Monday, May 23, 2011

Raising Bilingual Children

Bess has always been about 2 or 3 months ahead in everything. Everything except speach. Now I knew that this was a possibility. I have read over and over again that children that are raised in a bilingual home usually start speaking a little later, but are fully caught up by the age of 5. It makes sense, I understand it. Still, I worry about it.

At her first birthday she didn't have any words. Some random things would come out of her mouth (mum, bum (these two usually together), banana, etc). However since she realised she had a voice she has loved to 'talk'. Her first real coverstions being with a black teddy bear from her grandpa. She would babble away to her toys, her reflection and sometimes to us.

Now, just because she didn't say any words, she understands plenty, and gestures even more. You ask her where her nose is (in either language) and she will gladly point out hers, then mine, her fathers, her brothers and sometimes her talking puppy dog. Say head and it is the same thing. She also understands both languages, so we arn't really two worried about that. Still I would love for her to look at me and say Mum.

I am starting to worry less now though. I read last night that at 15 months the average child will have about 5 to 7 words. Sitting down and thinking about it, Bess has 6 words. 3 in English and 3 in Danish.

Her first word was Hej. This is the Danish equivenlt to Hi or Hello and it sounds the same in both languaes. She also says Hej Hej at the approprait time. Hej Hej is the same as bye bye, so I can actually count this as two words I guess.

She recently started saying tak, which is thank you in danish. She doesn't say it often, but if we are lucky we get a tak after giving her something.

She has started to say Far (this comes out like a short ah) which is danish for dad. Now this one was tricky to notice because she says ah to everything. However some of her ahs have changed in length and have become more directed at her dad. We can hear the difference between this ah and her other ah's.

She says all done (or something that sounds like it (and now that i think about it, it's just all done with out the d)) at the end of a meal and at the end of a book.

She says mum. Now she has been saying mum for a long time, but it has only been directed in the last month or so. She was also using it for both my and her dad, and more so her dad then me. Of course. She is daddy's little princess. Far has only come about in the last week or so, so maybe now she will actually start calling ME mum now.

So I guess Bess is no longer behind in her language skills. It is amazing how fast some things change, and how fast they learn new things!


  1. I know it's so easy to worry and no amount of stories and comparing will help, as I have been there before, but......

    My daughter was a late late talker, we actually had her see 2 speech therapists and even thought they told us she was perfectly normal, we still sought out their help and she was worked with once a week for a year and she still works with them every Summer. (She has a difficult time with L and TH)

    She is incredibly bright (Kindergarten, but taking 2nd grade classes!) and sweet and you know what?? She talks so much that sometimes we actually have to ask her where her off switch is! She recently beat out the other Kindergarten children, 1st and 2nd graders during the Science Fair oral reports to snag 1st place!

    So just take it easy, it's so easy for us moms to worry, but all will be well!! (Oh and yes, we are a bilingual hosuehold as well Spanish/English)

  2. I am so jealous of children who are raised in bilingual homes, especially now that I am trying to learn another language as an adult. I am not a parent, so my advice might not mean much, but I think it makes perfect sense that being raised in a bilingual home would result in taking longer to speak. She is learning twice as much! And it seems very comforting that she understands both languages and responds appropriately. I think you have bright one on your hands!

    I also wanted to say thank you for your comment in response to what 'well wisher' said on my blog. I wanted to respond myself, but was not quite sure what to say, and I was rather taken aback by the comment. I do hear negative stories from time to time in regards to life in Denmark, but I chose to see the good in things, and try to laugh through the bad things. Either way, all things are a learning experience, and you can take from them what you will. Your response to the comment was perfect, classy, and much appreciated. Thanks again!