I speak to my kid in 2 different languages at one time now . I used to speak to him only English and his mom our native language for 2years now but seems it didn't work so I decided to communicate the 2 languages to him myself to be sure things go right because I am the only one who speak English but the boy started to get English from me and refuses to communicate to others . Is that true ? Please advise.

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    I don't mean to be rude, but if your spoken English is similar to your written English then maybe you should stick to your native language. I've mentioned the importance of being fluent before. Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 15:00
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    That's extremely rude and uncalled for @TorbenGundtofte-Bruun. There's no reason to suspect the OP's spoken English isn't sufficient. Don't see your comments on fluency are so relevant nor is your negative approach very helpful. Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 17:17
  • @TorbenGundtofte-Bruun: Sams written English is a lot better than what I have read from many native English speakers. And you follow "I don't mean to be rude" immediately by extreme rudeness. I value honesty. If you dislike Indians, why don't you be honest and write "I dislike Indians".
    – gnasher729
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 11:51
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    @gnasher729 I have no idea where Sam is from, nor does his profile indicate it, so your last sentence is nonsense. I am not discussing the poor written skills of some native English speakers. I am simply commenting on the original post, and linking to an earlier answer that explains in depth. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 18:42
  • But its obvious where Sam comes from.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 21:28

3 Answers 3


I assume that you are trying to teach your kid English because that's the language of your country - but that isn't the native tongue of either you or your wife. It's hard to tell from your question what the situation is right now, so what I'm going to say is just theory (one that we successfully employed ourselves given that we are in a similar situation). You should always speak with your children in your native tongue. If English isn't your native then don't use it. There will always be people that you have to talk English to, this is fine. But your children should get the language that you know really well.

The main reason for that is: your English isn't good enough. Even if you have no accent, even if you don't make grammatical mistakes, you are still using phrases that a native speaker wouldn't choose. Do you really want your child to learn your way of speaking and come across as a foreigner?

Besides, the most important thing is that the children have at least one really good primary language. That primary language doesn't have to be English. If they learn your native tongue well it will make learning other languages (such as English) much easier for them. Just make sure that they have native speakers to learn English from.

In our case this meant getting a babysitter just for that cause - so that there is some native speaker around regularly. We started with it when our daughter was three, before that she understood almost no German (which happens to be the language of the country here) and that's fine. Don't let anybody tell you that at some point it will be too late, while picking up languages gets somewhat more difficult with the time children can still do it very well even when they are ten.


It is quite difficult to get a full picture from the brief outline you've provided, as you're not sharing what it is exactly that didn't work in your old approach, and what the problem is you're facing now. Is the child behind in language development? Is the child using one language more than the other? Is the child mixing their languages? Or..?

In general, I'd like to say that children who are acquiring more than one language, can often appear behind in their language development compared to monolingual children, when in reality they're not. When you compare a monolingual child using 50 words in language A to a bilingual child using 50 words, (of which 25 in language A and 25 words in language B), the bilingual child might appear to be behind in development in language A, but considering the child also acquiring 25 words in language B this makes sense.

It's also unclear what your 'language situation' is from your question. Do you live in a place with one majority language. Is your native language the majority language in your community or is English the majority language? Children might not be interested in a language when they realise it's not relevant for them. Also, children and even adults will often not have equal skills in both languages, as the situations in which they use each language will often differ. (for example being skillful in religious related language in only one of their languages.)

I would advise on seeking additional advice on your child's language development and researching helpful bilingual approaches. Lastly, I found Colin Baker - A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism rather helpful. He also suggests judging whether a parent's fluency in a language is sufficient enough to be a good role model for your child. Raising a bilingual child could be a great opportunity for a parent to improve their own language skills beforehand, so they can help their child become skillful in both languages and not pass on problems.


We have brought up 3 bilingual kids in Norwegian (mothers language) and English.

We chose to do 100% Norwegian for the first years, will just some basic words in English and then "switch" to a more heavily English favoured home environment.

Our kids have been different in their language development. One was fluent in English at 4, the other was just beginning. The main thing we tried not to do was push English before they were ready. You're the best judge of that.

Once they are ready, perhaps they have a good grasp of grammar in their "first" language, a great way to make strides and bounds in English is 100% immersion - change the kids TV to English, story books in English, and have both parents talk in English 100% at home, if possible.

Getting them to speak English with other people requires more confidence. So re-assure them and practice English whenever possible with other people - family, friends, even the cashier in the store.

A great tip to get them so speak English, when you know they can but don't have the confidence, is when they want something. Imagine you're in the store, about to buy some candy - there's a good chance you can get your child to ask the cashier "can I buy this candy please" if you help them. (not suggesting you need to buy candy every day, but you get the idea...). Congratulate them when they speak well in English (positive reinforcement) and their confidence will grow.

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