What do you think about raising children bilingually? For example, English and Russian or Chinese and German. Of course, I don’t mean when it’s parents’ mother tongue. I know it works in this case.
In Ukraine most children are bilingual; they can speak Ukrainian and Russian, although there are some difficulties in the beginning. They don’t recognise which word is Russian and which is Ukrainian. However, in the age of 6-8 years they can communicate using both languages. But, in this case they have perfect language environment.
And what about teaching your child non-native language?
Have you had such experience?
When did you start speaking second language with a child?
What do you think about raising children bilingually?
Studies actually show that there is a critical period for language learning, there are more benefits than risks to raising children bilingually. Sorry, I don't have sources, but I have taken a Developmental psychology class. I learned that as young as 9 months, babies have the ability to identify sounds that are foreign to their native language. The older we get, the harder it is to hear these sounds.
I don't have children, but I would definately consider an immersion school. In Canada, the second language is French. We start learning a little bit of French in Grade 4, even then, I think it is too late. Of course I regret it now, but in school I gave up French after Grade 9 because it was too hard.
In my country, Persian is the formal language, while my mother tongue is Kurdish. So I started learning Persian when I started my first schoolyears. But I know some people here who start to teach their children both Persian and English as their second and third language when they are around 5 yeras old. And They seem to be successful.
I have a 4 month-old son and I plan on raising him to be bilingual in English and Spanish. I speak English as my native tongue but want him to have exposure to the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. Even at this age he can distinguish between the two languages because the intonation is different. I think there are a lot of benefits to raising a bilingual child!
My native language is English, I moved to Israel where the dominant language is Hebrew. We speak English at home, and the children (5 of them) go to school in Hebrew. They speak both languages, but some of my children prefer English, and other prefer Hebrew when speaking to each other. I also speak Hebrew fluently. Right now I'm learning French because my husband's native language is French. The children don't want to learn French though.
We're not emmersed in French, only in Quebec, there is a huge emphasis on learning the language. In Quebec, French is the main language. In the rest of the country, at least in Ontario and BC, from my experience there is little exposure to French, unless that's your background.
In grade 4, I think kids are around 9 years old. We have to take French until grade 8, and then we are allowed electives - I took Spanish in grade 9. There are immersion schools and in these schools some subjects like science and math are taught in the immersion language (ie french, cantonese or even Khalsa school where they teach Punjabi). this makes the language functional.
I was raised bilingually, since my parents did not know English, so it was easy to pick up a language. It wasn't hard to learn English at school, because my sister is a couple years older than me and we spoke to eachother in English.
Here's some more interesting information
- Bilingual infants show more cognitive flexibiilty
- The study was Werker and Ts, they found that there is a huge difference between 6 and 10month olds. By 10 months children lost the ability to hear sounds that are unfamiliar to them!
- the critical period is under 5 years