Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Two or More Languages in Early Childhood


I was once wondering whether I should teach Debo bilingual or just simply one language… and what I found from books and websites are convincing me that absolutely no problem !! Well, I am a Malaysian, a multiracial country with multi languages and cultural, and looking back our childhood, my mother tongue is Cantonese, but I know how to read and speak Mandarin, English and Malay when I was a child…

So, what are the most important languages in the world? Search in google, you can find lots of websites rating for it, and what I have concluded the top languages in majority as below (listed in random order):
  • English
  • Mandarin
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Russian
  • Arabic
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese
  • German
  • Hindi

We can teach our baby for up to four languages, or even more depending on the child, parents and environment. According to Glenn Doman, baby are linguistic genius as their brain are ready to absorbs as much knowledge as they get to receive. As Doman’s theory, golden age for kids to learn are from 0 to 3 years old, second period from 3 to 6 years old and after 6 years old the learning speed will gradually slowing down. This is why usually difficult for adult to learn a new foreign language than a kid. Doman’s Flash card is a very good way in teaching children words and knowledge. By flashing cards, child can memorize words in just few times of flashing.

I started using Doman’s Flash card when Debo age about 6 months, and she did able to point out the correct cards when I asked her…. been stopped for sometimes currently… yeah.. a bit lazy …Ooppps… is a bit busy in preparing others study materials. However, I do find that Debo can learn words quickly. Now she is about 22 months old and able to recognize all alphabets and read out alphabets from A to Q… while R to Z still in progress ~~  for Chinese words, recently I show her a sentence card with word “爸爸” (daddy), and surprise me that Debo called out “Ba Ba” (how she call her daddy) !!

For Debo, currently my hubby and I speak 3 languages with her: English, Mandarin and Cantonese. These three are the major language in our house, but there are still some languages can be find at our environment where Debo can learn by listening: sometimes parent-in-law speak in Hokkien, I play kids songs including: France, Germany, Japanese and of course Chinese(Mandarin) and English kids songs randomly. For others languages, I am not going to emphasize in teaching but just to create an environment for Debo to “familiar” by listening, so she will be able to master it rapidly. Maybe will teach foreign languages after Debo able to handle well basic level of English and Chinese language.

Howsoever, words of God are the most important “language” to learn for kids since they are born, thus we must not forget to include Bible study in their learning schedule… ^_^

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.(Proverbs 9:10)
敬畏耶和華是智慧的開端, 認識至聖者便是聰明 (箴言9:10)



Resources:
http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/earlychild.html
http://linguistlist.org/ask-ling/biling.cfm#twolangs
http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/reprints/weber/rep-weber.htm
http://www2.ignatius.edu/FACULTY/TURNER/languages.htm
http://www.altalang.com/beyond-words/2008/10/27/the-10-most-useful-languages-to-learn/
http://blog.dinolingo.com/2011/05/15/doman-glenn-children-are-linguistic-geniuses/
http://parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/67/what-are-some-strategies-for-raising-a-bilingual-child

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