Teaching a foreign language to a preschooler - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 07-03-2011, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello to everyone,

I suppose this topic would be interesting to a lot of parents.

My DS is 25 months old, we live in France, my husband is French, I'm Russian so naturally we speak two languages to him... oops, three, as when he was born I started to speak English to him as well. Actually the first song I was singing to him in the maternity ward was Ba, ba black sheep... just because I like it.

Later I read  and I heard that there is a rule one parent-one language and I gave up when my baby was about 9 months old.

I have restarted to speak English again several months ago ( it's such a pity not to teach him what i know!) and I have a lot of fun, but again I have the doubts and i was reminded that it'sbetter to speak just my native l-ge.

Does anyone have the same experiance or has anyone started to teach their DSs or DDs a foreign l-ge?

Any advices? Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance.

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#2 of 4 Old 07-04-2011, 12:21 AM
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You might want to x-post in Multicultural families.  They might have some input there...?


I guess I would give a lot of thought to where you think you'll be living in the future.  Are you in France for as long as you can foresee?  Will you be moving to the US?  Because if it were me, I'd probably try to make sure there is exposure to that language.


Also, since Russian and French share similar sounds (I had a MUCH easier time learning Russian because the pronunciation was so much like French), I would probably introduce the English because I can't really remember the whole concept, but it had to do with early exposure to the sounds of a language making it easier to learn the language later.


I've read different theories on introducing multiple languages.  There was the one-parent-one-language rule.  Another variant was one day (or set of days) was one language and another day (or set of days) was another (if I did this, I would have some kind of visual indicator of the change).  And still another said that different rooms would be assigned a different language such that when you're in that room, you speak this language.  But I have no feedback on how effective either is.


Of course, the caveat is that I'm NOT in your situation... so take it with a grain of salt.  My 7yo had profound developmental issues and we delayed introducing foreign language.  Now, he speaks English, understands basic "commands"/phrases in French, and will start learning Greek in the fall.  He will also be kicking his French up a notch.  I speak English and French to the 2yo.  Dh speaks English (he refuses to speak Italian and swears he doesn't speak it well enough anymore).


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#3 of 4 Old 07-04-2011, 05:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I have reposted the thread in the multicultural families, you are right, it's more apropriate,and I have found some interesting informaion there as well, thanks again.

i like your idea about a visial indicator of l-ge change, i used to speak English in the morning and russian in the afternoon, so we can use something like traffic lights and change the colours when swifting to the other l-gen But i think it will always be French in the evening as my DH doesn't speak Russian and refused to speak English as he doesn't find it very good. :)


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#4 of 4 Old 07-30-2011, 12:12 AM
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Do not worry too much about the rules.  Do what works for your family.  Your son WILL learn. 


Visual indicators can be really useful, but again, don't give up because it gets to be too cumbersome.  You can do other simple things like to read a book in __ language we sit in this chair, and for ___ we sit in this chair.  You could do different colored scarves for each language.  This is what I did as a teacher.  Kids loved it and would always want my scarves.  I used the same marker color for the corresponding language, too. 


I am finding that ANY language is better than none.  With each of my children I stopped at around 2 or 3 and regret it.  My oldest DD made up her own language, and taught my 4 yo a SONG she made up in that language.  I feel like such a fool that the 4 y.o. isn't speaking in the 2nd language that I speak, yet can sing in this made-up language!  My 20 month old is still using the 2nd language, but I need to use it much more around her . . .she is picking up on everything so fast, so I am missing my chance when I do not.  By 3 they start to get mad when I speak the 2nd language, which is why I give up . . .but my 9 yo does remember a lot and is renewing her interest.  Whatever you do, do not stop!

 2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11 wave.gif



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