When Did Your Bilingual Child Start Talking? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 06-10-2010, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so my son is 16 mo and ix exposed to 2 languages: english and russian. english more of course, because im the only one that talks to him in russian, and once or twice a week grandma and grandpa on skype.
so far the only words he's said is mama and occasional dada, and what sounds like dai (russian for "give" (me)), and thats all.
not that im terribly concerned or anything, just out of curiousity.
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#2 of 14 Old 06-10-2010, 04:08 AM
 
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DS is bilingual and didn't really start saying much in the way or more than a word or two til he was around 20 months. he didn't start talking in sentences til around 2.5. Now he's a real chatterbox in both languages!

I know some recent research says bilingual kids are *not* slightly behind their unilingual peers. My completely anecdotal experience (based on DS and lots of my friends with bilingual kids) is that bilingual kids *do* start to talk later.

At any rate, I wouldn't worry if I were you.
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#3 of 14 Old 06-10-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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same here, kid number 3 is the only one "really" raised bilingual

barely a few words by age 2 (she could say words but was not so keen/interested)

and the real "language explosion" was more around 26-27 months old
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#4 of 14 Old 06-10-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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16 months here- DS is exposed to English and Spanish- we mostly do Spanish in the home and English outside the home, but I need to work on being more consistent. We struggle with Spanglish- I try to keep the two languages from mixing too much.

DS has a few words- Mama, Papa/Dada, NumNum (food), nana (banana).. yesterday i was changing his diaper and I said "caca" and he said "caca" that was sort of the first time he'd repeated a word to us. He will give kisses if you say "beso" but not "kiss"

his peers seem to have a few more words than he does, but I'm not concerned (yet!)

I also believe that bilingual kids speak later, despite what the most recent reseach says! (I havent actually seen this research..)

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#5 of 14 Old 06-10-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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My dd (2.5) is bilingual in Italian and English. She said her first few words fairly early (before a year) but didn't really start building her vocabulary until about 14 months. By 18 mos. she had about 100 words and would sometimes put words together to form phrases. She had a language explosion around 22-23 months and since then has been speaking in longer sentences and has developed a very large vocabulary. Right now her vocabulary is fairly evenly divided between the two languages, but her Italian grammar is better. She sometimes speaks English with Italian word order. It's very cute.

I'd say that of the other bilingual families I know, half have had experiences like mine, and the other half have had children who began speaking late.
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#6 of 14 Old 06-10-2010, 07:56 PM
 
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DD´s bilingual+ I speak mostly English with her and DH speaks Portuguese (but we mix the both and currently I´m speaking a lot of Portugese with her because we´re visiting the inlaws). I´m also fluent in German and we travel there often (maybe about 3 months per year on average) so she hears it a lot passively and we sign with her too, so she gets quite a bit of exposure.

Her very first word was at 6 months but she didn´t start speaking then. From there until 14 months she´d ocassionally say a word a handful of times and then never repeat it again. At 14 months she found a sign language book I had and started pointing out the signs and so we taught her ASL, which has gone extremely well (she has about 150 signs now at 17 months) and it´s been great to help her relate the two languages (she seems to know all the signs regardless of the language). Within the last month or so she´s started picking up talking more consistently and it´s pretty much in equal parts English/Porutugese, although, she did pick up two words in Chinese from watch Kai Lan.

We really think the signing has helped her language wise to connect the two and give her a method to talk even though her oral skills were not there yet (and her prununciation is still very rudimentary so it´s hard to make out the words if they are not in context). She´s already speaking in sentences in ASL even though she rarely does in when speaks. Dh even jokes that ASL is her true native language.
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#7 of 14 Old 06-10-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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Phrases and broken sentences around 3. Now she won't stop!

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#8 of 14 Old 06-11-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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DD1 had a slow start... I waited FOREVER to hear mama, which I thought was terribly unfair because it's the same in both languages! Before 20 months, she had less than 10 words; at 20.5 months I lost count. Since 2, she has been noticeably more verbal than other kids her age, and as others have said, now won't be quiet.

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#9 of 14 Old 06-11-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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DS hears mostly English and some French at home and mostly French with Spanish and a little bit of English at daycare. He's only 18.5 mos so I don't have much experience yet but I'd say he is behind his friends. He has a handful of words but no phrases. He only just (as in the last day or two) started to repeat words when I say them.

I'd add though that it can be really hard to tell with multi-lingual kids. DS doesn't have a lot of words but I've recently realized that he's had the ones that he has for a lot longer than I thought, it just took me a while to figure them out. Especially the Spanish ones because I don't speak it.

Interestingly, French has turned out to be the language he uses the most by far even though he hears proportionaly a lot more English. To balance it all out, his first word was Spanish.

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#10 of 14 Old 06-11-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JessieBird View Post
I'd add though that it can be really hard to tell with multi-lingual kids. DS doesn't have a lot of words but I've recently realized that he's had the ones that he has for a lot longer than I thought, it just took me a while to figure them out. Especially the Spanish ones because I don't speak it.
ITA. I think DD was trying to say words when I thought she was just babbling. Her pronunciation seems to be behind other kids her age (at least what I see from my friend´s kids who are monolingual, my bi/trilingual friends kids seem to be in the same boat as DD). It also took her long to put more than one syllabol together and she still only says bapa for backpack, for example.
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#11 of 14 Old 06-11-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by physmom View Post
ITA. I think DD was trying to say words when I thought she was just babbling.
Yes, definitely. DD will point at something and say, very seriously with speech-like prosody, "Buh-gee! Buh-gee, buh-geh! Vay! Vay! Vay-eee!" Et. It's hilarious and I wonder whether some of it isn't intended to be actual language.

DD said her first word-word at 8 months (she said a lot of mama-dada-baba before then but it wasn't clear to me that she was referring to anything in particular).

She's 12 months now and has ten or twelve words, about evenly split between the three languages she hears regularly at home.

Me, DH, DD1 (5/2009) and DD2 (10/2011).
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#12 of 14 Old 06-12-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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DS is 18 months and has only one word, "Mama" so far.
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#13 of 14 Old 06-12-2010, 09:39 PM
 
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DD is 14 months and says a few words so far. I think the only ones recognizable to other people are cracker, apple, and paka (Russian for bye). She also says ba (ball), ah duh (all done), ba back (right back), da go (there you go), puh (up), oh wah (hola), and dih (this). DH thinks DD might be saying "give" in Russian but he isn't sure.

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#14 of 14 Old 06-14-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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There is absolutely no evidence that children raised in two or more languages talk later than children raised monolingually. In fact, the curve is about the same, with some talking early, others later. The only difference is that their vocab may be divided into two languages and thus you hear fewer words in one language.

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