Editor’s Note: A baby can hear even when she is in the womb. So it is said that the mother should talk to the child and listen to soothing music during pregnancy. And once the life is born, we should continue communicating with her. Trust me, they are little in size but they can still learn a lot. But in what language? How many languages should a small child be taught? Here are some thoughts from our members. Share yours with us here.
One Year Old’s Brain can Understand At Least Two Languages
Even though a six month old doesn’t have the words yet, he still is catching up a lot on language.
It is said that the first year is the best year to introduce as many languages as you can to the baby. A one month old’s brain can actually differentiate between two or more different languages. So your baby can learn and master two (or even three) different languages at the same time.
I would recommend that you do talk to him in English also, in addition to your mother tongue.
By the time I was five, I spoke three languages clearly – Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam, and I didn’t have any speech delay either. In fact, my mom say I used to be a chatterbox, just like my daughter now. And we talk to our daughter in English, Hindi and Tamil (and a little bit of German). She has toys that speak in Spanish. And no, they don’t get confused. Her brain knows what to do and how to categorize everything in its place, so to speak.
Talk to your baby a lot with inflections, make faces, sing songs and read books. Your baby will turn just fine. The more he hears different languages, the more his brain will make those tiny connections, and it will be easier for him in the future to learn new languages also.
Mastering a language is a life long journey, I don’t think anybody can master a language fully – just my thought. At least, I am not a master yet of any languages that I speak.- Riyasmommy
One Parent, One Language
A lot of research has been done on bilingual babies.
The formula often prescribed is one parent one language i.e. you speak in mother tongue, DH in English.
In my experience, we speak to K my little one in both languages and he prefers to speak first in my mother tongue, but at 20 months started learning the English equivalent too. For example, we taught him to say thaneer in Tamil first, Now he says Thaneer and water, when he needs some. He prefers Tamil over English, but is learning both languages simultaneously. – tikka
Don’t Forget Your Mother Tongue
I think it’s easier for a mom to communicate with a baby in mother’s tongue. That comes naturally.
For my boy we spoke (and speak) both in tamil and english. you know we don’t speak pure tamil either. It’s always a mix. plus my son (3.5 yrs old) went to a german day-care and hears so much german outside that now he speaks and thinks in german. But he does know the equivalent of any word in 3 languages. He’s not at all confused. simple example is he always calls us appa, amma and when he refers us to his friends he says that in German.
But it’s important that the child hears the mother tongue too and not just English. I believe mother tongue helps a lot in emotional connection. Since you live in an English-speaking environment, even if you don’t speak it at home, your baby will pick it up faster than you imagine. – Traveller
Lots of Language Choices
My pediatrician (and the many books that I have consulted) tells me that the more languages a child learns in the beginning, the more of a linguist he/she will be later on.
The child might learn to speak properly a little later than others who are exposed to only 1 language, because they are absorbing 2 languages. But the benefits are many.It is much easier for a child to learn new languages at a young age as the brain nuerons are developing and growing at a much faster pace than they will when the child is older.
My kid is 20 months old and we speak Hindi and English at home. Right now she is able to understand both languages and speaks words from both languages. Her baby sitter speaks Portuguese and we encourage her to do so in our child’s presence so that she can pick a little bit of that too. – Aarushi