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When did your bilingual child start to talk?

(18 Posts)
CarrotPuff Mon 19-Jan-15 14:44:38

My 14mo DS is not really talking yet. I know it's still quite early, but everywhere I read it seems he should have said his first word(s) by now.

He does say "mama", although for some strange reason only when he strokes my hair or wants to give a cuddle. He will occasionally say this to my DP too in the same circumstances. He doesn't say "dada" yet.

He tries to repeat some sounds that we make, i.e. he will say "coo coo" when playing peekaboo, but only if we said it first.

He does understand us quite well I think, and he understands me in second language too. He babbles and points a lot.

So overall I'm not that concerned. Yet. It just seems like most babies his age are already saying some words.

I'm a bit confused by all the information out there about bilingual children - the general (mis)conception is that they generally start talking later than monolingual ones, but I've heard it's actually bollocks. Haven't quite read any research to support either view...

Any experiences?

tomandizzymum Mon 19-Jan-15 14:48:14

My first child didn't really talk until he was 2. My other three spoke much earlier, with no real difference. I think having other children around makes a difference.

toomuchtooold Mon 19-Jan-15 15:51:09

I've got bilingual twins, both were a little behind the average time for the milestones, one more than the other but at about 2 and a bit she suddenly started chatting loads (and now is slightly ahead of her sister as we've moved to the country of her second language - I think she was secretly storing up the second language!)

Now they are 2y 8m and are bang on (they had an assessment at nursery just recently). What they seemed to miss out on, as you say, was the early stage where they say one word at a time. That phase was really short for us, and started late (about 17 months?) I'm still taken aback when I hear young toddlers using words, it seems really odd to me!

elelfrance Mon 19-Jan-15 15:54:39

My DD is 15 months, and she can repeat 5 or 6 words when we say them, a mix of words from my language & words from her dads, but apart from mama or papa, she'll rarely come out and say anything on her own.
She understands what we're saying to her though, and points etc, gets annoyed when we say 'no', so i'm not worried

HazleNutt Mon 19-Jan-15 15:58:23

We speak 3 languages at home and grandparents add a 4th. At 18 months, DS is not speaking yet - understands quite a bit though. Friend's bilingual son did not start talking until he was 2, but now at 2,5 is chatting away in both languages and full sentences. They also said though that he skipped the one word at the time stage - went from saying nothing to saying loads.

weebigmamma Mon 19-Jan-15 16:11:06

Mine started not long after she was meant to (whenever that was- I can't even remember now!). She was a tiny bit behind other kids her age, but not massively so. My baby who is 9 months is now saying some sounds but again I think he's slightly behind the 'average' as well. I'm totally not worried about it. It's an amazing start for them to have 2 languages and they catch up with others in the end anyway.

HatchingDragons Tue 20-Jan-15 17:35:09

Spending a lot of time researching bilingualism at the moment ahead of launching a bilingual mandarin/english nursery school.. Seeing this post made me think of a post I read a little while back on the 'myths of bilingualism' hope it helps - keep with it, might seem trying at times but it'll be worth it in the end!

Artandco Tue 20-Jan-15 17:38:46

Both between 2 and 2 1/2. Ds2 was more like 2 1/2 to speak, but by 3 could also read and write in both languages also so never held him back

Lindor Tue 20-Jan-15 17:43:27

Ds only really started talking at 2. Up til then he had a few words, lots of gestures and some understanding of both languages. Friends children all seemed way ahead of him and I was worried. But once he got going there was no stopping him. He started uni last September!

Borttagen Tue 20-Jan-15 17:56:21

DC1 was definitely slower than average and is only chatting away now at 3.5 and has issues with cm some consonants. But we moved from country of first language to second when she was 21 months which I don't think helped.
DC2 could say his first word (thanks in the other language) clearly by his first birthday and at 18 months had loads of words and even two words together.
They're just different kids - no difference in our approach.

TheFriar Tue 20-Jan-15 17:57:08

Dc1 started to speak around that time, dc2 was a bit later but he struggled a lot with pronouncing sounds (in the majority language hmm).

Tbh I was expecting them to be talking later than 'normal' but somehow I found they were well within the 'norm' (remembering the norm isn't saying that children are talking as such at 15months old)

neversleepagain Tue 20-Jan-15 21:45:54

Odd words (in both languages) around 18 months. At 2.3 we are getting some lovely sentences in English and 2/3 word sentences in the other language.

MilchundCookies Wed 21-Jan-15 06:02:50

I thought DD was a bit behind at first.

At 21 months she had quite a few individual words in both languages, but didn't really combine them.

At her two-year check she could say enough of the words on the sheet (in both languages) to be well within normal range for a monolingual child.

Now at 2.8 years she uses full sentences in both languages, switches effortlessly between the two, understands some people can only speak one language, etc. Sometimes she uses the grammar/syntax of the other language, sometimes she only knows the word in one, but a bit of correct modelling usually sorts it out.

gutzgutz Thu 22-Jan-15 22:12:46

Boys tend to talk later than girls. Certainly my boys and friends' boys didn't say a great deal until around the 2 year mark. Mine are bilingual, friends' monolingual. Now DS1 (4) never shuts up! He largely talks in English but understands the minority language completely and does speak in it sometimes.

Nena7 Fri 23-Jan-15 13:14:46

It is a myth that bilingual children start talking later. There is no scientific evidence to support this. Your boy will start when he is ready, they all develop at different stages. In our house, one was early, one slightly late, one average. You get all sorts! Just keep up the communication, lots of books (in your native language) songs, TV/films and play and he will be fine!

KleineDracheKokosnuss Fri 23-Jan-15 14:27:19

DD was 14 months or so (first said mam at about 10 months, but I'm ignoring that as it was just noise to her and didn't have any actual meaning back then) . Another bilingual child I know didn't start until over two.

CarrotPuff Mon 26-Jan-15 14:32:02

Thank you for all your replies. As I have said, I'm not really worried, was just curious. I think he'll start soon enough, he seems to start trying to repeat some sounds/words.

DrankSangriaInThePark Mon 26-Jan-15 14:36:41

Agree with pps. Just make sure you keep talking. Don't think of it as a second language though!

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