Kids learning two languages

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
RedCherry's picture
Joined: 03/19/09
Posts: 656
Kids learning two languages

Hi Ladies,

I know i dont post much but need some advice. I speak french, but not that great (more conversational), but living in Quebec i am picking it up...or trying to at least. Since Gemma was born here and her day care provider speaks french to her all day, it's obvious she's learning french as her first language. At home we speak english to her so she's exposed to both on a daily basis.

Here's my concern, it's not that she's not speaking she is speaking a lot, just i dont hear it. Usually when she's asking for something, she will first ask in french and if i dont get it right away she will point. I feel bad. Not like she's saying large words that im not understanding, im just not listening for "lait" im listening for "milk". I quickly picked up on the words she uses often though. DH is billingual and hears what she says in french and tells me "oh she says this now" which helps me to listen for it. She is very good that she knows what things are in english and french, just says it in french.

Are any of your kids learning two languages at the same time? Will it take her a while before she speaks more english than french? Do you communicate in one language and they reply in another?

I guess im just trying to see if anyone else is dealing with this and if it might help me understand her more.

Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244

Hey Lynsey! It is so great to see you! I wish we saw you more often! Biggrin

I don't know that I can offer much. We are not a bilingual family. We do limited sign language and English. I can only imagine your frustration with not understanding Gemma when she talks. Oh my! That would make me crazy!

Here is what I do know. Babies that learn two languages tend to appear slightly delayed with language, but it is usually because they are trying to make sense of both languages. If Gemma is hearing more French, she is probably going to say that more. English will come. She will eventually make the distinction about when to use English and French. I would make sure that you are only speaking to her in English and you are repeating what she tells you in English. So, if she says "lait", you only say "milk." This way she will learn to tell you what she wants in English instead of French. Plus, it will help her learn English easier.

RedCherry's picture
Joined: 03/19/09
Posts: 656

Thanks Mel! I do repeate things in english cause i try to get her to say it in english. She's so cute speaking another language!

It's just more of a push i think for me to learn french. DH said that her speech will be delayed, but so far it hasn't slowed her down. Just no english.

Joined: 10/31/06
Posts: 3

Hey Lynsey

I live in England and my neighbour's are Greek and German. The mom speaks Greek only to her children and the dad speaks only German. For a long while the kids were a 'little' behind on language, but not so much it was very noticeable. Once the son started nursery groups his English came on leaps and bounds ans whilst his parents still speak to him in their mother tongues, he tends to answer them most in English. (Unless he is being naughty and pretending he doesn't understand them and then speaks in whichever language they don't!)

If she understands English, continue to speak to her in English and if you don't understand her, just keep asking and eventually when she has more words, she will speak back to you in English.

It is a real gift to be able to raise your children with more than one language. She is a lucky little lady.