Language Development

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Thistle
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Language Development

Beitrag von Thistle » 04.05.2012, 20:38

Hi guys!

I'm a bit worried. Even before Soph was born, James and I decided to both speak English to/with her - James only sees Soph for a very limited amount of time every day and she's at a German Kita. German is very much her dominant language and we feared she would not be exposed to English enough to recognise it as her other mother tongue. Soph will be four years old very soon and she's a bit all over the place as far as her language development is concerned. She frequently mixes her English and German, tends to have more of an English structure to her sentences, often does not get the German articles right, etc. I am thinking I may have been a bit too laid back until now...I was approached by one of her carers at Kita today. She said that she wants to start doing special exercises with her, saying that Soph is obviously lacking in certain areas and needs help. I feel incredibly stupid, to be honest. I always assumed Soph would get her languages sorted out in her head automatically once she's a bit older. After this talk today, I fear that I may have hindered her development in some way. I would really, really like to talk to someone who's in a situation similar to ours and who can tell me a bit about how their kids fared as far as language development is concerned. I'm also considering introducing something like one hour per day where I'd speak only German to Soph. Sorry if I'm not making a lot of sense right now, I just feel terrible when I think about the fact that I might have messed up Soph more than I've done her good with my decision not to speak German to her as she is growing up. I'd also love to speak to a specialist about this issue, but I'm not quite sure how to go about that or who to contact.
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malakira
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Re: Language Development

Beitrag von malakira » 17.05.2012, 11:40

hi,
don't worry to much. my experience as foreign language teacher as well as Preschool teacher of children from different language backgrounds and observer of bi- and multi- lingual families, I can tell you that it is most likely nothing to worry about. We have taken children into coaching groups with emphasis on language skills because they were a bit behind (not just bilingual kids) just to make sure they get all they help possible not because we think they would not catch up otherwise.
but if you worry about it you should go see a specialist in your area- you do not want her to have 2 pidgin languages. she probably develops 1 slightly stronger mother tongue (100%) and a 2nd slightly weaker mother tongue (99%). but it is important that there is at least 1 strong language. that is important for her kognitive skill and development as well as for reading comprehension and learning other languages later on.
hope I could help, even though I am a bit late

Annika
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malakira
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Re: Language Development

Beitrag von malakira » 17.05.2012, 11:40

cognitive that is
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coccolone
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Re: Language Development

Beitrag von coccolone » 17.05.2012, 12:17

I'm with malakira, try not to worry too much. Soph's only four years old. I'm sure she will eventually get her languages sorted out. As for getting German articles wrong etc., that will come with time, especially if German is the dominant language. If they want to do special exercises at Kita, let them. It won't hurt. If it helps Soph improve her grammar etc., great.

But please don't let anyone tell you you need to start speaking German with your daughter. As you said, German is the dominant language and once she's at school it will become even more dominant. So you might as well continue to speak English at home.

If you do consult a specialist, do make sure they're also an expert on bilingualism/multilingualism. I've done a lot of research on bilingualism and have grown up multilingual myself (according to my mum I used to get German articles wrong before I went to school and guess what? I got my grammar right very quickly once I started school) and I also know that everyone has an opinion on the subject, even people who have absolutely no clue about bilingualism. I know it's easy to feel insecure when our children are involved but trust your instincts and your daughter. :)

PErhaps it might help if you read up on bilingualism?
"You can't start a new chapter in your life, if you keep re-reading the last one."

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coccolone
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Re: Language Development

Beitrag von coccolone » 17.05.2012, 12:37

Are you familiar with Multilingual Living? It's a very informative website with tons of resources.
"You can't start a new chapter in your life, if you keep re-reading the last one."

JaNiNis-Mom

Re: Language Development

Beitrag von JaNiNis-Mom » 17.05.2012, 16:11

I know what you mean, my 3 1/2 year old mixes German and English, but so did her 6 year old sister at this age and now she speaks both languages correct. They might not know every word in either language, but they will learn it. ....and like coccolone said, if you seek help, make sure they know what they talk about! People are so opinionated nowadays, especialy when it comes to a second language.

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tania
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Re: Language Development

Beitrag von tania » 11.07.2012, 12:56

four is really young! my 3.5 year old is currently badly messing with his three languages. i am sure, if he were going to kindergarden, one or two concerned people would try to talk me into doing something. i dont say, doing something is wrong! i just want to say: doing something with the feeling that she has a PROBLEM would be wrong. i would be happy that people in kindergarden think about her, but i would also try to make clear not to impose a problem on her.
tania mit sohn *09 und sohn *12

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Thistle
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Re: Language Development

Beitrag von Thistle » 11.07.2012, 15:36

Where on earth did my replies go? Gah! I shall report back here as soon as our rolling son allows!
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Serenajean1
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Re: Language Development

Beitrag von Serenajean1 » 13.07.2012, 09:48

I hear it balances out with age. I speak english with my son and my husband speaks german. He has books and toys in each langauge. He speaks predominatly German though of course due to his age his vocabulary is limited. His favorite word is was. :) But he understands both langauges just fine.

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Thistle
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Re: Language Development

Beitrag von Thistle » 29.08.2012, 22:00

Soph is doing really well these days, I find - I'm trying my best not to let people get to me. We're still getting the odd remark. She often forms complete (and correct) sentences in English now, her German is still a bit wonky. Now I'm agonising over the school question - do I try and look for a bilingual school for her?
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