Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Body in Jax FL, Heart in Istanbul
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There's really no reason to teach languages separately to a toddler. They are programmed to learn language and will naturally learn two, three, or even more languages simultaneously, it's all a matter of exposure. Children who learn more than one language at a time may be slower overall to verbalize than children who are monolingual, but in the long run, they will have better language skills. It's perfectly normal for them to mix up the languages as they learn the grammar and syntax rules, but they get it straightened out eventually, usually before school age.
As for what language they think in, it depends on the situation. DH is trilingual (English, Turkish, and French) with a good understanding of classical Arabic to boot and was brought up in the US by two immigrant parents. He is equally comfortable reading and thinking in Turkish and English, with French a little slower (although when he lived in Geneva and used it daily, he did better). He can do simultaneous translation in all three languages, as well. He says that when he is thinking about something that is related to Turkish, he thinks in Turkish, and when he's thinking about something related to America, he thinks in English.