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#1 of 5 Old 11-13-2008, 01:55 AM - Thread Starter
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okay so if you raise your child in US and both of you are from abroad..
do you have him to learn english or the other language first?

I am wondering of implication of teaching non english first in the
need of comunicating in english as first language..

which language such kid will think in?

we are facing dual language situation and we don't want to confuse our child. we started on english and turned that it is difficult now to start on second language but her english at 3 is brilliant, much better then any double language kids we know and we know a lot of them..

our national language is not major one so it is not that much of a disadvantage considering we dont have that much extended family to communicate with..

how important is to you second language.. the language of your country?
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#2 of 5 Old 11-13-2008, 07:40 AM
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I'm an American in Denmark and we aren't really teaching one language "first." She's getting both Danish and English all the time. DD isn't speaking yet but there's a pretty large international community here, and I don't know anyone who picked one language to teach first. Kids are amazing with languages and don't get nearly as confused as adults! Many of them are learning three languages, where one or both parents is from a non-English speaking country, so they teach their native (French, Polish, Latvian, whatever) as well as Danish and English.
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#3 of 5 Old 11-13-2008, 07:48 AM
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Well, personally I wouldn't worry about which language she learns first. I would simply speak to her in the language that feels natural to *you*. We have lived in France and in Italy but I would not dream of speaking to my DD (now 4) in anything but English, even though I do speak French and some Italian.

English is her strongest language and actually, I find that her vocab in English is slightly *better* than that of most kids her age who are native speakers BUT she does get some sentence structures wrong because she sometimes will translate from French (her other language) when she is unsure. I am assuming that with time and a little work, the sentence structure issues will work themselves out.

Also, if you are going to stay in the STates long term, your DC is going to learn English anyway, no matter what.

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#4 of 5 Old 11-13-2008, 01:08 PM
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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.
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#5 of 5 Old 11-22-2008, 11:50 PM
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I agree with everything everyone else has said. I like to remember that many people come from countries where mult-lingualism is the NORM, countries where everyone grows up speaking more than one language--sometimes several. Indeed, our brains are wired to be able to do this. I also agree that you should stick with the language that's most comfortable for YOU. Look, you live in America, your child is GOING to learn English no matter what. They will benefit greatly from the input of that other language at home with mom and dad. Let me tell you that, just as one example, my Taiwanese friend here in America spoke both Taiwanese and Chinese with her children. They both spoke both languages (especially Chinese) very, very well but their English wasn't super good. Now they are in school and their English is fantastic--a bit better than their Chinese now, actually--so DON'T worry that your children won't fit in or won't learn English well!!!

Also: I had a few American-born-Chinese friends whilst living in Taiwan who said they didn't even grow up speaking Chinese because their parents wanted them to speak English and to fit in. They really wished, as adults, that they'd been taught Chinese from an early age. We do our kids a huge favor by exposing them to multiple languages!

Just out of curiosity, where are you from and what language do you speak?

Mama to a beautiful girl since May 2007 and a beautiful boy since August 2010! :
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