Archive for February, 2012

February 25th, 2012

One Language or Two?

The other day a mother told me she had stopped talking to her child in her own first language because a doctor told her she shouldn’t.    Yes her child is language delayed, but exposure to two languages won’t make the child more delayed.  If the child can learn one language he can learn two languages.  It doesn’t make sense for the parents to only speak English to the child especially when English is their second language and they speak another language better.

It’s too bad that myths about learning more than one language are still out there.  Experts all agree that exposure to two languages does not cause speech and language problems and there are many benefits. There is no reason not to teach 2 languages to a child just because he has special needs. I always tell parents to talk to the child in the language they are most comfortable with.

There are different ways to introduce two languages. In some homes each parent speaks a different language.  Other times the child learns the second language when he goes to preschool.  Either method is fine.  Just remember not to switch from one language to another in the same sentence-that can be confusing.

Other languages teach us a lot about a culture.  It’s important for children to be connected to the language and culture of their family as well as the larger community.

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