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||Two Languages Simultaneously by One Parent
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,
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 Fraser Gupta
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