Thanks so much to everyone for your nice comments!
I am happy to report that my son is doing very well! He is happy and seems to have taken up when he left off...I do wonder whether he shouldn’t be speaking a little more at this stage, but he certainly seems to be making progress in terms of understanding. And of course the main thing is that he seems happy and healthy ! I am enjoying having the extra (ml) time with him, although my work is of course suffering!
Tomorrow, my daughter has a test at one of the bilingual schools we applied for. I don’t think they will test her language skills per se, more her general skills. I don’t feel as though the stakes are too high at this point, as I would be very happy for her to stay where she is for another year. But of course it’s a test, and we always want our kids to do well in tests!
Best of luck to your daughter on her test, Nellie! I'm glad your son is back to normal and enjoying some extra -ml- time with you, even if that means putting work aside for a while. I hope the pile of things to do isn't too high.
My daughter had fun this afternoon, which is probably the main thing. As I suspected, they didn't test her ml language skills, but rather had her do a range of exercises to look at her overall skills. I think she probably did quite well on them, but she may have points taken off because, from what I understand, she didn't interact much with the other kids. Knowing her, this was probably because the overall environment didn't foster it (she's not a particularly shy child around other children). But I have heard that they are looking for children who actively go towards others, which she wouldn't be likely to do in a classroom environment (the park would be another matter!). Anyway, we will see.
After writing yesterday I googled (nearly always a bad idea!) and came across articles saying that a child my son's age (16 months) should be able to speak xxx number of words. I also found a list from when my daughter was 10 days older than my son now, and she had about 20 clear words (10 in French and 10 in English - at the time I wasn't even thinking to listen for Spanish words!). My son has one really consistent word - "au revoir" - and two or three others in ml2 (agua, mas, hola...but even these he doesn't use consistently). Nothing in ml1 as far as I can tell. I'm trying to work out whether to be worried! The thing is that he clearly understands, and he does babble as though he is speaking (with varying tones etc), but the sounds don't seem to be making 'words' that I can distinguish. He gives no indication of having any kind of general communication problem - he looks clearly in our eyes, smiles, points, copies our gestures, eats with a spoon, drinks out of a cup, holds his arms up, waves, responds consistently with a grunt (for 'yes') when we ask him questions, shakes his head to say no...it's almost as though it's pronunciation that he is having trouble with. I'm not sure whether it's relevant, but he isn't walking yet but is nearly there (also not something I'm worried about as his sister walked only at 16 months, and after spending a total of two weeks in hospital I figured he might need extra time for his muscles to get on track). He is not nearly as interested in sitting and reading books as his sister, which probably helped her to acquire vocabulary, but he is certainly surrounded by language all day. Maybe he needs some time without his sister nearby, as she is very verbal and tends to grab everyone's attention. She will go to her grandparents' for the first week of the holidays, so perhaps this will help.
I guess you'll have to wait and see what happens with that bilingual school. I'm still surprised by schools testing children at such a young age and for such a short time. Can those tests actually tell them something?
I'm wouldn't about words, but I do know it's okay for children not to walk until they're 18 months. That's still considered within the normal range, so nothing to worry about there.
Regarding talking, all those things we read are for monolinguals. When looking for the same for bilinguals, they all seemed to be very similar, but both my children said their first word at 15 months. When I talk to other bilingual families, most of their children were also late talkers according to these charts on when they should do stuff. While my daughter may have been a late talker regardless, I keep hearing my son speak a lot and very well. My personal feeling about all this is that bilinguals start speaking later (or maybe parents raising bilingual don't consider certain utterances to be words, while others do). Also, every child is different. Some talk a lot and very early while others take their time and are less talkative.
I'm going to check if I have how many words my kids said at that age and get back to you, Nellie , but I'm guessing not many, considering they said their first word at 15 months.
I'm back. I don't have it for my daughter. The earliest I have is at 19 months.
I do have it for my son, because I recorded it here, and this is what I wrote:
I was concerned this past Friday because my son wasn't saying many words, even though he's already 16 months old, but I've been counting this weekend, and we're on the right track. He says (both ML and ml words): mamá/momma, papá/dadda, his sister's name, bye-bye (bah-bah), here (e-uh), and today he said "star" (tuh) for the first time.
Raquel - that is reassuring, thank you! On Friday my son has a doctor appointment and I asked - the doctor said she wasn’t worried at all as he is clearly communicating in other ways. I think he is trying to say words and just not articulating them enough for me to hear. I also agree with you, Raquel, that maybe bilingual parents don’t hear as many words as monolinguals - I know that I am also specifically looking for ml1 words and so don’t necessarily notice an attempt at a ML or ml2 word!
Mayken - unfortunately we just couldn’t find a way to have the timings work at your school as I work on the other side of the city and my husband is away several days a week, so between crèche drop-off, school drop-off and my getting to work it just wouldn’t be possible! BUT a girl in my daughter’s class has already found out that she been accepted at your daughter’s school for next year (in the English group)! I am really happy for them, especially as the parents are non-native speakers who are making a huge effort, so I feel that they really deserved to get a place.
Oh that is good to know Mayken! Even if it’s a small chance, it’s something!
My daughter came back from a week at her ML grandparents. I was so pleased to note that she hadn’t lost her ml1 at all! She hopped right into it. As I result, I did some reading to her in ml2, as that is where I feel she is most likely to lose interest rapidly if we aren’t careful. Good news though: tomorrow she will start a week of ml2 holiday camp! It is at the same place she has gone before. I hope the kids this time will have a good level to stimulate her. But at least I know the teacher will provide good exposure and she will have fun!
My son appears to be starting to say a few more words. His articulation is still not good enough for us to pick up much, but he is clearly trying. However, i realise that it is a problem that my daughter is so verbal. She takes up all the “talking time” and hardly leaves any time for him. Every time I ask him a question when looking at a book, for instance, she jumps in and answers. It is a bit tiring. I’m still hoping his concentration span will improve for looking at books - he is better than a few months ago but still not great. I would really like for him to sit through a whole (age-appropriate) book!
Today was the first day of ml2 holiday camp. My daughter's friend is also going this time, which is nice. She seemed to enjoy it. Tomorrow they have to bring costumes, which is guaranteed fun I would guess! I had the impression (after a very fleeting drop-off) that there are several kids in the class with an excellent ml2 level - I heard one little boy speaking to his father in very fluent ml2 (and his father spoke only to him in ml2, which immediately endeared me to him!) and the given names of the other children in the class are unmistakeably ml2, which suggests to me that the parents are committed ml2 speakers (I realise this is a bit of a proxy judgment!). I asked my daughter what language the children speak, and she said "Spanish...but sometimes a bit of French". I then said "oh, that's good", and she replied "no, but it's not good if they speak French, they should only speak Spanish". I take this as a sign that the teacher is demanding that they speak in the ml, which of course makes me happy!
My son was very tired tonight as he had had a full day at creche (last week we were picking him up early). I sometimes feel a bit guilty that he is mostly getting fewer hours of ml2 than my daughter - the nanny picks up my daughter first so the time he has is a bit reduced (and certainly less than what she had at the same age). On the other hand, he is probably hearing more ml1 than she was at the same age. This Wednesday, as she will be at the holiday camp, he will get to stay home alone with the nanny (and her own baby). So that will at least be a few extra hours of ml! It's hard at the moment for me to know whether he has a language preference, as of course he's not really talking yet, so I feel as though we are putting in lots of hours without being able to see any impact. But of course, I know that once that switch goes off and he starts talking, it will be a flood! At the very least, we can really see that he understands the three languages, which is a fantastic start.
It's hard at the moment for me to know whether he has a language preference, as of course he's not really talking yet, so I feel as though we are putting in lots of hours without being able to see any impact. But of course, I know that once that switch goes off and he starts talking, it will be a flood! At the very least, we can really see that he understands the three languages, which is a fantastic start.
Nellie, yes, it sounds like both your kids are moving forward well with all three languages. I look forward to hearing what happens with your son when he starts speaking! I bet he'll be a little trilingual chatterbox!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide. Please support The Bilingual Zoo through Adam's Patreon page www.patreon.com/bilingualmonkeys.
That ml2 camp sounds great, Nellie !! Lots of children who speak the language well, committed parents, a teacher who asks them to use the ml2... A dream come true!! I also took your daughter's comment to mean the teacher asks them to speak Spanish.
Regarding your son, all this time you're making sure he spends in both mls will show very soon!! It is now, when they're this young, when I think it makes the biggest impact. It's easier to make the effort when we see it working, which will happen soon! Very soon you'll have to deal with a million "why?" a day, and you'll miss these days j/k.
Last night at dinner, my daughter mentioned that at the ml2 camp, she sat next to “her friends L and C”. L is the little boy she knows, and I assumed she meant that she had made friends with a new girl (C). Then this morning, the holiday camp teacher sent out an email to all the parents. When I saw the email addresses of the other parents, I recognized the name of a colleague of mine among them! We don’t work directly together but did have lunch together a few months ago. I immediately wrote to her and realised that her daughter was C! It turns out that the two girls must have both been at a holiday camp organised at my work last year, so they met then. This is a great opportunity for them and us mothers to reconnect, and it will be wonderful if the two girls get along well. C is 2 years older and with two ml2-speaking parents, no doubt speaks excellent ml2 (the family were also living in Latin America until about a year ago). It’s nice to be somehow part of a little Spanish-speaking community, even if that is not our background at all!
What a coincidence! That's great that they both attended the same camp, recognized each other and are playing together. It'll be a great immersion for your daughter and a nice chance for you and your colleague to get back in touch, maybe even set up playdates.
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Amy: @sheilac, I suggest you create an actual thread on the "Questions & Concerns" board, so fellow Zoo Keepers can help you with your concerns. 256 characters is too little to discuss something that is so important to your heart
Jun 2, 2019 23:44:41 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam Beck, thanks for that very interesting and timely post - it justifies the large order for ml books and DVDs I'm about to place in view of my daughters upcoming birthday!
Jun 3, 2019 23:46:00 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Great to hear this, Mayken! And happy birthday to both yours and mine! (They have the same birthday, don't they?) And if anyone missed that post, here's the link once more...
Jun 4, 2019 8:03:42 GMT 9
Mayken: It's our last night in Canada. We've said goodbye to our English-speaking and bilingual English/French friends but we have lots of memories and souvenirs. Let's see how I can keep up the momentum back home.
Aug 21, 2019 9:06:07 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Sounds like a wonderful trip, Mayken! Safe travels home!
Aug 22, 2019 10:33:45 GMT 9