rational (for them) explanation why they are speaking/understanding (or not, as the case may be).

Hope this helps a bit.

Patricia


Direct link Reply with quote
 
novjak
Local time: 00:10
English to Russian
+ ...
same situation Mar 17, 2007

Hello, Irina

my girl is 6 I speak Russian to her, her father speaks Serbian she goes to Polish kindergarten where she speaks Polish (in her case it is the first language) and Ana also learns English. She started to talk at about 2. It is said that bilingual children start to talk a little later, I think it is true and I do not see any reason to worry about it. Ana sometimes mixes languages. I read her a lot (very helpful!!!), she also likes cartoons and songs.
The most important thing is to tie the language either to particular situation/s eg. walk, bathing or to the person mum- French, Dad- Spanish etc.
From my experience the best result is to go to the country where the language is the native one. When Ana goes to Ukraine she has to speak Russian (I live in the Russian speaking part) to communicate with friends and grandparents, so she knows words/things you cannot find in the books (sometimes you need to correct such knowledge)
Children are excellent learners and it is great idea to know own roots and the language/s of your close relatives even if the language is the unique one. I decided to 'teach' her the language not to answer the question 'Mum, why didn't you...?" in the future.

Rgds
Oksana


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Juliana Starkman  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 18:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with Oksana Mar 17, 2007

I forgot to mention (thanks Oksana for mentioning), that I have found the most important thing to be "one parent one language". In other words, always talk to your child in the same language ( i.e. mother in Hebrew, Father in Spanish), no matter where you are, or who is around. Of course, they can hear you speak other things with other people...

Also, the reading constantly is a huge help. It gets expensive though where I am, trying to make sure we always have new books in "our" languages to keep up with the increase in vocabulary that comes with age...


Direct link Reply with quote
 
IrinaGM  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:10
English to Georgian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Juliana, Oksana and Patricia for replying... Mar 18, 2007

We do practice OPOL, I speak Georgian to him (my native language) and my husband speaks English (his native language). We live in Thailand so he hears Thai everywhere we go but we are moving back to the States in about a month so that situation will change.

I know I don't need to worry but a parent in me is ready for him to start talking he is 20 months old and does not say any words yet except for baby talk... I guess I need to be a little more patient!

Thanks again! -Irina


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Lise Kristensen  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:10
English to Danish
+ ...
I think it varies Mar 18, 2007

Hi Irina -

my son, who is now 10, was brought up listening to English and Danish - with a smattering of Swiss-German and French thrown in....he spoke at abt 15 months, which I think is fairly average.

I was told that he would be a late talker because he was bi-lingual, but having talked to a lot of other people, I don't think that it is neccesarily true.

Juliana writes about the 'one parent,one language'. I was told the same thing, but was not very consistent, as I tend to speak Danish to my husband - and it doesn't seem to have made much difference - I think it depends on the child, mote than anything.

Today, we tend to switch languages in mid-sentence and not even notice

Lise


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Juliana Starkman  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 18:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
the older the easier? Mar 18, 2007

I suspect that probably as the kids get older it is less important to use only the one language, especially if there is more than one "family language". When they're small ( at least in the case of my 2), there are bombarded with English outside the house, and I've seen with friends that the minute they stop insisting, the "family" language stops developing, or the kids understand but won't speak.

Having said that, my girls are used to hearing my husband and I use 3 or 4 languages in a sentence when speaking to each other.

I wonder how old they have to be before you "know" that they have the language set in their brains and won't lose it easily? Lise?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Refugio
Local time: 15:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Late talkers Mar 18, 2007

My oldest daughter, who heard only English, learned to talk earlier (eighteen months) than her siblings (two years), who were exposed to both Spanish and English. However, there could be other contributing factors such as the fact that the oldest child often receives more early attention than later ones, or personality (some kids are born more verbal than others). But please don't worry about late talking if the child appears normal in every other way (for example, if they don't respond when you talk from behind them, there might be a hearing problem, which could be confirmed by a doctor, and that would of course affect late speech.) Otherwise, some children are just very good listeners and thinkers. Don't forget that Einstein didn't begin speaking till around age five, and then in full paragraphs, not just sentences!

Direct link Reply with quote
 
juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:10
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Don't worry, if everything else is OK Mar 21, 2007

I had similar experience to Juliana and Ruth.
My elder son started to speak very early, and by the time his baby brother came around, when he was 21 month, he spoke fluently.
The younger one was still baby talking when he reached the same age. I was sent from pillar to post by a concerned childless doctor friend.
He started to speak well past his second birthday, in beautiful, full sentences. No more babytalk, trying to express himself, but proper speach.
The only twist in the tale is, that he still kept silent when visiting the child psychiatrist and speech therapist. They didn't believe me, when I said that I am satisfied that his speech is absolutely fine for his age, in fact much better than average.
When I came out of the hospital from that session after I failed to convince the experts, and my son didn't say a word for a couple of hours, we were standing in the doorway, and from there we could see the top of London's Post Office Tower.
Child's mouth opens: "Mummy, can you tell me please, what is that interesting white tower in the distance?" That was the moment I nearly hit him around the ears.
The end of the story: a child psychologist came to our house visit, and I told my son, that a friend of mum's coming, be nice to her. We picked her up from the station, and my son didn't stop talking to her until we got home. We never heard from the experts again.
Conclusion (now I know him better): a thoughtful, cautious, stubborn child, not an extrovert, who wants to do things well, in his own time, not the fast moving get-it-over type.

If your child is alert, does things you tell him, happy (well, most of the time), then just keep talking to him, and he will develop his skills in his own time.

There is one more thing: I am convinced, that children go through short (hours) or longer (weeks) phases, wanting acquire one skill or another. If you observe this and help them, rather than trying to teach them something else, they benefit and you will have an easy time, happy child, who develops his skills well. If not, he will be hindered by you in his endevour of the moment, and won't learn easily what you would like him to.
The time when his interest will be to express himself, or wanting to nappy-train will come, and if you grab the opportunity, it will be a pleasure. Try to nappy-train him when he wants to learn to pedal his tricycle, - frustration all around.
Never think or act "now it is the wrong time" if the child is eager to acquire some knowledge or skill, and with little ones it is our job to observe and find out what it may be at any one time.
Rgds Judith


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Lise Kristensen  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:10
English to Danish
+ ...
Heritage means something, too Mar 21, 2007

Juliana Starkman wrote:

I suspect that probably as the kids get older it is less important to use only the one language, especially if there is more than one "family language". When they're small ( at least in the case of my 2), there are bombarded with English outside the house, and I've seen with friends that the minute they stop insisting, the "family" language stops developing, or the kids understand but won't speak.

Having said that, my girls are used to hearing my husband and I use 3 or 4 languages in a sentence when speaking to each other.

I wonder how old they have to be before you "know" that they have the language set in their brains and won't lose it easily? Lise?


I've never really had to insist - sometimes he asks me to speak Danish in shops - mainly because shop assistants tend to speak English to me if I don't, and that embarrasses him....:-)

Otherwise we have never seen it as a problem, but I do know that the second my Swiss mother-in-law stopped insisting that my husband spoke Swiss (at abt 8, he thinks), he stopped - and so did his brother.....

I spoke Finnish until I was 8, and have lost it completely, not having anyone to talk to, so I think they probably need to be fairly old before you know it's there.

It isn't just a question of language, I think, but also heritage - and if you can instill some pride in whichever country you come from into the kids, I think you have come a long way to keeping the language intact. I have managed to create a complete anglofile

Lise


Direct link Reply with quote
 
hattie0
Local time: 23:10
I speak 4 languages. Apr 7, 2010

I'm 17 and speak 4 languages. I live in the uk so speak english when Im out. Until I was 13 I went to a bilingual french/german school and I also went to an after school russian group which taught speaking,reading and writing. We also did things like cooking so I learnt words like spatula and food mixer which I may not have learnt through normal conversation. Because I went to a bilingual nursery from age 3 then went on to a bilingual school I found it easy to learn 4 languages. The only problem was that until I started at an english school aged 13 my english vocabulary was not very good and I couldent write very well, but I picked it up fairly quickly when I started normal english school.

Direct link Reply with quote
 


There is no moderator assigned specifically to this forum.
To report site rules violations or get help, please contact site staff »


Question for those of you who have bi/tri-lingual children

Advanced search






WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs