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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Two Languages Simultaneously by One Parent|
|Question:||Hello, I would be very grateful for your views. My situation / background is as follows: Our boy is now 2-years old. My Swiss wife speaks to him in German (local language). I have been speaking to him in Arabic since birth. Since 2-weeks ago, however, I habe been speaking to him simultaneosly in Arabic (my native language) and English (my strongest language). By 'simultaneously', I mean I essentially repeat the same sentence twice, once in Arabic and immediately following in English. It doesn't come too unnaturally to me and I suspect I've been sucessful (repeating each sentence twice) two-thirds of the time. Would you have any opinions on this approach? Might you recommend an alternative? Thanks very much, Yours sincerely, Bashar Switzerland|
|Reply:||I agree with Madalena. This sounds very artificial to me, and not at all like normal social interaction. Young children acquire language in a social context, not by explanation or translation. If you want your son to learn English as well as Arabic (and German), then you need to find a social context where English is appropriate. For example, you would naturally use English when reading and talking about a book in English. Or when you were with other people who speak English to each other. If you are in a Swiss city, there are likely to be people around who socialise in English. Is there a playgroup he could attend where children and parents speak English? I would recommend interacting naturally with your son in Arabic, and adding some social events where English is equally natural. Anthea|
|Reply From:||Anthea Fraser Gupta click here to access email|