Hearing bilingual: how babies sort out language

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Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:26
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
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It's interesting how much research one can pile up Oct 11, 2011

and still meet great prejudice to bilingualism from professionals (psychologists, speech therapists, teachers).
A friend was advised to "stop speaking Italian" for a while to his 16-month old twins, so that they could get past their "language-delay", and this by a speech therapist in multilingual Toronto.

Fortunatly, I kept my trilingual kids away from professionals, while following the research in this field on my own.

[Edited at 2011-10-11 19:29 GMT]

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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:26
Romanian to English
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True! Oct 11, 2011

I've definitely seen this in my now 5-month old daughter. My husband is a German-Hungarian native and while we speak to her mostly in Hungarian, he sometimes spoke to her in German - she was visibly perplexed and seemed not to understand anything (compared to her usual interest in what we say when we speak Hungarian).

As for the bigger kids, my (Hungarian native) brother living in Florida has a 3-yr old boy (born in the US), raised to be Hungarian and being taught some English words once he mastered Hungarian and grew older. My nephew soon learned English from his little American friend (and taught him some Hungarian words) and is able to say complex sentences without any language confusion. He clearly distinguishes the two languages and often asks his father: "How do you say this or that in English?"

And then there's the two of us, raised as Hungarian-Romanian bilinguals (mastering both languages as the monolingual educated natives of the respective languages do). I don't remember having any confusion about the two languages even as a kid.

Kids are marvelous

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Werner Maurer  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
Spanish to English
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language Oct 12, 2011

Anyone remember Glenn Doman (Teach Your Baby to Read; Teach Your Baby Maths)? He said a young child will learn as many languages as he or she is constantly exposed to, and cites the case of a boy who spoke and understood 9 languages by the time he was 10, just because he heard them constantly among his family and relatives.

[Edited at 2011-10-12 02:50 GMT]

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