I think my LO is confused - trilingual toddler.(19 Posts)
Hi all. My little boy is 22 months and he doesn't speak so well yet. I understand that every child is different and they do it in their own time. However, his speech consists more of babbles than words. He is very chatty, likes singing and even counting, and all these sound more like babbling. I speak to him in Romanian, my husband speaks in Greek and he learns English at nursery (full time). Is it possible that he is confused with all these languages? For example he says "pish" for fish, which would be a combination of the Romanian and English words. Also, he often forgets how to pronounce certain words and just babbles instead. Did anyone have these kind of "issues"?
I think 22 months is too young to pronounce many words correctly. We only have 1 language and DS calls fish 'shish' as an example
I live in a country where bilingualism and even trilingualism is the norm. All of my kids are bilingual and several colleagues' kids are trilingual. Kids with more than one lanfuage definitely tend to speak later. One of mine was nearly 2.5 before speaking a recognisable word in either language and he now speaks both perfectly. I really wouldn't worry about it at 22 months - he'll soon be saying clear words. He'll probably mix up languages for a bit - mine have always picked the easier word for something when little. But they soon learn to separate them by around age 3 very easily. Just don't compare him to his monolingual peers or you'll drive yourself crazy!
Apparently it's perfectly normal for it to feel that multi lingual children are developing speech slower.
My friends children are trilingual and she looked into it as like you she was concerned. Simply children aquire sounds and words at a similar rate (give or take) and will all have roughly the same number of words at a given stage of development. So for example a monolingual child at a certain stage will have 300 words in 1 language allowing them to have a simple conversation well. A multilingual child will have 300 words but split over the number of languages and so will still be unable to form complete sentence in just 1 language.
My 2 are bilingual and for some topics they have vocabulary in only 1 language (eg contents of a school bag) and for some same vocabulary in both. Their vocabulary in either language is not as in depth as a monolingual child but non the less it is perfectly adequate (except when dd did synonyms and homonymes at school apparently giving a synonym in another langauge is not acceptable )
It will even out soon enough and the benefits of having multiple languages will be worth it but I understand it must be frustrating for a while.
Thank you for your replies. Yes, probably I do compare him to his peers at nursery and worry too much. To be honest I find it hilarious when he says "bey bey baba bey" that's for rain rain go away
Just to say keep it up. Rumanian Greek and English wow. My daughter speaks Italian and English and we have a close friend whose daughter is growing up speaking Spanish French and English ...going to be a fantastic advantage without too much work!
I had a friend at uni who was trilingual. It was amazing to hear her chatting to her siblings - they would switch language mid-sentence when they wanted to use a particular word or phrase. Fascinating to see them in action!
Our dc are trilingual and their speech only really started catching up with others after 36 months, after that it's still a slower process for a while but ime they do catch up surprisingly quick in the end.
My children and grandchildren are trilingual. In fact some of my grandchildren speak English plus one of the other languages you mention as well as a third.
It will all work out ok and all the moreso given that Romanian and Greek are Latin based languages. In fact my Romanian relatives can each speak about 4 or 5 Latin based languages fluently.
Your son is only 22 months old, so I wouldn't worry too much now. My son, who is also trilingual, only could say few words (around 20 words only) before the age of 2. (I wasn't worried though. The average age for children to start talking is 2). And then once he turned 2, he started speaking a lot! Everyday he was learning few new words and was talking, talking, talking. All my friends whose children are mono and bilingual were shocked how well he speaks!
First he learned my language, and once he mastered it, 6 months later he started speaking my husband's language. It's amazing to see him speaking 2 languages at home and he DOESN'T confuse the languages at all.
He started to go to nursery recently (he is 3 and a half now) and now he is learning English as his third language. At the moment he only knows few English words and he can't build any sentences yet. I hope he will learn soon because he is due to start reception in September.
God luck and don't worry now. Your son will speak soon!
I was raised in a trilingual set up. I started speaking at one. I was speaking g properly by two but it did cause long term problems that I have never been able to resolve. In contrast we have an English only household and both my sons only started speaking around your son's age. Only to e will tell how strong their language skills will be in the future.
My kid is 20 months and trilingual English, German French. She also pronounces things strangely and speaks mostly the language of her daycare.
Yes I’m a childminder and it’s normal for children with more than one language to take a bit longer although 22 months is still quite young even without that.
My bilingual 23 month old doesn’t say too much either. Don’t worry! A friend once said a child can learn up to 5 languages fluently growing up (1P1L, 1 family language, 1 school language and 1 environment language! — these are common examples from expats I have met)
He's too little to speak three languages properly.
DS is bilingual and only started separating his languages properly at around 30 months /almost 3 years old.
Give him time.
Bilingual child here.
Whilst I agree that bilingual children can take longer to speak, I would say that it’s worth being careful if you think there is an issue and to not been fobed off because of the bilingualism.
Dc2 was babbling quite a lot it then became sounds that werent always clear but was always put down to the fact he was bilingual.
Except That actually it was a language issue that needed a SALT support (to teach him to pronounce sounds properly in particular)
Oh and it’s not because children are bilingual”that they will automatically speak later.
Dc1 started to speak at the same age than his peers.
Dc2 started to speak at the same time than his peers too (not nuclear due to his language issues). He was also more confortable in the minority language (unlike Dc1)
It is not true that children who are raised multilingual start speaking later. Some monolingual kids start speak later, some early. Same with multilingual.
My son started speaking just before he turned 2 and when he was 25-26 months he was speaking very good. His friends of the same age (who were monolingual) didn't have as broad vocabulary as his. He was building all sentences while his little colleagues only started saying few words.
Our daughter (27 months) is bilingual Italian/English. She regularly combines the two languages into the one sentence or even the one word. For example she went through a phase of saying "pishy spada" (mix of pesce and fishy added to spada, for swordfish when she wanted to say it in Italian!). She now uses sentences of generally 3-6 words, often with both languages mixed in and interchanged. And she just spent a week speaking quite a lot of English "at" her monolingual Italian grandparents, who just had to get up to speed with what she was trying to say for the time they were with us. We speak only Italian at home now (although I spoke English 1:1 with her until she was nearly 2 but as she was at nursery full time in English we felt her Italian needed a boost). It will all come together eventually so we aren't concerned.
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