Give my child a taste for languages

Give my child a taste for languages


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Bad in foreign languages, the French? The parents seem so convinced they are willing to try anything to give the taste of languages ​​- especially English - from the cradle to their child. So how to facilitate language learning? Answers and explanations.

If our spouse or if the grandparents of the child speak in a language other than ours, which is French, is it disturbing for a small child?

  • No, not at all, it's even a chance for him. A child can identify his native language and differentiate it from the others since birth. He is quickly able to identify who is talking around him, even if he mixes vocabulary or makes surprising sentence constructions. Over the years, he will get better and better from one language to another. Everything will be put in place naturally.

And if one is French, but very good and very talented in English, is it a good idea to speak English to his child?

  • It will not make him bilingual! Experts agree on this point: it is useless to want to speak a foreign language to one's child if one does not have a strong emotional connection with oneself, if it is not part of one's personal history. "If you have a good level in another language, you can book it for play time with your child," advises Gaëlle Pério, author of the book The School and languages. This may make him want to learn it a little later.

And choosing a nanny speaking another language is a good idea?

  • "The benefit varies according to the age of the child and the time spent with this person," warns Barbara Abdelilah-Bauer, linguist and psychosociologist. "If full-time care is provided before 6 months, a child is likely to learn to speak in both languages, but then it has to be in the long-term, for example a nanny and then an English babysitter If the child first learned to speak in French and a babysitter takes care of children from the age of 3, school trips to kindergarten or primary school, bilingualism will not be put in place, says the expert, but it will be an opportunity to develop curiosity and discover that we can say things in many ways.

What to think about language workshops before entering nursery school?

  • A study by American scientist Patricia Kuhl has shown that 6-month-olds can differentiate sounds from all languages, a capacity they lose over the months. It therefore seems logical to start very early. But be careful, without pressure and with perseverance: learning a foreign language is a patient way that goes far beyond kindergarten or primary school, even with a parental respon- dence at home.

Does a child soak up the language by watching cartoons in English?

  • This can be a good thing if you start early, before the age of 5, with very simple little animation films in English. After, once the child knows how to read with a little ease, we can offer him films or cartoons subtitled. "Not sure that he likes a lot at first, warns Gaëlle Pério, but if the whole family goes there, why not."

Sophie Viguier-Vinson

What if my child becomes bilingual? Listen to Odile Amblard's interview on France Info

To read also: to give him the taste of languages ​​in primary

To know more

Two sites to discover:

  • enchantedlearning.com: we follow instructions in English to make small crafts.
  • kidilangues.fr: rhymes, games, stories for English, Chinese, Arabic .... quality content.

Two pounds :

  • School and languages, from apprenticeship to bilingualism, Gaëlle Pério (Fabert)
  • Guide for bilingual children, Barbara Adbelilah-Bauer (The Discovery)


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