Back to Multilingualism

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How Do Children Become Multilingual


Within the family
 


By acquiring family language/s and the language of the society


By learning foreign languages at school

 
 - 1 -
Learning the second language within The Family

 
Into the Ocean

Input of the language of the parent which is not the language of the society is often a bit smaller.

Birthday Celebration

Children acquire each language the way they would acquire a single language.

Doing Homework

Children who grow up according to the „1 parent – 1 language scheme“ choose the language according to the parent correctly from 2 years on.

Boy Writing on a Blackboard

Children grammatically separate languages as soon as they construct longer „items“ (from 2 years, 6 months).

HELP!

  • The languages do not develop at the same pace; if the child forgets a word in one language, it uses the word of the other language. That is fantastic!!

  • Mixing is, statistically speaking, relatively rare:

    • ​5 years : 6,4 % (Taeschner 1983)

    • 2,1- 2,3: 20% (Gawlitzek-Maiwald & Tracy 1996)

  • Parents mix the languages, too!

My child is mixing languages!

 
 - 2 -
Learning the second language outside of the family

 
Scrabble Letters

The timeframe of acquiring a second language after a first language differs from acquiring a first language or two first languages. There is no “babble stage“, no “one word” stage, the “two word” stage is very short.

Girl Playing with Tablet

There are certain phases observable in second language acquisition: Easier, more regular phenomena are mostly learned earlier than more complicated, irregular ones.

School Children

In second language acquisition, there is no “safe space” to learn the language like in a foreign language classroom. Yet children acquire the second language quite quickly. Children who do not speak the language of the society will mostly get special language courses at school.

Best Friends

Sociolinguistic factors, for example motivation, play a major role.

Further Development
 


The Tip Of The Iceberg
 

The skills that we recognize when someone talks are only a tiny part of the proficiency they have in the respective language, comparable to the tips of the iceberg

Know more about this here:


A Hurdler Is Not A Sprinter
 

Comparing a monolingual person to a bi- or multilingual one is a bit like comparing a sprinter to a hurdler.

Learn more about the difference by clicking GO


The Threshold Hypothesis
 

Developing your child's literacy in your home language is very important, and it can become beneficial to the child's overall success in schools

More about his here:


Benefits Of Multilingualism
 

Some benefits of multilingualism are obvious while others hide deep inside us

Check a few examples here:

 
 - 3 -
Learning foreign languages at school

 
Foreign language refers to a language that is not widely used by the people of that country, and that is taught at schools in that country. The most learned foreign language is, not surprising, English, followed by Spanish, Chinese, Italian, and French.

English

Spanish

Chinese

Italian

French