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When to introduce second language?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
DH is half Mexican (I'm all white...I'm like a European melting pot) The Mexican side of his family lives fairly close (couple of hours)
We want DS to learn some Spanish because it's part of his heritage...but neither of us speaks it. So, we'd have to drive to see his family and have them speak it to him in hopes that he'll pick it up. He just turned 8 months and we aren't sure when "language pickup" really starts...
post #2 of 22
I think birth to age 6 is a key window for learning languages. I would look for babysitters, etc., who speak Spanish, as well as finding Spanish songs to play to him. When he's older, you can do Spanish cartoons if you want, along with books in Spanish (kids's books are in simple Spanish and you can read it to him even if you don't understand it well). I don't know about where you live, but in my area, all day cares and preschools have some Spanish incorporated into their days.

If he doesn't have a regular speaker in his life, I would be prepared for his not growing up bilingual, but instead work toward facilitating his learning the language well when he's in middle or high school. At least, this is my hope for my son's Arabic. My husband speaks to him in Arabic regularly, but he's picked up very little of it. Hopefully the constant exposure, even if at a minimal level, will help him (particularly with pronunciation) when he's older and there are Arabic classes available.
post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Addy's Mom View Post
If he doesn't have a regular speaker in his life, I would be prepared for his not growing up bilingual, but instead work toward facilitating his learning the language well when he's in middle or high school. At least, this is my hope for my son's Arabic. My husband speaks to him in Arabic regularly, but he's picked up very little of it. Hopefully the constant exposure, even if at a minimal level, will help him (particularly with pronunciation) when he's older and there are Arabic classes available.
Yes, the most important thing is actual interaction with someone speaking the language regularly. If he'll be going to daycare, I'd definitely try and find some Spanish-speaking centre/home to take him to. He'll pick it up pretty quick.

Addy's mom - does your parnter only speak Arabic, or a mixture? They say that consistency is really important for language development (either having each parent speaking a different language, or only speaking one language at home, and another when you're out, etc...) My hubby speaks in one language to our son, and I speak English. While he only really speaks in English on his own (he's two now) he completely understands what's being said to him in both languages equally, and he'll answer in his second language if it's a direct question and he's repeating something.

Anyway, in either case, early immersion is another route - kids pick languages up really quick, and yes, the earlier, the better. Some late immersion programs only start in sixth grade, though, so beginning into the preteen years is still effective. Good luck!
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
We'll be homeschooling and I don't have anyone that can be here all the time...

I guess it's an excuse to start learning some myself, huh? I was thinking of doing Rosetta Stone myself and maybe doing it "with" him.

I like the thought of it making it easier for him to learn later on...speaking Spanish is going to be KEY when he's older, I think.
post #5 of 22
In your shoes I would either look into you and your partner learning it yourselves, or just not really sweating it until your child is an age that classes become an option. In my own observation fringe exposure (people not seen that often, media sources, etc) don't have a lot of impact.

ETA: Cross-posted with you. Even if you homeschool you can always enroll him in classes, or use audio/video based home-study programs targeted to children and make it a sort of a family project for everyone.
post #6 of 22
In my experience, from the start. We are a trilingual family. I was raised by a mum who spoke one language and my father another. I hear that slight delays are normal in situations like these but in the long run it is for the better, by that I mean the child[ren] catch up eventually and are better for it in the long run. After having more than one under their belt from an early age they are also going to have an easier time learning even more languages in the future. If someone has heard otherwise, correct me. This is what I remember learning though.

And yes! I agree! What a wonderful opportunity for the parents to learn another language! My mother eventually learned my father's mother tongue, but my father never learned my mother's.

I have only one regret- all my children speak spanish as well as their fathers, but I was always busy with other languages so I have been missing out on the most useful language for my job. But yes!!! Learn! ANd introduce early if possible. My early intro to languages was the best gift my parents gave me.
post #7 of 22
where language is concerned you'd be surprised how like sponges children are.

its important NOW so he is familiar with all the sounds. in fact a bunch of languages would be a great idea. if you are thinking of continuous exposure he needs someone who understands most of the language.

at 2 due to our neighbours my dd knew 3 more languages than the two i used at home. some of that she lost when neighbours moved away and wasnt in contact with dd anymore.

it was a pain for me because i had to learn the languages too. at least teh bare minimum so i could understand mostly of what dd was saying.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by stiss View Post

Addy's mom - does your parnter only speak Arabic, or a mixture? They say that consistency is really important for language development (either having each parent speaking a different language, or only speaking one language at home, and another when you're out, etc...)
Yes, he only speaks Arabic, but my son only has a few words that he uses on a regular basis (almost 3). I've found he LOVES songs sung in Arabic, though, and his "song" vocabulary is huge, for whatever that is worth. I'm hoping the exposure to a native speaker, even if it's only a few hours a day (when husband's home from work) will at least help him with the pronunciation later in life, since Arabic is so difficult. At least it is to me. I picked up French with almost a native accent by studying it as a child, but I can't get Arabic at all as an (old) adult.
post #9 of 22
It is great that you have extended family who can speak Spanish to your baby. In your position I'd also learn Spanish myself. Your child will pick up the language faster than you do unless you have a lot of time for study. However, you can learn the rules and grammar to help your child improve. Try a free language study service or get Pimsleur or something like it from your library.
post #10 of 22
I agree that starting early is the key also, I would get some of the Putamayo music CDs for children. I think that immersion is the key. Having someone speak it around them is very important, but you should also have the language around in other forms as well since there isn't someone who lives with you readily accessible and good luck!
post #11 of 22
I agree early exposure is key. I took a psych class in college that went over language learning and there are definite cut-offs where it gets harder to learn. One study was with babies, I forget the ages but I think it was before and after around eight months. They played the same Chinese vowel sound over and over and then switched it to a very similar Chinese vowel sound that is not in the English language. Babies under 8 mos all reacted to the change whereas with the older ones only babies with Chinese speaking parents reacted to the change, the one from English speaking families did not notice the change anymore. So early exposure helps kids to differentiate between similar sounds.

Other studies show that children who learn a second language after about age 11 (it varies slightly among individuals) will have an accent but if it was learned before that time they can speak like a native. Our affinity for languages does in fact decrease with age. My mother learned English at age 11 and she has a slight accent but my MIL learned it at 13 and she has a much thicker accent. Then there was a person I knew in college he was 10 when he came over from Russia and his brother was 14. I didn't know he wasn't born here because his English was perfect whereas his brother speaks with a heavy accent. I think it's fascinating how that all works.

I'm pregnant with my first and I'm planning on doing Rosetta Stone with her. My husband speaks Turkish and I speak Spanish but neither of us is "completely" fluent so I figured we can learn the languages better as we teach our daughter. I also have spanish and turkish children's books that we will read to her. I'm hoping that will be enough to at least preserve her capabilities of learning the languages completely as she gets older.
post #12 of 22
i started speaking polish to dd from day one and when she went to homecare she was exposed to spanish. she started speaking around 2 with mixed spanish and polish. i think exposure and repetition are key.
post #13 of 22
birth! We started with both our kids from birth.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Addy's Mom View Post
If he doesn't have a regular speaker in his life, I would be prepared for his not growing up bilingual, but instead work toward facilitating his learning the language well when he's in middle or high school. At least, this is my hope for my son's Arabic. My husband speaks to him in Arabic regularly, but he's picked up very little of it. Hopefully the constant exposure, even if at a minimal level, will help him (particularly with pronunciation) when he's older and there are Arabic classes available.
Hey Addy's Mom... at least your DH speaks to your son in Arabic. Mine is very sporadic. Two resources I've found that are good are the Arabian Sinbad DVD collection and the Little Pim series in Arabic. Sinbad (Sin-de-bad) is really well done... good animation... cute stories... very engaging. They have English subtitles which is nice for me. It's an immersion program. We got just the DVDs... and found them for a little over $100. The Treasure Chest is nice, but honestly, we mainly wanted the videos. IF you search online, you can find sample clips.

Little Pim
is also immersion, but it's more like teaching various words... apple, banana, etc. Still, it's good. The one thing to be aware of is that depending on where your DH is from, the dialect may be different. Still, it's better than nothing.

My kids like Sinbad a lot better than Little Pim, but I think that has to do with both their age... and the fact that Sinbad is a "real" cartoon. Has a plot, story line, etc. Little Pim is just vocab.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
Hey Addy's Mom... at least your DH speaks to your son in Arabic. Mine is very sporadic. Two resources I've found that are good are the Arabian Sinbad DVD collection and the Little Pim series in Arabic. Sinbad (Sin-de-bad) is really well done... good animation... cute stories... very engaging. They have English subtitles which is nice for me. It's an immersion program. We got just the DVDs... and found them for a little over $100. The Treasure Chest is nice, but honestly, we mainly wanted the videos. IF you search online, you can find sample clips.

Little Pim
is also immersion, but it's more like teaching various words... apple, banana, etc. Still, it's good. The one thing to be aware of is that depending on where your DH is from, the dialect may be different. Still, it's better than nothing.

My kids like Sinbad a lot better than Little Pim, but I think that has to do with both their age... and the fact that Sinbad is a "real" cartoon. Has a plot, story line, etc. Little Pim is just vocab.
LOL! Sin-de-bad! Yes, my husband just found these either on youtube or something like it and both he and my son are just completely mesmerized.

The Little Pim sounds really cool, too. I'm using Pimsleur now to try and learn Arabic myself. Is Little Pim classical Arabic?
Thanks!
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Addy's Mom View Post
LOL! Sin-de-bad! Yes, my husband just found these either on youtube or something like it and both he and my son are just completely mesmerized.

The Little Pim sounds really cool, too. I'm using Pimsleur now to try and learn Arabic myself. Is Little Pim classical Arabic?
Thanks!
I think Little Pim is MSA (Modern Standard Arabic), but I'm not 100% sure. There may be some Lebanese dialect in there or something, because DH laughs at some of the words as weird... and he's pretty well versed in MSA and Egyptian dialect.

I've been trying to learn Arabic for over 7 years now... sadly, I haven't gotten very far. I signed up for Arab Academy online--but I'm not in-love with it. I don't think it was worth the $100.00/month.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
I think Little Pim is MSA (Modern Standard Arabic), but I'm not 100% sure. There may be some Lebanese dialect in there or something, because DH laughs at some of the words as weird... and he's pretty well versed in MSA and Egyptian dialect.

I've been trying to learn Arabic for over 7 years now... sadly, I haven't gotten very far. I signed up for Arab Academy online--but I'm not in-love with it. I don't think it was worth the $100.00/month.
Sorry, MSA is what I meant. My husband calls it classical but I think his use of that is a little old fashioned.

Thanks for these resources, I really appreciate it!
post #18 of 22
I would say the sooner the better.
post #19 of 22
You should pick up the Rosetta Stone tapes. They're really good and you can do them within your home.. or get a tutor!

My children were fluent in Greek by the time they were both 4... now Sophia is 8 and Achilleas is 5
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
DH is half Mexican (I'm all white...I'm like a European melting pot) The Mexican side of his family lives fairly close (couple of hours)
We want DS to learn some Spanish because it's part of his heritage...but neither of us speaks it. So, we'd have to drive to see his family and have them speak it to him in hopes that he'll pick it up. He just turned 8 months and we aren't sure when "language pickup" really starts...
This sounds similar to our family. DH is half Italian but doesn't speak fluently. I've been trying to learn Italian on my own with Rosetta Stone. When reading books or labeling objects, I try to use as much Italian as I know. DS is 18 months and just yesterday he looked up at the moon and said "la luna"! Here are some of the books that we like. Perhaps they have them in Spanish:

http://www.amazon.com/Milet-Mini-Pic...4292320&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Me-Itali...4292437&sr=1-3

I also really like this website:

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/themes/spanish.shtml

Luckily for you, Spanish children's books/CDs are easier to find at the library or bookstores than Italian (at least where I live).
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