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Teaching your LO a second language?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Teaching your LO a second language?

    I'm curious if anyone is is currently teaching or planning to teach their LO a second (or third or fourth) language. It's just a topic I'm interested in so I thought it would be cool to hear what others are doing, from fully bilingual children to just teaching some vocabulary.

    My French is rusty these days, but I was close to fluent in college. I like to sing French songs to DD (20 months) and hope to one day teach her those songs as well as phrases and vocabulary. Hopefully schools will still be teaching French by the time she gets there!  I think my nephew's middle school cut back to only Spanish.

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    My SIL's native language is Farsi, and she spoke to him in both English and Farsi from the time he was born. And, her parents live here but mainly speak Farsi (her father doesn't speak English at all) so he heard it spoken at his grandparents' house.  He just turned 4 and is fluent in both...he can correct my brother's Farsi mistakes giggling, "No, Daddy, it's..."

  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    Since I am part Chinese but never learned it, our two year old son is taking one 2 hour immersion class a week at a Chinese school with the goal that he is familiar with the sounds and tones (and basic grammar since it is so different from English). When he is older and they have a Saturday spot open then we will increase to four hours... The goal is to bridge the gap until kindergarten when there is an after school program in Chinese. To me, this is the age to teach another language especially one as different as Chinese since they can learn just by listening and immersion (there is a Spanish program that starts too at 18 months with immersion). My mother already told me his Chinese pronunciation is better than his English for the few Chinese words he says. 

  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    I used to sing "Frere Jacques" to my children. One day my DD was walking around singing "Something in the Tina, Something in the Tina, Ding, Dong, Ding." (Sonnes les matines!).

    I'm not actively teaching them another language now - but I may in the future. I speak Italian and used to be fluent in French too. I can speak some Spanish as well.

    Unfortunately I think if they are ever going to need another language it's Chinese!

  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    Ah, we are trying to teach our kids a second language. Problem is DH speaks it, and I don't. DH thinks if he speaks only his native language to the kids they will get confused, so he doesn't. I keep telling him now is the time and they won't get confused. So it's a big struggle in our house.

    It's especially tough when the IL's are trying to talk to DS, he shuts down and refuses to try to talk with them. Our other friends in the same situation are experiencing the same thing. it's tough.

    I think it is now is contingent on me learning his native language and being the leader on it. Alas, I'm horrible at learning new languages!

  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from MissWolff. Show MissWolff's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    In my opinion if you can do this I highly advocate it. My mom and grandmom (Oma) are fluent in German and sadly I am not.  Due to the dissolution of my parent's marriage when I was little I did not spend the time with my Oma as I was supposed to. (She was to speak only German to me.)

    Why my mom didn't teach me I don't know, but I so wish she had. Such a part of my culture that I can't get back now. :(

  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoneToTheDogs39. Show GoneToTheDogs39's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?


  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    Do it!  KAM, is there any way to convince your DH through research on this?

    Misslily, that is so funny.  My DD loves that song, too.  Even though we're not fluent enough (I was also almost fluent in French but now rusty) for real daily use, I think even hearing some words and songs in other languages is good exposure.  And DD definitely notices and thinks it's interesting.

  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    Med-I've tried to show DH the research until I'm blue in the face. I get frustrated, if he's talking to the kids then I'll start to learn it too. DH gets caught up in pronouncing everything correctly, so everyone gets frustrated as DH focuses on the pronounciation instead of the flow, pronounciation will come. Now with a stubborn almost 4 yo in the mix, who knows which buttons to push...ah. Now DH is kinda kicking himself he didn't speak more to DS, so he will start with DD then fall out of it into English.

    This may be a sexist comment, but in families where only one adult speaks a different language, I feel women do a better job of passing it along to children. All of our friends, the woman has been the leader on teaching a second language. I'm tempted to get Rosetta stone to try and learn...alas, the time at night is what I lack. (DH is about to go back to school so the computer will be his in the evenings...maybe time for an iPad for us.) Anyone have luck with Rosetta Stone?


  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    At DS's preschool they do formal lessons in Spanish on a regular basis. They won't make him fluent, but we are glad that he is exposed and excited by learning how to express ideas in a second language. As a language teacher myself (Latin), I think that an openness and curiosity for learning a second language is one of the most important traits of a successful language learner.

    I have good friends who are raising their children bilingually. Generally Dad only speaks to them in his language and Mom speaks in English. They have been doing this since birth and the results are amazing. Now, it does help that Mom is also fluent in Dad's language so she understands everything and can also reinforce/correct when necessary (and vice versa with Dad).

    As for which language our kids will need to know, who really knows? I graduated HS in the late 1980's and two of my best friends were a Russian major and Japanese major. Seemed brilliant at the time. Now, neither one of them uses either language for work on a regular basis. 

    Also, just another wrinkle we have been talking about as language educators at my school is the role technology will play in the future, too. Apps already exist where we you speak into your iPhone in your native language and the listener hears it in her native language. And, let me tell you, the translation software is getting better and better. There are a whole slew of reasons to learn a second language (cultural understanding, the flexibility of mind to be able to express ideas in a different way, etc.), but straight conversation may become less important as technology advances.

  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    I'm surprised to see that I'm the only one saying no on this one.  I appreciate that it's a global world, and that some families have more pressing language needs, but I think my kids are young, and learning english, which is a big job, and that's enough for now.  I try to encourage them to learn and explore in a lot of ways, and I'm comfortable leaving this one out until they're older.  I understand that some think this is a good time to teach a new language, but I don't feel a strong inclination to do it now.


  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    Don't try to teach them a second language in the home unless there is a parent, child care provider, or close relative who speaks fluently and they can spend a fair bit of time with them.  I've watched people try to do this with tourist-level or half-remembered high school Spanish throwing in bits and pieces here and there...a big mess.  Kid doesn't learn any actual grammar in the other language, just phrases as sort of a code or slang, and they don't learn any more vocabulary than Mom can remember off the top of her head.

    I think the reason they pick up the second language better (on average) from Mom is that (more often) Mom is in the home more doing everyday things, simple concepts, just in the course of the day.  A parent who comes home from work and starts asking the kid in a second language what they did's more like it's academic than natural.

    I've had several friends who do speak fluently in two languages and have had good success with the kids learning both.  Mom one, Dad the other;  Mom and Dad home language, English at day care and preschool, both work.  Several have mentioned that their kids kind of got "stuck" toggling back and forth in language around 3 or 4...kind of didn't talk much for a few weeks, but then snapped out of it.  Not sure if that's anything people have documented at all, but I guess it can happen.

  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    Micromom, I didn't mean to suggest that everyone should necessarily go out of their way to formally teach kids another language if they don't already have access to it.  I just think it's super valuable if you have someone in the family who can speak to the kid in another language.  It's definitely a big job to learn English, but when they're really bitty, they amazingly figure out the different languages and it doesn't negatively impact their English learning.  Win win!  :)

  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    Micro - I should have added that I have no interest in teaching my kids another language right now. I majored in French and Italian at college. I also speak some German and some Spanish. To be quite honest I think it's all fairly useless for most people. That's simply my opinion - no basis in fact at all.

    My father worked for a multinational business that conducted deals all over the world. He never got much further than muddling through a menu in a few languages or reciting an address to a taxi driver. Most business was conducted in English - or a translator was provided.

    I may be sensitive to the proper acquisition of English because of my children's hearing loss - but I'd much rather they become excellent speakers of English right now. I hear (and read) such poor English on a regular basis and it drives me crazy. I'd like for them not to say "Her and I went out" or "Ask Susie or myself". It drives me absolutely insane!

    And I have heard that lots of confusion can abound - sentences coming out in two languages etc. But they all seem to work it out in the end - at least my two friends who had non-english speaking parents figured it out!

  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    Research has shown that learning a second language when young (in the course of life, not as book lessons) the kids use the same part of the brain as they use to learn the's just language acquisition;  after about nine or ten different parts of the brain kick in and it's more like learning another subject.

    Mixed language naturally occurring as the kids learn, or as slang among fluent speakers is one thing but it shouldn't be modeled.  "Suzy, it's lunch time, tienes hambre?" is a no-no.

  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?


    Remind your husband that when the two of you speak English with your son and daughter, and your son mispronounces something, you don't EVER correct him.  So a baby says 'ba ba' meaning bottle - does any adult actually say to that 13 month old "it's bottle. say bottle or no bottle for you."  Of course not.

    So your husband just needs to SPEAK IN HIS LANGUAGE and your son and daughter will understand the words, and will speak it, and, yes, they will mix English and the other language at the beginning (which will be cute, write those funny phrases down) but very soon he will ask a question in all English or all Turkish.  And the most amazing thing - both children will know that they have to speak to you in English, and to Daddy in his language - without having to be told!  Truly amazing.

    But if he doesn't do it, they won't ever learn it, which is too bad because they'll never feel comfortable with their grandparents.  But, of course, they don't see those grandparents more than once or twice a year because they live abroad.  But still, they won't ever learn it from school or "lessons" as well as they could learn it around the house.  (of course, learning a language well means you ahve to be read books in that language, and have higher level discourse than 'where are your shoes?' and clean you room, wash your hands" etc.  My father never learned much more than "kitchen Greek" so he can whine (Mama, tell him not to do that), say leave it alone, come here, go there.... and that's about it!  He was the youngest of 9 children of immigrants, and the older 4 spoke only Greek until 1st grade.... but by the time he and his older brother came around, the older siblings spoke English in the house.

  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    Micro, it's my understanding that when a child is first acquiring language it's not harder to acquire two concurrently IF at least one parent or other very close relative speaks both often enough.  To learn two "first" languages by immersion is immeasurably easier for them than learning a second language later on.  I would think it would be extremely difficult to teach a toddler/preschooler a second (or more precisely another) language if they weren't learning it from a parent who speaks it at home.

    KAM, your situation is much like my brother's I referenced above; his wife is bilingual and he isn't.  He's been trying to learn Farsi since they started dating 10 years ago, and his son is fluent while he still isn't.  it was hard on my brother to watch his two year old speak better Farsi than he did after trying for years to be able to communicate with his in-laws.  He gets by, but not as well as his four year old.

  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    And, mislilly, I'd agree that with children with any hearing loss I'd say learning English is the most critical - they may or may not ever learn a second language but honestly, I'll bet that by 7th grade they'll be able to, because they'll have figured out what works to accommodate their hearing loss - hearing aids, sitting at the front of the room, whatever. 

  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: Teaching your LO a second language?

    As someone born with a hearing loss, I do have to say I do wish I had learned one of my parent's native language as a child. The little exposure I had to German from a summer with my grandma did make it easier for me to understand German when I took intro to German in college... Oral will always be a challenge, but it is the grammar and such that even those with hearing loss can pick up as young children.

    Misslilly - have you considered ASL? That is also another regret - that oralism was so dominant in east coast that I never got a chance to learn ASL... It is a fascinating language and one where I would not have been so frustrated by as a child. Even English had its pain points for me - all around pronunciations and understanding speech. I do not blame my parents at all for their sources were all focused on oralism and they did a great job with me based on what they knew about raising a child with a hewring loss. I have a great life in the hearing world... But still, I do not see myself as a hearing person but rather someone who grew up in the hearing world and sometimes I still feel like an outsider in it. And ASL is a true language - studies show it is a complex language like any spoken language with children exposed to it learning it just like children learn spoken language.