Bringing baby up bilingual

Remember that Blogger on Blogger challenge of Hybrid Rasta Mama‘s? Well you saw her fab post on the premature intellectualisation of our babies – but just in case you missed my post on her blog (on the same day… get it? :) here it is: http://www.hybridrastamama.com/2012/01/speaking-portuglish-how-bilingugal.html and it is a kind of retrospective on why and how we went bilingual (which we didn’t do right from the very start) and what results we are seeing at this point (2 years in). Check it out and let me know what you think or, indeed, how your own bi-, tri- or multi-lingual experiment is going for you.

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4 thoughts on “Bringing baby up bilingual

  1. Pingback: Is your son bilingual? | EduDad

  2. My little boy is bilingual: it was like that from birth, I’ve always spoken Italian to him and his aussie dad English. I never had a single doubt about it, just trusted he would pick up both languages, allowing him the time he needed. I remember clearly that even when he was very little he could recognize the two languages: I remember him laughing hearing me speaking English and his dad speaking Italian (not our native languages). It amazed me because he was very young, I think younger than 6 months (unfortunately I haven’t written down dates :(
    Now he is two. He has 2-word sentences, but his vocabulary keeps growing every day. At the moment he’s kind of picking up the equivalent words for every object he is interested in in both languages. When he speaks, at the moment, he choses one of the two words, mixing the languages in the sentence. As for me and dad, we are trying to be very strict and never mix languages.The language we speak at home is Italian (the “weaker” one, since we live in Australia). It was English, until we lived in Italy.
    He has a kind of a made-up language, too, which fascinates me. Sometimes when talking to himself he uses completely made-up words and has pretty long sentences. it is an amazing experience watching him developing his language skills.

    • It sounds like you are doing a sterling job by your little one. Well done you!!

      Yes, Anya ‘jargons’ a lot, too – that thing where they completely make up their own language that sounds totally real, full of inflection, emotion and the occasional real word, thrown in. I think it really helps her process the ‘shape’ of the language as well as practicing much longer ‘sentences’ than she can manage with real words. I do feel they get a lot from this language-practice.

      Also, there are studies that show infants as young as 3 months old can tell the difference betweeen languages – they study it by measuring their suckling patterns, which shows how relaxed versus how attentive they are. Amazing!! It occurs to me I should have included some of this technical and research based stuff in my post… maybe I need to write another.

  3. What’s even more amazing is that grammar is hard wired–in pigdin languages it is the first generation of children that create the melding with grammar. They put words in proper order, learn the melodies of language, and pick up idioms. All of it by ear.

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