We know that babies can learn to identify colors and shapes. They can learn to count and read, but can babies learn more than one language? If you’ve ever wondered at the possibility of teaching your child multiple languages, then you will definitely appreciate this month’s series – “Raising A Bilingual Baby.”
Honestly, your child can be more than bilingual, but we’ll discuss that in another post.
For now, let’s dive a little deeper into the possibility of babies learning more than one language. That may sound foreign to a lot of people, but it is possible for your child to learn more than one language. Even if you do not speak multiple languages, your child can learn them. You may be asking yourself “How is this possible?” If you’re ready to discover how babies learn more than one language, read on. It’s quite exciting.
Introducing Your Child to Different Languages
In order to understand how your child can learn multiple languages, let’s first take a quick look at how babies learn language in general. Contrary to what some may believe, we don’t actually need to “teach” our children language. The intricacies of a language may be taught later on, but babies don’t need to be taught how to speak. This occurs naturally.
In fact, babies are learning language from the moment they are born. Their brains soak up information like a sponge. While the complexities of all they’re learning may be astounding to us, it is a natural occurrence. For a child, learning language is extremely simple. During the period of birth to one year, babies have the amazing ability of learning multiple languages with ease. If you teach your child both English and Spanish simultaneously before the age of one, they will be able to speak each language with a perfect accent. This is true for any language you teach your child during the first years of life.
When babies are exposed to multiple languages before the age of one, they are able to decipher the nuances of each language and can effortlessly master each one. Even if they do not become fluent in a specific language, they will greatly benefit from their exposure to them. Hearing a language before the age of one allows children to learn to speak that language like a native speaker without an accent.
It is important to remember that anyone can learn a new language. The key is – the younger the better. Teaching babies languages is optimal, but even young children can quickly learn a variety of languages. A child’s brain is wired to learn language, and it doesn’t matter how many you introduce them to.
Know that as the parent you have the great privilege of deciding what languages your child will learn. The time, ease, and efficiency in which your child learns language is completely dependent on you. They can learn so many languages effortlessly as babies, so why wait till high school to introduce one or two? You have the ability to give your child one of the greatest gifts. Don’t hesitate to start!
If you are not bilingual, don’t worry. It’s still possible for your child to learn multiple languages. You must simply be dedicated and purposeful in teaching him as much as you can.
Is It Possible for Me?
Sometimes we hear about the amazing abilities which babies possess, but we’re hesitant to believe that it’s possible for our children to accomplish such feats. It sounds too good to be true, right? If you doubt whether your child can learn more than one language, I have some incredible stories to share with you. Witnessing my children, and children of my friends, I was blown away by what they could do. It’s truly amazing and I hope that these stories inspire you to begin exposing your child to multiple languages as well.
3 Months to Language Fluency
I met a lady from Saudi Arabia many years ago. Her son was three and he didn’t speak or understand a word of English. Our communication was very strained because of this. Three months later I saw them again and was astonished to meet a child that was speaking perfect English. In my amazement I asked her how he learned to speak so well in such a short time. She said that he learned from playing with the local kids. I knew children could learn language quickly, but that just really blew me away.
How Spanish Helped My Son in School
I spoke as much Spanish as I could to my baby until he was two years old. I taught him all I could with the limited Spanish I knew. Although I didn’t continue I can see the benefits at work in his life. Out of all of my six children, he picks up language the easiest. We were studying Latin for school and he understood it almost effortlessly. I attribute this to the exposure he had to Spanish.
Speaking to Friends vs. Studying in School
Haven’t you heard the stories of adults studying at the university for years in an attempt to learn a new language and their children, without any classes learn two or three languages just from interacting with babysitters or maids that speak a different language. The parent, who has studied a language for years needs his child to be his translator when he wants to communicate effectively with a foreigner. Perhaps by not teaching our babies multiple languages we are getting it all wrong. What do you think?
If you’re excited to begin exploring the possibilities of teaching your child different languages, then be sure to check back for our next post on “How to Teach Children Multiple Languages.“