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If you and your husband speak different languages at home, there are no reasons why your child cannot become perfectly bilingual. A second language is learned in the same way as the first one.
At first, the baby, still inside its mother's belly, will begin tohear their language and become familiar with it. If the father speaks to you in a second language, the baby will also get used to hearing it. Babies get used to the words spoken by their parents and when they understand the meaning of those sounds they can express themselves what they have assimilated, and thus learn to use the language to acquire fluent communication.
It is essential in the whole process to teach children with patience and love so that the little ones grow up establishing a positive reaction to languages and enjoy both. If there is a real interest in the family for the child to be bilingual, the home is not the only place to learn a second language. Nowadays, there are other alternatives and spaces where the child can acquire the experience of speaking another language. At school, on the street or in the library you can find groups of children or families of the same nationality as you to practice the language. Listening, speaking, reading and writing a second language is part of process to be bilingual.
Helping your child to listen to or speak a second language can be started and practiced at home, through daily conversations, through movies or listening to music. However, there are ways to help you through the reading and writing process:
1. Bilingual material. Parents can get second language materials, such as books, magazines, and educational games.
2. Reading in another language. Reading in another language gives them the opportunity to engage in the practice of reading that promotes and provides the necessary support to acquire the second language. Parents have the opportunity to tell their children about the privilege and benefits of mastering two languages for their child.
3. Bilingual education. Enrolling the child in bilingual schools and colleges will provide them with more security in terms of language expression. In bilingual schools, the child will share his knowledge with other children and will feel more supported, further improving his practice in the language.
There are different ways to get a child to be bilingual. Recent research shows that developing bilingualism in young children is preferable because it is a natural way to learn two languages at the same time. In order to learn a second language successfully from early childhood, parents, community, experiences, school environment, and culture must be taken into account. The sum of all these elements can provide the necessary tools to reach bilingualism successfully.
Bilingualism guide for parents and teachers, by Colin Baker.
Colin Baker is the author of several books on bilingualism and bilingual education, and Professor of Education at the University of Wales.
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