Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Raising multilingual children

Questioner: Tanu Jain

Subject: Raising Multilingual child

Question: My daughter is 15 months. We speak two languages with her Hindi and English. She has only 'mama' and 'papa' in her vocabulary. How can we encourage her to speak more words from both languages? Also do you know of some good authors who have written about multilingual children.

Thanks

Answer: Dear Tanu Jain:

This question is difficult. There is evidence that children should not be taught two languages until they are at least 4 or 5 years of age. There is also evidence which suggests children should speak their native tongue in their home to prevent substance abuse experimentation. So my response is the research is confusing. I would suggest contacting your local university and doing a complete literature review search probably through the early education programs literature search engines.
As for authors, I have not had run across any books written about second languages and children, just research on teaching children sign language. I suggest doing a google search.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller