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Subject: How to correct a toddler when using one language while in another language environment (without causing frustration)
Question: Dear linguists,

I speak English to my daughter, my husband German. We live
in Italy. Since she turned 1, she has started going to nursery
for 2.5 hours per day, where they speak Italian to her.

She is now 23 months old. Up to now she's spoken English
(single words and 2-word sentences max.) at home and
never any Italian; a few Italian words, but never any English
at nursery school. During the summer the nursery got some
substitute staff that spoke English to her. Now that the school
year has restarted plus the fact that she is gathering
vocabulary at an increasing pace, she has started speaking
English at nursery.

My question is: how is the teacher to ''correct'' her when she
starts naming things in English rather than Italian? I have a
feeling that if my daughter says ''cloud'' and the teacher says
''nuvola'', she will get the idea that she doesn't know the word
she thought she had mastered. This might be frustrating. I
thought saying ''Yes, your mummy calls this 'cloud' but I call it
'nuvola''' might be the way to go, but I wanted tried-and-
tested advice before I guide the nursery on this matter. Can
you suggest anything?

Thank you,

Ximena Ramirez

Reply: She's not even 2 yet. What matters at this age is that she enjoys nursery and gets pleasure from being in the company of other children.

She'll pick up plenty of Italian when she wants to play with other children, something that will be starting to happen very soon. Correction is not appropriate at all for children of this age.

Just relax. Are the staff kind, loving, and fun? Do they let the children have freedom and enjoy themselves in safety? That's what matters.

Anthea

Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
 
Date: 08-Sep-2012
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: How to correct a toddler when using one language while in another language environment (without causing frustration)    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (07-Sep-2012)
  2. Re: How to correct a toddler when using one language while in another language environment (without causing frustration)    Susan Fischer     (06-Sep-2012)

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