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#1 of 19 Old 09-26-2009, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What is the general opinion on teaching a 28 month-old a second language? We only speak English in our home, so our son has not had the benefit of learning multiple languages "naturally" and simultaneously.

Neither my husband nor I speak enough college-learned French to really count as fluent--but we'd like to at least instill some of the basics in our son. However, I don't want to push too hard at anything other than what is really fun and play-like at this stage. He seems very, very keen on what little we've taught him (counting to 10), however, so I'm wondering if this might be a good time to take advantage of his wide open mind...and of course I also have visions of him picking up Spanish, too. That would be so wonderful.

Any suggestions? Are there good audio programs or DVDs that might offer decent lessons?

Debra
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#2 of 19 Old 09-26-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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I've found that when I use Google or Youtube to search, and actually search for things in my target language, that helps a lot. I'm sorry I don't have websites specific to French. My formal experience is with Spanish and Russian, and informal with Korean, Chinese, and ASL. I know that I've found a lot of material through those two web sources.

Also iTunes. Podcasts are usually free for download, and may be weekly, and there seem to be several for any major language. Also, several universities have put material out through iTunes U, including stories in a variety of languages.

I've also found some videos / DVDs / books at my local library.

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#3 of 19 Old 09-26-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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My husband and I are teaching our 25 month old spanish and have been since he was born. My husband speaks enough to teach him the basics - I, however, know very little but am trying!

We bought spanish-language books and flash cards and keep Google translator up on our computer at all times - this way if we don't know the spanish word for something we can just look it up quickly. We always (well, almost always) teach him both the english and spanish words for everything. I would say that he actually understands and speaks more spanish than english, even though english is what my husband and I speak to each other and everyone else.

I think "programs" are less important than incorporating the language into your everyday life. Maybe learn/re-learn french with LO? Or try to find a foreign language playgroup? Your local bookstore might be able to help find one.

This is the very best time to introduce a 2nd language! Good luck!

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#4 of 19 Old 09-26-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions for good programs to teach your baby another language. I speak Spanish and am teaching my children. I do know, however, that this is the ideal time to teach kids a second language. You've got the right idea. I hope you find a good program. Remember, though, that whatever your child learns now, he will forget if he does not keep using it. If you cannot speak the language in the home, make sure he continues to take lessons throughout his school years.


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#5 of 19 Old 09-26-2009, 07:09 PM
 
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I took one year of Spanish in high school. Now I am brushing up on Spanish by listening to the Pimsleur programs I check out from the library. I made copies of them so I can listen to them anytime. The kids hear me repeating the Spanish phrases. My DD just started repeating them too. If we have the money to send the kids to preschool I will look for something where they speak Spanish, possibly an in-home daycare.

I am also planning on learning ASL. So far they watch Signing Time, but I am on a (very long) waitlist at the library for Signing Made Easy DVDs to learn ASL. I think ASL is a great choice for a second language even if you don’t know any. It is easy to just sign the few words that I know here and there as I am speaking. As I learn more words and grammar, I will add it to my natural speech. The other great thing about ASL is that if you are using 2 spoken languages you can sign along with while speaking both languages to help make the connection.
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#6 of 19 Old 09-26-2009, 07:25 PM
 
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i have no practical experience for you op, as my lo is just a wee one, but i studied a lot about language aquisition and bilingual kids in college. just incorporate your target language into every day things (while you are setting the table say the object names in bith languages. for example) and dont worry too much about a specific program. eventually your lo will need formal training (for grammar and structure) if you and your dh arent fluent yourselves. A PP mentioned that your dc will need to keep it up or forget it all, which is true in that the vocab will become rusty with time, but there is research that suggests that the language-specific sounds are cemented in the brain and those won't fade.(so you better make sure your and dh's accents are great!)
kids books in the target language. movies (if you do tv.. also most dvds have french/spanish options) and then eventually you could look into an immersion school, if there are any in your area.

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#7 of 19 Old 09-26-2009, 07:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinergy View Post
Now I am brushing up on Spanish by listening to the Pimsleur programs I check out from the library.
Pimsleur is great, and if you can swing the price, Rosetta Stone is supposed to be the best. It is designed to mimic first language learning.

for some reason Pimsleur seems to be library friendly, but I've never seen RS in the library. sometimes on Craigslist, though!

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#8 of 19 Old 09-26-2009, 07:54 PM
 
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There is a thread about this same thing in the Montessori forum that might interest you. Maria Montessori identified the "sensitive period" for language as from birth - 6yo. So before 6 is by far the easiest time for a person to learn another language, complete with all the nuances of sounds and cadence. I'm a Montessori teacher of toddlers. I have an assistant in my class who speaks Spanish with the children all morning and the kids pick up the second language very naturally and easily. Ideally you have one person who only speaks a particular language with the child. Then it's not confusing to them and they can begin to learn the 2nd language the same way they learn the first - in a holistic and contextual way. But whatever you can teach you son is great. Maybe you could do a childcare trade with a parent who is fluent in another language, or hire a sitter a couple times a week to come and only speak the 2nd language with your son. The toddler age is the perfect time for this.
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#9 of 19 Old 09-26-2009, 10:20 PM
 
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I take a developmental psychology class and we were talking about this the other day. We were learning about Synaptic Pruning where the brain goes through and prunes away unused neural pathways. She said the two big, cleaning house type prunings occurred around 2 years and in the teenage years.

I specifically asked about learning a 2nd language and she said that age two is a great time to start and to keep it up from the time that you start. We were also talking about how baby signing helps to boost the potential for learning a 2nd language.

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#10 of 19 Old 09-26-2009, 10:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoetryMom View Post
I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions for good programs to teach your baby another language. I speak Spanish and am teaching my children. I do know, however, that this is the ideal time to teach kids a second language. You've got the right idea. I hope you find a good program. Remember, though, that whatever your child learns now, he will forget if he does not keep using it. If you cannot speak the language in the home, make sure he continues to take lessons throughout his school years.

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#11 of 19 Old 09-27-2009, 07:56 PM
 
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It's remarkably easy for young children to pick up languages. My dad often tells me that Louis St-Laurent (a former Canadian Prime Minister) grew up speaking French to his Quebecois father and English to his Irish mother. Aparently, when he was young he just figured that men spoke French and women spoke English.

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#12 of 19 Old 09-30-2009, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone! I've put some Pimsleur CDs on hold at our library and have ordered some French music CDs for children. Can't wait!
Debra
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#13 of 19 Old 09-30-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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My DS is 17 months and my plans to start speaking French to him from birth have fallen by the wayside. It doesn't help that I'm so rusty I'd be nearly re-learning right along with him. I have a wishlist going on Amazon because they have a LOAD of great materials for kids-not just CDs, but lots of Dr. Seuss books in French, for instance. I bought one book/CD for him a few months back:
http://www.amazon.com/Un-Deux-Trois-...4336459&sr=8-1
and we really like it. It's helped me brush up too.
I have 2 videotapes of Tintin stories in French and when DS is older I hope to get more. We don't do any TV right now but a little later on I think he'd get a lot out of something like that.

I'm going to see if my library can get Pimsleur CDs for me, too! I checked around a year ago for French CDs and they had absolutely nothing.

My dream would be to set up a weekly playgroup for families interested in the same language where we could all practice a few rhymes and things, read a book, have a little take-home sheet on a certain topic (colors or animals or body parts or something) to practice all week...it would never fly here, but it would be very fun.

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#14 of 19 Old 09-30-2009, 04:42 PM
 
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I was going to recommend kids books in another language. We were out of the country from when DS was 5mo to 14mo and he was exposed to French and the local language in Mali, Bambara. DH and I are relatively fluent in both. BUT, we have the hardest time remembering to speak it with DS.
SO, we have a small collection of books in French he likes to read. Some thematic, some vocab focused.
My understanding is this: no, he will not remember unless we keep it up, BUT, being exposed to any language at an early age makes the relearning of it, later in life, a gazillion times easier. WE had lapsed our language for like 8 years before we used it again, but its like riding a bike. Its like the spot in the brain that learns and distinguishes between languages gets activated and fostered.
We are hoping to get him into a French immersion pre-school, but until then, we aren't sweating it too much.

S, mama to boy M(6/07) and baby girl R(7/10). We do all the good natural family living stuff!
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#15 of 19 Old 09-30-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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Oh, oh, oh!!! I also totally forgot, FREE PODCASTS!!! These are the BEST. You can listen to them in lots of places, there are lots of approaches to learning on them. They have a TON of languages and programs.

S, mama to boy M(6/07) and baby girl R(7/10). We do all the good natural family living stuff!
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#16 of 19 Old 10-01-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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I have seen the Rosetta Stone program and I prefer the Pimsleur program for my needs. Rosetta Stone would require me having time to sit at the computer and click through a tutorial but with Pimsleur I can listen to it when I am doing something else, like playing with the kids. I think it is perfect for somebody that is brushing up on a language they have already studied.

The music cd's are a great idea too!
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#17 of 19 Old 10-01-2009, 10:03 AM
 
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We want our 5 year old son to learn some Hebrew, as we are going in December to visit our college-aged daughter in Israel. We bought for him Little Pim Hebrew: Eating and Drinking, which is the first volume of a three volume set. Little Pim DVDs are available in Spanish, French, Chinese, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, and English and was developed by Julia Pimsleur Levine, the daughter of Paul Pimsleur (of Pimsleur language learning fame). The DVD is pretty good, and our son is repeating the phrases. I think that we will get him the other DVDs. However, I don't expect him to be fluent even after 3 DVDs.

While you can get Little Pim from www.littlepim.com, we found them cheaper on amazon.com.
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#18 of 19 Old 10-01-2009, 06:26 PM
 
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My daughter will be 2 in Dec and has an above average vocab, I would like to start teaching her spanish but wonder how she will know the difference between teh two lnguages and not intertwine them in a sentance! Any one have experience with that?
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#19 of 19 Old 10-02-2009, 11:15 AM
 
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My daughter will be 2 in Dec and has an above average vocab, I would like to start teaching her spanish but wonder how she will know the difference between teh two lnguages and not intertwine them in a sentance! Any one have experience with that?
Normally not a problem at that age. BUT, I do hear its easier for kids if they are hearing them from someone exclusively. I.e. not mom or dad unless they are willing to speak only the second language all the time to everyone. DS hear DH and I speak 3 languages during the first year of his life. It did mess with his immediate language development in that most of what we heard were sounds and wild verbalizations, but literally, a week after hearing us speak nothing but English, his vocab took off.

S, mama to boy M(6/07) and baby girl R(7/10). We do all the good natural family living stuff!
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