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62

I am a linguist (master's degree in linguistics), speak three languages fluently, and have studied a few others. I have four children, and my wife and I also have different mother-tongues - Spanish for me, English for my wife. Because one of my children had speech acquisition problems, I have done a bit of research into this topic. The bottom line is that ...


24

Being parents of different "tongues" implies, in my opinion, an obligation to give your child(-ren) as much diversity as possible. I am not qualified to argue against linguists, but I see it as no different than that if you're a mechanic, odds are your kids will learn how to wield a wrench; if you're a musician, perhaps a guitar. With language, you can start ...


17

Anecdotal evidence: When I was living in Barcelona, my neighbors were a couple with a kid. The father was German, the mother was French, they talked to each other in English and the kid was going to the British School of Barcelona. At 10, the kid was fluent in Catalan, Spanish, French, German and English. Was he sometimes mixing up and making some mistakes? ...


9

So my question is, would my child be confused if I spoke Kurdish with it and Danish to my husband and my husband spoke Turkish to the child? As an adult, when I'm a 2nd language learner, I never, ever, ever, ever confuse languages. (Exceptions being Spanish and French, they are very similar, and that 5 minute warm up period when you are switching ...


7

If there's one thing you should be worried about it's that your daughter is put in such a class and you were apparently not even aware of it... I find it really strange. But learning a second language is best done when you're young. Living in a bilingual country (Belgium), this is actually the direction towards a lot of schools/parents are moving: bilingual ...


7

It appears that children don't learn language well from television because they need interaction and conversation. It's not so much that the "picture on a flat device [isn't] a person", but more that the child doesn't get a response when they try to talk back to the picture. In one study, when children had a conversation over Skype with an adult, they were ...


6

If you speak two languages your child may be confused but you can speak Danish and your husband Turkish. Your child will associate Danish with you and Turkish with your husband. more info with a similar problem


6

The usual advice is to use the one-person-one-language rule. You speak exclusively your mother tongue to your child, your wife does the same. You have to act like you don't understand English or your child will catch on and switch to what ever their strongest language is, probably English, if you are in an English community. Rely on the community to teach ...


5

If anything, it's not the diagnosis you should be concerned about, but the underlying condition and the specific problems it presents to the child. The sooner you have your son diagnosed, the better the chances that he can get help both to address his behavioral problems and to help him develop his extraordinary gifts. Many people are afraid of the mental ...


5

I would keep it simple and accurate: first of all 1) the language we use wasn't designed, nobody sat down and invented it, and 2) it's a hodge-podge/mongrel/mixture from a lot of different sources (other languages) over a lot of different time periods, thousands of years. If you need an illustration, you might locate some examples of "Olde Englishe" before ...


4

Written English is not a Phonetic language; you need to understand that before you go any further. As a result, while phonics are a useful aid to beginners in reading/comprehension, they will always be imperfect just like any shortcut. If you look at the etymological breakdown of English, it contains words which we can mostly trace back about equally to ...


4

English, unlike many alphabetic languages, is not written in a perfectly transparent fashion. You cannot necessarily pronounce a word correctly just by looking at it. This makes learning to read through phonics trickier than it might be in a language with stricter pronunciation rules. However, phonics are still the most effective technique for teaching ...


3

The simplest answer is whatever works for you! It's a great opportunity to teach your child both languages and for them to be exposed to both your culture and your husband's culture. Many bilingual families have different methods which work for them. Sometimes the mother speaks one language to the child and the father speaks the other. Or both parents ...


2

You might also want to think about the problem in terms of opportunity costs vs. future benefits. I am a Romanian native, and looking back to my high-school years, I'm grateful that I was taught English (the world's de-facto universal language) and French, instead of Russian, which had been mandatory until a few years earlier, while my country was under a ...


2

I very strongly doubt that using multiple languages around your child will cause any damage or problems, and I strongly suspect that in the long run this will be beneficial to your child. They may be cross-lingual (for example, using some Turkish or Kurdish words when conversing in Danish) on occasion, but as they become more fluent in a particular language ...


2

I don't think she'll have a problem. Our oldest was barely functional in French when he started school. This year will be his third year at the same (French, not even bilingual) school, and he's mostly fluent in both (still a bit better in English, but not by much). You'll be surprised by how quickly she absorbs it. As a side note, now's a really good time ...


2

If he is smart enough to enjoy "why", then a really good approach I'd recommend would be to go through the various invasions of England (Vikings, Angles, Saxons, Jutes etc) and tie the various words back to language. Once you know the source, you can make very good guesses as to the rules for words you don't know.


2

First, English is weird. From talking to a few people I know who had to learn English as a second language, it's pretty hard, especially compared to some others for the reasons your son has identified. Pronunciation rules aren't consistent. Spelling isn't consistent. Other languages (like Spanish, for instance) have well-defined rules about how spelling ...


2

There is no rule for this, and it's different with every child. My girls are both bi-lingual. I speak to them in one language, and my wife (and the environment) speak to them in another. My eldest started speaking both languages more or less together, and is happy to switch from one to the other when talking to different people. My second would only speak ...


1

It cannot be forced. I tried and failed dismally. My daughter first learnt my wife's language then English. Once she learnt English, she would refuse to go back. Teaching a child another language is a long term process. My kids have been going to language school since the age of 6 and will continue until they achieve year 12 proficiency. I would love them ...


1

From my own experience, television does enhance the learning of a new language. But of course, it does have its limits, one can learn to speak and understand a language by means of television, but it might be hard to get some writing skills that way. It certainly doesn't hurt to start an interest in a new language with the TV. I've been watching movies and ...


1

Be natural and use both languages. I would emphasise the language of the culture, just for assimilation, but Children are sponges. They can easily learn both languages. And learning both languages early may make it much easier for the child to pick up additional languages in the future.


1

As other people have said, it's hard to say without knowing your goals. You will probably want to speak to you child in your best language, even if it isn't the community language and even if it doesn't have the prestige of some other language. (You didn't say which, so I'm definitely not making a judgement on what is a more prestigious language) If you ...


1

Probably no harm, but probably no benefit. At this age, the kids are learning phonetics, they are learning the inventory of different sounds. At a bit later age, they will no longer hear the sounds that are not in their language, same as adults. In one interesting study, Kuhl’s team exposed 9 month old American babies to Mandarin in various forms–in ...


1

MatthewMartin's answer should work fairly well. My girlfriend grew up in a similar situation. She spoke french with her mother and mother's family, italian with her father and his family, attended a french school and lived in an english community. She actually became most fluent in English (written, spoken, and heard), fluent in french, and could understand ...


1

Gradually introduce incentives focusing on his favorite things as rewards. Also translate words he uses regularly into English when he uses the Spanish version. As a child, I had to go through a similar transition and for me television played a big role. I don't know if he enjoys television, if he does dedicate some time to shows he likes that are in English ...


1

Although I certainly would not do this suddenly, I recommend using some incentives. You don't get dessert if you don't ask for it in English. You can't play on the ipad* (or whatever item rules your 6yr old's attention) unless you ask for it in English. Christmas presents? Your list had better be in English. You get the idea. As I said though, I wouldn't ...


1

Diego, I suggest getting him into fun programs. Get him on a local football team with some kids his age. He will hopefully have fun and start to see the local kids as his friends. Even better if you can find a coach that knows a little Spanish and is willing to help him feel comfortable.



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