Polylingual Baby.....?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by TruthSeeker, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    Huuuumm... I realize I have a challenge on my hands...
    I'm just really not sure when I should start teaching my baby how to speak Portuguese (my own language, for thsoe who don't know)....
    And I'm also not sure when I should start other languages as well...

    Does anyone know of any research about it? Anything that can recommend if you should teach more then one language at the same time and when that is appropriate..?

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  3. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    You should start with the language of the country you live in. You will automatically learn him about your own native language, you have to look at what is best for him, tradition is also very, very good and is a huge identity 'stabilizer' but first you got to put him on a sure ground (since everyone around him will speak the language of the country you are in), when he feels safe in that ground he will explore your language too. Just be sure that you once in a while speak that language (it doesn't matter when, life wouldn't be too easy if it would matter) You got to see what is natural, what is natural is that you speak once in a while your native language, but put the weight of teaching in the language of the country you are in. Your native language should be mostly self-taught (even though you can explain what a certain word means in your native language, that will come with age though, you can't explain such things for a baby)


    This might have a precautious tone, but don't be afraid of using your own language. Actually don't be afraid at all of such things, it will come naturally, you and the baby teach eachother, you will see what is best for him if you trust his signals to you.
     
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  5. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    Huuumm... yes, I suppose.

    It's not really for tradition. I hate traditions. I just want him to be able to talk with his grandparents, aunt and so on....

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    Well, you said the obvious. I'm curious to know if it could be confusing for him if I teach him my native language as well...

    Immigrating is so challenging...!!

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  7. Communist Hamster Cricetulus griseus leninus Valued Senior Member

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    How old is he? I recommend buying childrens tv programs in that language.
     
  8. Sock puppet path GRRRRRRRRRRRR Valued Senior Member

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    Actually I have done the opposite of what Cyperium recommends when we lived in the states and my son was small we spoke norwiegan to him, he understood us fine. At the time he was going part time to a daycare so when he began to speak it was mostly english. They will pick up the local language of the place where you live naturally as long they have some contact with the culture. Now that we are in norway I try my best to only speak english especially to my youngest (now 5 years old) he understands english but hasn't really started speaking it yet. My oldest who is 9 (the one I refered to above) is now fully fluent in both norweigan and english. A couple of small catches; they tend to start speaking abit later (more info to process) and it is VERY hard to stick to the language you are trying to teach them if they start speaking the other local language. As CH says childrens shows in other languages are great, we have satellite TV so we are able to switch disney channel or fox kids to english

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  9. water the sea Registered Senior Member

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    I think it would be good if you could find other families in a similar language situation.
    Ask them to share their experiences with you, how they went about teaching their child.
     
  10. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    You have it easy.

    I'm a dutch native speaker.

    My wife is a finnish native speaker.

    The official language at home is english and finnish.

    But you are supposed to speak your native language to your child, since that is the language you know best.
     
  11. comisaru Registered Senior Member

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    I've heard that it is easy for baby to listen alternative from parents each language. Mother one and father other.
     
  12. The Devil Inside Banned Banned

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    my fiancee has a cousin who is about 2 years old now.

    his mother is ukrainian, and his father is belgian. they speak dutch and russian to him, and he seems to understand and speak both languages just fine.

    kids are alot smarter than we give them credit for, imo.
     
  13. perplexity Banned Banned

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    Hello.

    My wife is from Finland and my son spent most of his childhood years there and is thus bilingual,
    a Finnish national now stranded in the UK to avoid their National Service.

    He first learned to speak in England and then in Finland he got his English mainly from his mother,
    and the Finnish from others around him, not by formal instruction,
    and he learned to write English by his own effort, from Postman Pat books.

    The key to education I think is just that,
    to allow the child to make its own way.

    Back in England again, nothing but English is spoken at home,
    and as a result my own accomplishment is a bare minimum.

    Finnish is especially difficult because of the unique vocabulary and grammar.

    Nice country though.

    --- RH.
     
  14. dsdsds Valued Senior Member

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    most kids with a "normal" or "average" brain will be able to learn 2 or 3 languages simultaneously without problem. If your kid will happen to be a litttle slow, then it's best he/she concentrates on one language (the one he'll start school with). My suggestion is start with one language. Before he's one, you'll know whether he can handle more.
     
  15. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the answers guys, that's very helpful....

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    That's an excelent idea. I will see if there is any decent children's tv program in Brasil at the moment. Usually, there isn't.

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  16. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    That has always been my opinion since I was a child...
    It's very unfortuante that so many people treat children like retarded people with no intelligence whatsoever...

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    They claim that children don't have "experience" and thus know nothing. That's just a stupid excuse adults make to control children and put them down so that they (the adults) can feel like they are better then they actually are...

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  17. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    Well, he is actually already ahead of his age. He responds way more then most babies. He's very attentive and curious. When I play classical music for him, he starts looking perplexed and then starts analizing the whole thing. It's very interesting to look at his reactions...

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    So far I have introduced him to Mozart, Bach, Rachmaninoff and, right now, Ravel. Ravel is particularly my favorite one because it's quite complex and unusual. He always seemed to like Rachmaninoff since he was still in my wife's womb. When I would play the 3rd Rach for him, he would follow the earphones. We could see this "lump" moving from one side of my wife's belly to the other...

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    Many babies don't open their eyes for a while. He opened his eyes when he was about 5 minutes old and I was the first person he saw. That was a funny look....

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    I wouldn't be surprised if he turns out to be very intelligent and capable of speaking many languages. Both sides of his family has fairly high IQs. Both his grandparents are great lawyers and one of them is also an accountant amongst other things. And we all speak many languages, specially on my side of the family...
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    This is a controversial issue. But as an amateur linguist and moderately accomplished polyglot who has watched the controversy go back and forth for several decades and observed children grow up who were raised in both environments, my opinion is that the benefits of teaching a child as many languages as possible at as early an age as possible far outweigh the risks.

    The way you think is largely shaped by the language(s) at your disposal. With the obvious exceptions of musicians, other artists, mathematicians, etc., the vast majority of our important thoughts are formed in words. Languages and cultures evolve together so the language you speak reflects the philosophy and world view of your community, and therefore you have no choice but to unconsciously think the way your ancestors thought.

    Learning a different language is like traveling to a different planet. You find ideas in your head that could not by any means have occupied that space before, because you did not have the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax to express them. Studying Chinese, a language quite distant from English with no gender, tense, or number, which expresses relationships using an unlimited number of nouns and verbs rather than a Stone Age paradigm of prepositions and conjunctions, opened my mind up to whole new ways of perceiving reality and a whole new way of dreaming.

    It also made it crystal clear to me why the Chinese have such a tremendous advantage over us in their ability to adapt to new ideas. If they can recover from the ravages of communism and overpopulation, they will once again be the Center Country and the rest of us will be the Outside Countries.

    I can only imagine what it would have been like to have been exposed to Chinese when I was a baby or even a few years older, before all the synapses in my speech center had been formed, before my brain slowed down and ceased being able to absorb new concepts so quickly.

    I was lucky enough to live in a place where Spanish was a mandatory course in the seventh grade. Even though Spanish is very closely related to English (compared to Algonquin, Japanese, Bantu, Arabic, or Samoan) the differences are still so profound that I spent most of that year running ideas through my head in one language and trying to see how they might change in the other.

    After looking hungrily into German and Portuguese (boa tarde, meu amigo), exposure to a language from the other, eastern, branch of the Indo-European family (Russian) was a shock. Even though Spanish and Portuguese are closely related, as are English and German, the difference between the Romance and Teutonic languages was overwhelming. I thought I knew all about different ways of expressing thoughts. Russian quickly disabused me of that notion.

    When I finally got to study Chinese, a non-Indo-European language, I was ready to be shown new ways of thinking that I could not have imagined, and still I was overwhelmed.

    To get back to my sad point... My dear mother was a native speaker of Bohemian, or Czech as we now try to call it with our handicapped American tongues. She could have raised me speaking both languages. But my father would have none of it. He was afraid I would grow up speaking English with a Czech accent like she did. The notion that having absolutely everyone else in my life be a native speaker of English just might balance that out didn't occur to him, or to a lot of other English-first chauvinists. I also kind of think he didn't want my mother and me to be able to carry on conversations he couldn't understand.

    Czech is closely related to and very similar to Russian, arguably even closer than Spanish and Portuguese. I could have had the experience I had in college sixteen or seventeen years earlier.

    I can't imagine how different my life would be today if I had learned more than one language from birth. Maybe I would be a professional linguist, or a translator, or an interpreter, or a foreign language teacher, or someone who bridges gaps between nations. Or maybe I would just be a far wiser person because of my ability to have so many more different kinds of ideas in my head. Or maybe I would just be happier because the world would be easier to understand.

    In any case, my life would be better.

    Do your kid a favor and let him learn every language he comes in contact with!

    Boa sorte.
     
  19. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Sometimes these things do skip a generation it seems.
     
  20. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    Great! That's what I expected.

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    I have noticed that when trying to learn new languages... specially chinese...

    The Chinese language is also very much in accordance with their philosophies...
    In fact, that's why I was interested in learning chinese in the first place. I enjoyed their philosophy (Taoism, in particular) and recognized how important it is to know the language if you want to understand the philosophy...

    That's funny, because I was considering teaching him Chinese at an early age...

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    Well, I will hire a teacher, obviously...

    I was lucky enough to have a french "uncle". It's incredible what a few spoken french words when I was a small child did to me. I actually started learning french when I was around 14 years old, and because of that early exposure, I was able to pronouce everything perfectly and learn way faster then everyone else just because of the early exposure!

    It probably is so. I spent my years of teenager learning different languages and different subjects for this very reason.

    Sure!

    Thanks

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    How many languages do you speak...?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2006
  21. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    Didn't skip on mine or my wife's....

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  22. sparkle born to be free Registered Senior Member

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    Don't bother TEACHING a baby languages! Just talk to your kid in your language.
    I have three children, who grew up with three languages (one the father's/country of stay, one the mother's, one school-language). Meanwhile my eldest kid speaks seven languages fluently, is learning a new one now, my second one speaks eight and my smallest, still in pre-teens speaks five. Languages are part of their lives. I never taught them my language, just used it to speak, read and sing to them. At first, probably for four years, they understood, but did not speak my language, but that changed very quickly when I took them to my country.
    Don't worry too much, kids are great at picking up languages.

    sparkle
     
  23. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    Do live in Switzerland, sparkle?

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