Talk With Us therapists, always recommend speaking to your child in both their home language and English, this enables them to be a more proficient language users. Research published recently about bilingual vocabulary has looked at whether bilingual children’s vocabulary is affected by the amount of language input a bilingual (French- English) child has compared to the age that they are exposed to the language. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1367006917722418?journalCode=ijba
It found that children who learn a second language early (before 36 months) will initally learn faster than those who learn it later (after 36 months). However, those who learn a second language later, will eventually catch up with those who have learnt it younger. They also found that bilingual vocabulary improves and is more advanced, the more children are exposed to and hear or use another language, rather than if they are exposed to another language at an early age.
At Talk With Us, we recommend a number of ways to teach your child to speak more than one language. You can:
- Use two languages from the start. Many children grow up learning two languages at the same time.
- Use only one language at home. Your child can learn the second language when he starts school.
- Give your child many chances to hear and practice both languages during the day.
You can help your child by:
- Books. You can read to your child in both languages. You can find the books you need at bookstores, at libraries, and on the Internet.
- Music. Singing is a great way to introduce a second language to your child. And, it can be a lot of fun!
- TV and videos. Children’s programs are available in many languages. These programs teach children about numbers, letters, colours, and simple words.
If your child has trouble using both languages, talk to your child in the language you know best. You should do this even if your child uses a different language at school. A good language model gives your child the skills he needs to learn other languages. However, try not to make a sudden change in your child’s routine. This can be stressful.
Remember, children all over the world learn more than one language all the time. Learning another language will not cause or worsen speech or language problems. Bilingual children develop language skills just as other children do.
If your child starts having trouble in both languages, he may need help from a speech and language therapist so please feel free to call us so that we can help.