NB: Each country has a different climate with regards to bilingualism and second language learning. In Canada French is highly valued and Canada has two official languages, English and French. However, research is showing that as a bottom line: humans are wired to learn more than one language.
Bilingualism: Myths and Facts
MYTH: Learning two languages is more difficult than learning one.FACT: Children are capable of learning two languages without particular cognitive difficulty. The brain does not add information, but processes it in a much more complex way and can easily handle two languages at once.
MYTH: Children who are learning two languages start talking later than those who only learn one.FACT: Children who are learning two languages should begin talking at the same time as those who are learning only one: first words between 12-14 months, combining words ('juice daddy') between 18-21 months. If your child isn't combining words at 21 months it may be prudent to refer to a speech and language assessment.
MYTH: Mixing both languages (i.e. 'franglais') is a sign that the child has not mastered either language and should be corrected as soon as possible.FACT: Mixing two languages (using English words in French sentences and vice versa) is natural and expected for bilingual speakers, child or adult. It is not considered a sign that the child is confused about their language development and should not be corrected.
MYTH: Acadian French isn't 'good' French and is harming the language development of my child.FACT: Acadian French isn't 'wrong' but is simply an older version of standard French, many words and phrases originating in the 1600's and 1800's. Even grammatical differences (like 'j'allions' and 'j'avions') are older ways of conjugating verbs. Acadian French has grammatical and vocabulary rules just like all other languages and dialects and as a result is simply different.
MYTH: Learning two language is more (or too) difficult for children with a language delay.
FACT: As the brain does not process language by adding information, learning two languages isn't too difficult than learning one. Therefore learning two languages isn't too difficult for a child with a communication delay. In fact, being bilingual can help support communication skills of children who are struggling by providing them with resources from a whole other language.
MYTH: If we remove (or concentrate on) only one language this will be better for my child's communication development.
FACT: Bilingualism neither harms nor delays a child's language development. If the child has difficulty in one language, they will struggle in the other. Removing one language will not make learning the other language easier to learn for the child. Instead...
Removing one language could:
- Limit the child to only one language for communication, whereas before the child had access to two languages.
- Reduce the child's capacity and quality of communication with their family, community and friends.
- Lead to a reduction in self-esteem and family attachment (we use communication to get to know each other, language binds us. If the family is using both languages and the child is only allowed to use one, this restricts the child and the family's ability to adequately communicate and connect).
- Impact the child's self-identity with regards to their family (who may be bilingual while they are not), their community and their culture.
- Diminish education and job opportunities (depending on geography).
- Reduce the number and quality of language and vocabulary models.
Any questions? or Comments? feel free to comment or email me :) I have plenty of resources!article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com