Bilingual Children and Their Language Development

Published on 07/02/2011 in Kids in Spain

Schools and Education in Spain Guide

What is the difference between bilingual and monolingual children when it comes to language acquisition? Some parents think that there is a difference, but there isn't. Their development is the same as for monolingual children. Both groups of children go through the same stages of development.

These stages or milestones will depend on your child's age; but remember that all children are individuals and develop at their own pace. In the early stages of language, bilingual and monolingual children develop the same, with the differences appearing at the age of three and four. Both groups have of children have six stages of language acquisition:

When your child is 0 to 3 month they will be able to respond to your voice. Loud noises will startle them. You as the parent may be able to distinguish between different cry's that your infant has depending on the situation.

At the age of 3 to 6 months noises will catch their attention and not startle them. When they reach four months babies can babble consonant and vowel sounds together. The biggest milestones happens at six months when the words "mama" and "baba" appear.

Kids in SpainAs your infant progresses to six to 12 months of age, they will begin to respond to their name. The babbling noises that they make will begin to sound like real words. Some infants at the age of twelve months begin to say their first words.

As your infant continues to develop his language 12 to 14 month is an exciting time. This is the repeating and identifying stage. They will continuously repeat sounds heard in conversations. They can also identify their body parts; when ask where they are located.

During 24 to 36 months of age they will show the most growth in vocabulary. Their speech becomes clearer and they can use descriptive words like big and little. They will begin to use words that will give you clues to their physical needs; like hungry, thirsty or sleepy.

At three to four years this is the stage where bilingual and monolingual children show a difference in development. Research indicates that children who grow up bilingual sometimes speak later than monolingual children. This is not an indication that they are having problems, learning to talk or developing their two languages. It just takes more time to learn the linguistics of two languages. On the other hand some bilingual children learn to speak before monolingual children. Sometimes as early as two. Research has also found that bilingual children learn which language to use with different people.

As you can see your bilingual child will develop along side the monolingual child. If your child speaks one language or two, the first language will help support the second language as it's being learned. Some children learn two languages at the same time. In this case it may take longer to develop their two languages.

Written by: Sandra L. Perez

About the author:

Written by a veteran teacher of 34 years who hopes to give parents ideas on how to read to their child and play reading games. Come join me at

http://www.squidoo.com/interactive-reading-games

and look for the education fairy.




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Comments:

Orinoco said:
12 February 2011 @ 21:24

LinAlmeria,

I´m English, my wife is Spanish and we have three boys aged 7, 5 and 2. We speak in English at home and in Spanish when we´re out. Can your husband not speak Spanish with your eldest to get him up to speed and can you not practice English with them if you´re not happy with the teacher´s accent? I think expecting every school in the country to hire native Brits to teach English is a bit much, especially for the age group you are talking about where they are learning colours, numbers etc. Is every French, German or Spanish teacher in the UK a native? Hardly. What´s more many kids in the UK don´t even start with a second language until they are 11 whereas here they start at 3.
Did the pre-school that your eldest attend in the UK have a native Spanish teacher?
Kids pick up languages so easily, they absorb it rather than learn it, I really wouldn´t be too concerned about it just yet.

Good luck!



Orinoco said:
12 February 2011 @ 20:20

LinAlmeria,

I´m English, my wife is Spanish and we have three boys aged 7, 5 and 2. We speak in English at home and in Spanish when we´re out. Can your husband not speak Spanish with your eldest to get him up to speed and can you not practice English with them if you´re not happy with the teacher´s accent? I think expecting every school in the country to hire native Brits to teach English is a bit much, especially for the age group you are talking about where they are learning colours, numbers etc. Is every French, German or Spanish teacher in the UK a native? Hardly. What´s more many kids in the UK don´t even start with a second language until they are 11 whereas here they start at 3.
Did the pre-school that your eldest attend in the UK have a native Spanish teacher?
Kids pick up languages so easily, they absorb it rather than learn it, I really wouldn´t be too concerned about it just yet.

Good luck!



LinAlmeria said:
09 February 2011 @ 10:50

I am English and my husband is Spanish and we have two boys aged 4 and 5. The eldest attended pre-school in the UK for one year before we returned to Spain and he is having more problems with Spanish than his younger brother. The school have been slightly helpful but far less than they would have been in the UK I feel as here there is a year to wait before the speech therapist can start to help him. Patience is the key I think, just giving them time to get things right without constantly correcting them. An English teacher who can hardly pronounce anything correctly isn´t helping that much either. What is up with schools not using native Brits, as I have offered to do but was turned down? Now as an official teacher but as someone to practice the talking/listening part of learning. They have teachers here who spent one month in Dublin years ago and now say that they can speak English!? Tricky but i´m sure as the boys get older and learn to read and write in Spanish and English things will get easier.

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