When a toddler's majority language is weak... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 02-01-2012, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Edited to simply ask: if a 2.5 year old's majority language is weak compared to her (very good) minority language (spoken by most of the people at home), do you just trust it will get better inevitably with the introduction of more majority language influences and time? This was really our plan all along, but since we don't have a big minority language social group (despite our best efforts), it feels a bit awkward.

 

Do you think there is a negative effect of a child not speaking the majority language well at a young age, when most of the child's outside the home contacts are majority-language only? (For example, weekly playgroup friends, people at the grocery store, etc.)

 

Thanks for any thoughts or experience on this!

 

 

 



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#2 of 6 Old 02-19-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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Yes, I would just trust that the majority language will not be a problem, and use the early years to get the child as strong in the minority language as possible. It is SO hard to encourage the minority language later on. Your child will be native in the majority language, unless she is extremely sheltered from the majority culture.

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#3 of 6 Old 02-20-2012, 05:36 AM
 
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yes, same thoughts as previous poster

the problem will be later on ( grade school age) to keep the minority language

 

+ what I liked for my children was to know of other mixed cultures families (but not always possible everywhere that we lived) so that they wouldn't feel the odd one out at school .... because even if they were the only bilingual ones in their school (no longer the case now) I thought it was important for them to know that other children they knew had parents with more than one language = not such a big deal when dealing with peers who had never met multicultural families ...

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#4 of 6 Old 02-20-2012, 09:04 AM
 
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I completely agree. I have known people who have purposely downplayed the majority language (speaking the minority language at home, having a minority language nanny, mostly socialized in the minority language), and their kids still learned (in this case) relatively fluent English by the time they went to school at age 5. It's much tougher to keep up the minority language later when the majority culture is all around & you're not always there. I say, keep it up!


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#5 of 6 Old 02-20-2012, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for reassurance, everyone!

 

I have been feeling more relaxed about this issue lately, but sometimes I doubt myself, especially when I hear her English-speaking peers sound so fluent and then my daughter says a broken two-word sentence trying to express herself. I often imagine MY peers judging me. She also often seems kind of gives up and after a few sentences in English to an English speaker just switches to Arabic. She doesn't seem too upset that the other person doesn't understand her, though. She seems to really enjoy speaking for its own sake.

 

I agree it is really helpful to have bilingual friends, even if not in our languages. We have a few friends who speak English and another language, and it has been very normalizing. Most of them have English as their strongest language, or have good English... but I guess they're all a little older.



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#6 of 6 Old 02-21-2012, 08:51 AM
 
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Are you in the US? Highly doubt it will happen from what I have seen, but the only thing I would check out is the way ESL is taught or what programs are available for LEP (low English proficiency) students if she is not nearing fluency when she goes to school (if you are doing school).  Usually they administer a test the summer before school starts (at least here) - I got my kids waived because they were fluent in English already. Most likely that will not be a problem!

 

It's great that you have bilingual friends. I found that helps, too. And as to other people being critical - show them any of the articles that have been in the press in the past few years about how beneficial bilingualism is! thumb.gif


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