Wednesday, October 17

Bilingual Babies???

I speak Ilonggo, Tagalog and English. MCJ speaks English. We live in Down Under and talk English at home, so obviously Ian will learn and speak English. But do I want him to speak or learn a second language, Tagalog maybe? Yes, but I haven't given a thought on how or when to teach him when I was pregnant nor after giving birth.

I read him stories, recite or sing nursery rhymes in English and sometimes in Tagalog inconsistently. I really didn't have a BIG goal in mind in doing those exercises but I know my/our efforts will not be futile in the future.

Teaching kids second, third or fourth language has advantages and disadvantages:

Learning other languages alters grey matter - the area of the brain that processes information - in the same way that exercise builds muscles. What's more, the younger the adults were when the learning started, the smarter they were. Those who started when aged five and under had the highest IQs. They not only learn a second language, they also obtain "softer" skills, such as better socials skills and self-confidence.

Babies who hear two languages from birth often start speaking later than monolingual bubs. But even though might experience a few month's delay, once they start, they catch up quickly. The child can also show signs of confusion by using word from one tongue while speaking in another. This usually takes a few months to overcome, and certainly doesnt put them behind in their development.

Seems the advantages out-weighed the disadvantages, but is it really worth giving a try?

I've had a big discussion with MCJ about it, and actually.. a bit of dis-agreement, as he doesn't want me to teach Baby Ian a second language. His reason? English is already as complicated as it is. We must stick to the basic first and work our way up. Okay, so it is status quo for us. There might be a school that teaches Tagalog in the future, I'll enroll Ian there surely. lol.

But I want to share these tips in going through this exercise:
1. Whatever approach you choose to adopt, they key is to be consistent.
2. The more your child is exposed to both languages. the better the results.
3. People are more effective as teachers than CDs and DVDs.
4. One language might become dominant for a while, but that will change with time.
5. When teaching at home, adopt the dame approach for all your children.



Sreisaat said...

Babies who hear two languages from birth often start speaking later than monolingual bubs.
Era, this is so true. My friend's son grew up in a multi-lingual house - English, Tagalog, Khmer - and at two, he couldn't speak yet. All we heard from him were mumbling sounds. But after he was enrolled in an English-speaking playschool, he quickly picked up and started speaking English.

P.S. Ilonggo ka man gali? It's so nice to know :)