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Was your bilingual child a late speaker?

(12 Posts)
inVlanderen Fri 31-Jul-09 19:01:48

Are you sure? ; )

I realise now that I wasn´t really tuned in to any language other than English with DD 1. Now it seems to have sunk in with me that DD2 is trying to copy our THREE languages, and not just speak to me in English (old fool I am).

So just a thought... multilingual kids may just be very misunderstood... in retrospect DD1 may have been speaking fairly coherently a mixture of languages, when I saw her a late speaker, still babbling ...

Do you have any thoughts on this?

RuthChan Fri 31-Jul-09 19:39:18

Our household is bilingual English/Japanese. DD was pretty late to start speaking. (Though of course that may not have been connected to the extra language at all.) I did notice a significant difference between her and her monolingual peers. I found that she spent a lot of time listening and watching people's mouths without actually attempting to speak herself. When she did start to speak it was a mixture of the two languages, with each meaning appearing in one of the two, but not in both until significantly later.

RuthChan Fri 31-Jul-09 19:41:01

I speak Japanese too, so I would have noticed if she had been speaking in Japanese not English. (Which she often did in the beginning)

inVlanderen Fri 31-Jul-09 19:50:31

Hi Ruth! But don´t you think it´s difficult to know what a very young child is trying to say, regardless of the language..? When you´re out of context, child is not (helpfully ; ) pointing at an object etc.. How do I know which language my DD is trying to use?

RuthChan Fri 31-Jul-09 22:09:27

It is true that they can be immensely hard to understand. However, you will find that they soon train you up to have some idea what they're talking about. I suppose it partly depends how similar the languages are. Japanese and English are so different that I usually know which one she's groping for, though I am sometimes not sure.

noramum Tue 04-Aug-09 16:39:11

We are a German household but DD is 4 days at nursery so I would say her two languages get a 50/50 sharing.

She started speaking with 12month-isch. At the beginning we thought she was slower with speaking but we actually made a list with 15 months and she had around 30 words on it. At the beginning most words were German, apart from a very clear NO.

She moved room at the nursery and is now with kids older than her who speak more fluent. Since then the amounts of words increased ennormously and English is used more than German. There are some words which she uses only in German. Sometimes it is difficult to understand as she mixed some words. But you get used to it fast.

She started using two-word-sentences from 22 months on.

OrangeFish Tue 04-Aug-09 16:51:42

Yes, it is difficult. It's already difficult to try to decode a word in babbling, more so when you need to check more languages to understand where that babling word comes from.

I think that DS was a bit late, but it was worth it. He has three languages now, was an early reader, very confident with maths too (apparently a bonus of growing up with more than one language). And he and little girl even created their own french-english dialect as toddlers which they continued to use until a couple of years ago when the girl became fluent in English! shock

MIFLAW Thu 06-Aug-09 21:18:24

Shameless self-promotion ...

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Here it is.

MmeLindt Tue 11-Aug-09 09:09:43

Both DD and DS were late speakers and I was sometimes a bit confused as to whether they were speaking English or German.

They are now 5 and 7yo, learning French and coping with all three languages. As I don't speak very good French, there are times when I am not sure which language they are using, and have to ask.

BriocheDoree Tue 25-Aug-09 13:17:41

I've been assured by several speech therapists that being bilingual will not cause late speaking. Some kids just speak later than others, bilingual or not. (DD sees a bilingual speech therapist). However, it certainly adds to the confusion when your toddler is trying out a new word and you can't tell what language it's in!
MIFLAW, your blog looks interesting. Will check it out sometime when my 5-year-old is not trying to play (destroy) her dad's keyboard...

midnightsun Wed 26-Aug-09 11:37:54

No, my son now 3 had 100 words at 18 months. We use English at home and the local language (DH mother tongue) when out and about. He started kindergarten age 1 which is when he began exposure to our second language. He is average in 2nd language and more advanced than average for his age in English. We know lots of bilingual families here with kids the same age as my son and each and every one of them as learned at a different rate and with different presentations (English with a foreign accent despite having a British mother for example). It's exciting to see how they all end up totally bilingually fluent but take different journeys to get there. smile

cory Sat 05-Sep-09 00:07:11

neither of mine was particularly late, and dd was early in knowing which language was which: when she was only just 2 you could give her a word in one language and ask her to translate into the other, or ask her what language it was, and she would know

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