'Arabic / Kidz

Bilinguals Tend to Be More Creative Thinkers

الحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن اهتدى بهديه إلى يوم الدين أما بعد

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

I came across an interesting article on bilingualism. Here are some excerpts In Shaa Allaah.

Join the Bilingual Bandwagon – “Kids this age (2 & 3) are developing language skills rapidly, and they quickly absorb whatever they hear,” says Erika Levy, Ph.D., assistant professor of speech and language pathology at Columbia University Teachers College, in New York City. “They can learn to understand new words in two different languages at an incredibly fast rate.” And you don’t need to enroll your child in formal language classes to hear her repeat words in a new tongue. Lots of parents are also supplementing this elementary knowledge with bilingual books, toys, and CDs. 

Why are so many families jumping on the bilingual bandwagon? “In our increasingly global world, parents realize that their kids will benefit from knowing more than one language,” says Nancy Rhodes, director of foreign-language education at the Center for Applied Linguistics, in Washington, D.C. “There’s definitely been a grassroots push for more bilingual education in preschools.”

Exposing your child to a second language will help him learn about other cultures. Research has shown that bilinguals tend to be more creative thinkers than those who speak one language, and one study suggests that their brain functions may stay sharper as they age.

Here’s how to get your little linguist to begin learning. Start now. Two- and 3-year-olds are not only increasing their vocabularies, they’re starting to recognize the speech patterns they’ve been hearing since birth. The earlier you introduce a second language, the easier it will be for your child to pick up its unique sounds. The ability to hear different phonetic pronunciations is sharpest before age 3, and we lose the capacity to hear and produce certain sounds if we aren’t exposed to them early on, according to François Thibaut, director of the Language Workshop for Children, in New York City. So just hearing a few words in a second language will give your child essential tools for appreciating it now and learning to speak it later.

Create a casual learning environment. The best way for a child to learn to understand a new language is for him to hear people speaking it fluently, says Thibaut. If he’s exposed to conversations, he’ll begin to pick up the sounds and the natural accent. Choose a language that is spoken in your neighborhood, or one that is offered in classes or playgroups in your area. “If you have a bilingual babysitter, encourage her to speak her native language to your child exclusively,” says Rhodes. Two- and 3-year-olds love to mimic what they hear, and soon they’ll begin to understand the meanings of short words and phrases.

Teach a word at a time. If you don’t want to do formal lessons, you can introduce bilingual basics by pointing out to your child that objects can have two names — one in each language. As your child learns new words, tell him what they’re called in a second language too.

Have reasonable expectations. Of course, a child won’t learn to speak another language fluently from hearing words. But simply being exposed to a language will help her understand phrases when she hears them. So even though you probably won’t be having a French conversation with your child very soon, if you say “bonne nuit” every night at bedtime, she’ll figure out what you mean.

When Mom or Dad Is Bilingual – The only way a child can truly master a second language is if she is frequently around someone who speaks it fluently. Here are some things to remember in a bilingual household.

Try “one person, one language.” It’s helpful to have one adult speak only the second language to your child so she doesn’t get just pieces of it, says Dr. Erika Levy. Expect minor mix-ups. It’s natural for a child to confuse the word order or use words from both languages in the same sentence. He’ll quickly learn to separate the languages.

Don’t underestimate her progress. Even though many people think learning two languages causes speech delays, that is not the case. Your little one might say fewer English words than other kids her age, but if you add in the words she knows in her second language, her total number of words will probably be more than that of her peers.

Play and Learn  – When you shop for bilingual toys, games, and CDs, make sure the words are spoken clearly and by a native speaker with a proper accent. Your child will have a fiesta learning a new language with these.

Excerpts taken from:

Bilingual Babes: Teach Your Child A Second Language {An article from American Baby com}

By Ilisa Cohen  

Teach a word at a time. – Some children can handle several words at a time. Each child is different. Give your child what best for him/her.

Allaahu Aa’lam wa Billaahit Tawfeeq.


One thought on “Bilinguals Tend to Be More Creative Thinkers

  1. My husband is working at Jeddah and i have a six year old daughter. We are contemplating to transfer to Jeddah for good but I dont have any idea about the educational system available for my little girl. Would you please enlighten me.

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