I have been to most questions related bilingual aspects where whether and how should one introduce more than one language to child. This helps.

I am trying to find a bit broader opinion as to what is the relationship between development of the kids with their earlier exposure to multiple languages.

For specific in our case as well with my child just turned 4. We are in India. We usually speak in Gujarati at home, but since we were migrated to Hindi and English has been common with other kids, play group as well. (Much less outside people spoke to him in Gujarati). He has been a very late speaker (started almost after 2 and half years). And he is more natural with Hindi than Gujarati (our family language); though he now does speak all three languages. So does it look like a case that multiple language confusion is the real reason for late language development?

What is wanted to know is that if the situation persists, what are the likely areas of development (language, intellectual, reasoning, social or any other area) he could be lacking due to situation like this? Will he continue to lag further behind in development compared to other kids or will this not be a longer term issue?

Are there any specific advise to ensure that multiple languages doesn't limit him?

1 Answer 1


I think you don't need to be concerned about lack of development, or slow development, in any areas due to being bilingual or even trilingual.

Children are amazing at learning and discerning several languages. It is true that it is more common for multilingual children to start speaking later than monolingual children, but that is not always the case. Even when it is the case, they catch up quickly.

Intellect an reasoning: The whole concept of handling several languages opens their minds in a way that you don't get with just one language -- as if they see the world in more colors than others. because of this, I would venture that multilingual children perhaps develop their intellect a little better/faster than others. They can be more perceptive of details and nuances, and that can be of use in other disciplines such as mathematics or arts.

Social: In my experience, being able to speak several languages fluently can be perceived as "elite" by others, and that could have a negative social impact (or positive, depending on norms of the social circle!).

Language: In my experience, the exact skills that helped you tell two languages apart and use them deliberately can be used again and again, learning even more languages. This ability decreases with age, though: I learned my first four languages nearly automatically because I was young, but the languages I learned as a teenager or even adult were much more difficult to learn! So this skill is something to take advantage of while it lasts!

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