How to raise a child bilingual? This question is now being asked by many parents. Most often, because proficient in several languages is becoming more and more prestigious.
There are two ways of raising a bilingual child without learning as such, and in the family, in the process of daily communication. The first path is possible when parents are from two different cultures and speakers of two different languages. The child adopts from them both languages and both cultures as relatives.
In the second case, father and mother can agree that one of them from an early age speak with a child in a foreign language, which he speaks well, but is not a native speaker. As a result, this second foreign language also becomes a full-fledged means of communication for the child.
Honestly, I am not a supporter of the second method and would never have put such an experiment on my baby. In our case, a small billing is really a necessity.
Why? About this a little over a year ago I told in the article English from the cradle. I want to continue the discussion of the natural method of raising a bilingual child today.
What is bilingualism?
Bilingualism can be given a brief definition: it is the ability to be explained in two languages. But personally, I put something more into this concept.
For me, one hundred percent bilingual is a person who perceives both languages as his native. And of course there is also a cultural component, which also plays a significant role.
That is why I do not consider myself bilingual. Although I speak English perfectly, for me it will forever remain foreign, not equivalent to Russian. As relatives, I perceive only the Russian language, and Russian culture, and I see nothing wrong with that.
I started to study English from the second grade (and not from 2-3 years old, like many modern children), despite the fact that my mother was an English teacher by profession. She always spoke out sharply against the very early teaching of children to foreign languages. She considered the best age for beginning to be 8-9 years. And I share her opinion completely.
Nevertheless, at the age of 11-12 she could already speak freely on it, at 16 she went to the USA to complete a one-year course in a regular English-language school. Then she graduated as a translator-referent. Well, now I support and develop my skills in daily communication within the family and at work.
Therefore, my conclusion is simple: you should not torture a child by learning foreign languages too early. Rather, it is not his own need, but simply the whim of his parents and a tribute to fashion. And also a waste of time and money, since the result will be the same for everyone: who started teaching at 3, and who at 8.
But with bilinguals, the situation is exactly the opposite. In a bilingual family situation, for example, the rule is the sooner the better. It is from the first months of life that a baby should hear both mom and dad, each in his own language, and this will only benefit him in mastering two native languages at once.
Tips for parents of little bilinguals
1. Try to comply with the proportion of the volume of communication in each language 50/50.
2. Follow the rule of one parent = one language. For us, for example, it works like this: I only speak to my son in Russian, and my husband only in English. Thus, the baby gets used to communication with each of us and associates dad and mom with his / her language.
If you create confusion, then this child will only be confused and angry, or he will refuse to accept information from you and obey. Funny example in our family with the word eat.
When I call him to eat in Russian, he rushes headlong into the kitchen, twittering merrily. But if dad tells him exactly the same thing in Russian, he just stands and looks at him inquiringly.
I also see the plus of a similar method in that the son will take the correct pronunciation and the right speech from a native speaker. If the level of my English is high, then the Russian husband is still far from perfect. There is no need for the child to assimilate speech with errors.
3. Do not panic that a bilingual child speaks later than his peers. This is quite natural for bilinguals and is confirmed by many examples.
How is our
Neither before nor during pregnancy did I read absolutely any special literature on the topic of raising bilingual children. Later, with the advent of my son, I got some information from the Internet. And comparing with our approach, I realized that we are doing everything right. But not by books, but purely intuitively.
By the way, I remember the pregnancy and still am amazed that with the future baby in my stomach I spoke only in English. I myself can not understand the reason. Maybe simply because his English-speaking dad was near, and we talked about his future son with him in his own language. So I projected it on my tummy.
After the birth, of course, she began to communicate with her son only in Russian. I read books to him, sing songs, tell jokes, jokes. Listening to me, my dad is learning together with his son 🙂 So we kill two birds with one stone.
And when I’m not around, the same thing does with the baby in English dad. Only instead of the songs and jokes watching online broadcasts of American football and reading aloud the books, which provide overseas grandmother and great-grandmother.
DVDs with cartoons that my husband watched as a child, they, too, had already managed to send. But while cartoons are not very interesting to their son, they are still waiting in the wings.
To say something intelligible in his 16 months, the son has not yet begun. The words mom, dad, give, kuku, etc. I do not take into account. Although babble in his own language, which he understands in one language, he simply adores.
Especially he likes to communicate on a mobile phone with an imaginary interlocutor. While pacing around the room and copying exactly our adult intonations.
So, as in the conclusion of the last article, I want to note that we are still looking forward to the language of his first real words.
What do you think, is upbringing in a bilingual environment useful for a child? Or, on the contrary, is such upbringing an undue stress for a little person?