To think that children who watch cbeebies are far too young to be 'learning' a different language?

(60 Posts)
Jane04 Mon 15-Jul-13 13:30:53

I just don't understand it, My nearly 2 YO DS isn't talking properly yet and the occasions when he does watch TV there are program's on there which teach him different languages.

I don't understand it confused

livinginwonderland Mon 15-Jul-13 13:32:39

The younger the better when it comes to foreign languages. My mum spoke both French and English to me as a baby and I learned both with no problems.

AlphaBetaOoda Mon 15-Jul-13 13:33:21

Learning a different language is fine. Lingo-bugs( or what ever its called) isn't. I can't follow it never mind a toddler.

Magic hands and something special are good though.

boomboomfirepower Mon 15-Jul-13 13:33:30

My ds is 2.11 and if I ask him what hello is in Mandarin he knows! Because of cbeebies. I don't think it's much different from him learning welsh in nursery, which he has been doing for over a year.

Groovee Mon 15-Jul-13 13:34:06

The earlier the better. I've worked with Trilingual children who have switched between the different languages of mum and dad and English with us. It's something that very few british children have the chance to ever experience.

nobeer Mon 15-Jul-13 13:36:27

At that age, it's just acquiring more vocabulary, and they're not stressing or worrying about the grammar etc. I think it's a brilliant idea and will help them in the future.

Skintorama Mon 15-Jul-13 13:36:30

As-salam alaykum.


It's all good. My lot love it.

nobeer Mon 15-Jul-13 13:38:24

I should add I've never seen the programme, but bilingual children usually "learn" both languages from birth. Just think about how you learnt your language - from listening and copying your parents, family etc.

IRCL Mon 15-Jul-13 13:40:05

The earlier the better, their brains are like sponges.

Lottapianos Mon 15-Jul-13 13:45:19

I'm a speech and language therapist and have never heard of this programme so thank you OP for the information!

Must look into it.....

WestieMamma Mon 15-Jul-13 13:53:50

'Far too young to be learning a different language'? What age are these children? My DS is 12 weeks old and is already being exposed to a different language in the hope that he'll grow up able to speak it. confused

Lottapianos Mon 15-Jul-13 13:56:05

WestieMamma, how are you introducing another language to your 12 week old? Is it your or your partner's other language?

Congratulations by the way! smile

DoctorRobert Mon 15-Jul-13 13:56:34

YABU. Language acquisition peaks before the age of 7, so it's exactly the right time to be exposing them to foreign language.

Fillyjonk75 Mon 15-Jul-13 13:57:02

It's all about familiarisation. Helps avoid xenophobic attitudes.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Mon 15-Jul-13 13:58:10

They aren't there to teach different languages (each ep has about ten words?). Its to spark an interest while they are young and show that there are different languages. I think its great! THE LINGO SHOOOOW THE LINGO SHOW!

SolomanDaisy Mon 15-Jul-13 13:59:16


It's just a bit of fun.

The Lingo show only teaches a tiny handful of words in each language anyway (1, 2, 3 plus some colours, animals and transport mainly - can you tell I've watched it a lot?)

JaquelineHyde Mon 15-Jul-13 14:00:56

Children can learn several different languages from birth if they are exposed to it regularly enough.

My husband is tri-lingual (is that the right word) just because he grew up listening to 3 different languages from birth.

tiktok Mon 15-Jul-13 14:02:22

Much of the world grows up bilingual*. Many grow up trilingual. It is normal.

* because many people have their own local language and the 'official' one, or because they live in a region where more than one language is routinely spoken. Or because they have a home language from their ethnic background and another from the host country....etc etc.

My 3 DC were bilingual from birth (Welsh and English) and by the time they started school could also count and say simple phrases is Spanish (thank you Handy Manny).

It is so much easier to pick up a language when you are a toddler than when you are an adult or older child. I can't imagine children will become fluent from watching a TV programme, but it puts the idea in their heads that there are other languages and that learning them can be fun.

DD has recently been given some books which are bilingual - French/English and Welsh/Spanish. She loves reading them and working out what the French and Spanish words mean. She is 7.

lookout Mon 15-Jul-13 14:08:10

YABU. Children of bilingual families are exposed to different languages from birth. They are never too young to learn, the earlier you get them the better they soak it up! Both our kids are bilingual because we've spoken both French and English to them from birth.

CecilyP Mon 15-Jul-13 14:09:57

In support of the OP; in Scotland we have kids TV programmes in Gaelic - Postman Pat, Fireman Sam, a version of Play School and that sort of thing. I and the other mums from our playgroup days can vouch that our kids did not pick up one single word of Gaelic from this. More worryingly, the kids would sit glued to these programmes without mentioning they didn't understand any of it.

WestieMamma Mon 15-Jul-13 14:10:40

WestieMamma, how are you introducing another language to your 12 week old? Is it your or your partner's other language?

No we're both English speakers, but we live in Sweden. My daughter is fluent in Swedish so speaks to him in Swedish, when she remembers, and sings and reads to him in Swedish. Other people he comes into contact with eg health visitor, use Swedish when talking to him rather than the English they use when talking to me.

5madthings Mon 15-Jul-13 14:11:03

Yabu its good for them. My dd is 2.5 and she just watched the link go show and a was repeating the words and I repeated them with her and then told her what they are in English. It won't make her fluent in another language but it all helps and she likes it smile

She also copies the signs on something special.

NomDeClavier Mon 15-Jul-13 14:11:55

Well it depends what you want from it. DS has been bilingual from birth, although he obviously didn't talk then, and at 2 is making headway on his third and fourth languages. He doesn't seem remotely confused and will quite happily ask for hugs in the appropriate language to the appropriate person.

I don't like programmes which try to teach a language systematically (you won't actually learn much from it and they're mostly terrible) but watching a programme in a foreign language or a programme about different languages with some examples is only beneficial INO

Jane04 Mon 15-Jul-13 14:12:26

I had never thought about it that way, of course there are families who are bilingual.

Yes okay, IABU grin

FondantNancy Mon 15-Jul-13 14:14:54

DD is two and happily moves between Spanish, French and English. It's a bit mixed up at the moment but as she grows up she'll get better. I'm pretty sure it's meant to be good for their brain development, certainly won't harm them. Learning another language should be seem as natural and normal, not something they should learn from books at GCSE level (or whatever GCSE is called these days!)

WestieMamma Mon 15-Jul-13 14:16:17

I had never thought about it that way, of course there are families who are bilingual.

Yes okay, IABU

Eh? You do realise this is AIBU don't you? You're not supposed to accept that you're being unreasonable. confused

Lottapianos Mon 15-Jul-13 14:17:37

WestieMamma, that sounds great - his first language will be English and he will develop Swedish as a second language. Being bilingual is normal, as other posters have said, and is actually a huge advantage for language learning in general.

Like Nom said, it depends what you want from a TV program. TV is never ever going to be a substitute for interaction with another person, but for fun and if the child is interested, why not?!

drivinmecrazy Mon 15-Jul-13 14:26:10

It's not the vocab they necessarily benefit from but the sounds of a second or third language. if they have some exposure to another language at such a young age they certainly do benefit in terms of accenting and rhythm of language when they come to learn more formally.

Its very sad that many parents in the UK share this negativity to languages. Wait until a child starts secondary to teach another language and it's too late. Casual immersion at a really young age is such a gift. don't expect your child to become fluent through these programmes but let them enjoy learning new sounds.

Long gone are the days that the rest of the world spoke English

megsmouse Mon 15-Jul-13 14:28:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CecilyP Mon 15-Jul-13 14:33:19

Totally agree with you, megsmouse. To learn a language, you need interaction, so to learn a second language from a parent is great. To attempt to teach it via a TV programme - not to great.

Buzzardbird Mon 15-Jul-13 14:38:34

Took dd to cuba when she was three and she was fluent enough in Spanish to order the drinks, you can't beat that kind of education! grin.
She loves languages and speaks a bit if French, Spanish, Punjabi and mandarin. Cbeebies sparked that interest and I am glad.
just need to sort out her Greek for oozo ordering and we are away!

Blu Mon 15-Jul-13 14:47:33

Even if children learn something of a language they will never use, the actual act of learning another language impoves their cognitive understanding of what language is, how it fucnctions and improves the learning of the first language.

FrenchJunebug Mon 15-Jul-13 15:07:46


my 2-year old has been learning French and English since he was born! The sooner the better.

LadyBryan Mon 15-Jul-13 15:38:19

I'm English, my H is English. We live in England. I've been speaking French to my daughter since she was born.

Never too young!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 15-Jul-13 15:45:45

Ceebeebies isn't just for 2 year olds its for pre school.
In terms of language a 3 year old could start saying basic words, which is what you would find on these programmes.
My dd was really into Dora The Explorer and although not fluent, still loves Spanish and has chosen this as her preference for language.

lookout Mon 15-Jul-13 16:03:14

What drivin said - the exposure to a range of sounds and different language rhythms is priceless at this age. In fact there is even some evidence to suggest it makes for more intelligent children :-)

ouryve Mon 15-Jul-13 16:05:11

Some 2 year olds do speak two langauges.

DS1 has always been fascinated by other languages - and even DS2, who is non-verbal at 7, understands the counting in French on his Fix The Mix toy.

nannynewo Mon 15-Jul-13 16:06:49

My children will be brought up learning both Welsh and English. It is important that they learn both languages as early as possible because their brains are like sponges. The more they learn the better IMO.

Squitten Mon 15-Jul-13 16:22:58

My kids love The Bloody Irritating Lingo Show on CBeebies. They are particularly obsessed with the Urdu ones for some reason so my pre-schooler has picked up a few words and my toddler just likes the song.

Little kids are the in the most linguistically fluid time of their life and can easily become bilingual if it's in their home so YABU

My chikdren are fluent English and Swedish speakers, and have been from a young age- first language Swedish (mine) and second language English (cos I knew I was moving in a year or so- now we live here, but are moving back to Sweden) and near fluent in Urdu (their friends and relatives). Never too early to get them used to different sounds.

Whothefuckfarted Mon 15-Jul-13 16:31:03

What IRCL said.

2beornot Mon 15-Jul-13 16:32:58

Slightly different stance tho.

How can I expose my dd to new languages when her DF and I only speak English? She can count in French but that's pretty much my limit (although I was quite good at German once upon a time).

FreshCucumber Mon 15-Jul-13 16:35:19

Well my 2 dcs have started to learn another language from birth.
And a friend of mine had her dcs starting to learn a 3rd and 4th language when they were 2~3yo.

Perfectly OK in my book. That's what children who are bilingual/trilingual do.

I wouldn't expect any child to learn a language like this but if they do learn to recognize the sounds in the language (that aren't present in english) then it will be all good for her/him. That's the time when they can learn. Anything after 3~4yo is too late, hence the fact you can have people who are fluent in another language but still have a strong accent.

Oi! I was going to come and tell you ywbu but you already admitted it. No fair!

greenhill Mon 15-Jul-13 17:02:38

Well done jane04, you were very gracious to change your mind so quickly flowers

As well as the bilingual / trilingual aspect that lots of families experience and that others have mentioned; surely children sometimes listen to voices on the street and wonder what people are saying, if it is in another language. It can be nice to have the basics explained and have your curiosity satisfied.

My DC both learnt Makaton from Something Special, even though there wasn't a 'real need' for it. They really enjoyed communicating in ways other than merely in English.

Especially when young, it is always good to open your mind, rather than close it.

TheFallenNinja Mon 15-Jul-13 17:09:41

I'm trying to learn French so we usually have a French talk radio station on most afternoons. DD is only 8 months but I think it helpful to tune into the syntax and rhythm.

Booboostoo Mon 15-Jul-13 18:05:46

The ability to hear and recognise specific sounds is set by 12 months, so the more babies hear the better. The ability to understand languages comes before speaking and can involve more than one languages. DD is just over 2yo and understands English, French and Greek. She does not speak much and her words are either made up ('meee' for cat), English, French or Greek.

ImNotBloody14 Mon 15-Jul-13 18:08:15


why are they too young? they learn English (i'm guessing if you are watching Cbeebies) from birth, why not another language?

my dcs are bilingual- ds2 has been since first started talking as he was raised around both languages.

maddening Mon 15-Jul-13 18:19:25

The more you titillate the language receptors before they are 5 the better. This is the period that these receptors develop - for example if a child is never taught language the brain starts destroying these receptors as they aren't needed so if no language learning has started by 4-5 then the ability to learn is diminished. To the same end - excercise these receptors now helps brain development as far as language is concerned - just hearing the sounds helps.

My DD really likes it - she's not a natural sponge wrt languages (or if she is she's keeping it quiet wink) but her favourites are Lieb, Wei and Blodwen!

I really enjoy the fact that she's exposed to lots of languages - there are a few bilingual children at her pre school. Most speak English very confidently, and 2nd/3rd languages only with parents or sometimes each other (mostly the shy/younger kids/siblings) - but you can see the English speaking only kids following the conversations - they understand 'my toys name is x' in a different language, and respond appropriately in English even though they couldn't repeat the same phrase themselves.

I didn't really expect that, but I think it shows how much small children are capable of understanding, and I'm really pleased with how little a barrier language issues seem to be.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 15-Jul-13 19:14:34

The younger the better when it comes to learning additional languages - there are studies that show that if a child hasn't been exposed to a certain sound by the age of six months, they may never be able to make that sound properly.

However, one of those programmes isn't going to make your child fluent! And neither is a primary school teacher with very basic language skills. I've been appalled by the standard offered in UK primaries since languages became a requirement.

Total immersion or prolonged contact with a native speaker is the best way - here in the US, people hire French or Spanish speaking nannies in a bid to ensure that their children grow up bilingual.

MiaowTheCat Mon 15-Jul-13 21:03:05

I was being taught the days of the week in Bengali by a bunch of 3 year olds a couple of years ago on supply - I was teaching them them in Spanish and they decided to reciprocate.

I have no issues with the Lingo thing on Cbeebies - I'd rather that any day than Dr Ranj's scary eyebrows singing the poo song.

And don't get me started on how craply managed and resourced languages into primary was done... I did Spanish (and Latin but that one's of limited use) at school, and did absolutely minimal (half an hour a week as we were top set so got a "taster" of it) French. Yet did our head look at which languages the staff were confident in? (I've been in schools where different staff taught different things depending on their strengths - so kids might get a year of French, of Welsh and Mandarin Chinese etc) Nope - we fell back onto the blanket UK position of "must learn French". However hard I tried to muddle through with resources with phonetic pronounciations for me scribbled on the back in pencil... it was always going to be just that - a muddle through and pretty fucking shite by my usual perfectionist standards. I could have done Spanish bloody well and engagingly though (and did on various odd 10 minutes spare here and theres).

PlainOldVanilla Mon 15-Jul-13 21:05:13

I think it's better their introduced at a young age.

Annunziata Mon 15-Jul-13 21:07:26

I would loved to have that when mine were little, they were brought up bilingual but it was harder without the internet and so many tv channels.

Lweji Mon 15-Jul-13 22:45:17

These are the best ages to learn a language.
Or at the very least to learn the sounds of different languages. It trains the ear and it makes it easier to learn them later on too.

Babies can learn 3 or more languages at one time.

sashh Tue 16-Jul-13 07:38:17

As someone else said it is normal for most of the world to speak at least two languages.

Early language learning, even just vocab is also beneficial as we lose the ability to make certain sounds as we get older and use one language.

Notice how difficult it is for a French person to say 'th'?

In Arabic there are two distinct sounds that to English (non Arabic) speakers sounds like clearing your throat, most cannot even distinguish them, those that do can't make the two sounds.

cory Tue 16-Jul-13 09:45:22

From what I remember of my own bilingual dc, they were not only able to handle their two languages from the start: they also understood about there being several languages from a very early age and could translate from one into the other or (when old enough to speak in sentences) could ask how you say something in the other language. Dd was not yet 2 when you could give her a word and ask her what that was in the other language.

Otoh I do not agree that it is irrevocably too late to learn another language after the age of 7: I have many colleagues who have mastered that feat and you couldn't tell them from native speakers.

And if you are not holding out for native speaker standards, but are happy to accept the ability to hold a conversation, read a novel and write an article in the other language, that was the kind of standard expected from us in 3 or 4 languages when I grew up, and we only started our first foreign language aged 10, our second in secondary school and our third in Sixth Form.

The nations who are best at foreign languages don't necessarily start teaching them very young: they just have very high expectations.

pianodoodle Tue 16-Jul-13 11:15:56

Not sure about DD but I've learned plenty from The Lingo Show :D

I'm also an expert in big world magic ;)

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