Almost 4, Almost Proficient: Raising a Bilingual Child

turkish flag
From our visit to Turkey

It’s been noted time and again that immersion is the greatest technique to learn another language. When you don’t have your native language as an option, you are forced to communicate with whatever you have in your brain. As an adult immersed in another lingual setting, you may have some reservation. Your insecurities will flare and you may freeze, at least at first. Eventually, you will find yourself utilizing the language as you never dreamed. For kids, this second phase comes MUCH faster. Continue reading “Almost 4, Almost Proficient: Raising a Bilingual Child”

Dashing Hopes of Bilingualism: A Parent’s Uncertainty

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My son is now 3 1/2-years-old. To our great joy and relief, he has overcome his speech delay and is on equal footing with his peers….in English. His secondary language, Turkish, is developing, although several paces behind his dominant language. And my recent experiences with slightly older Turkish-American (or mixed-Turkish-American) children has me wondering about his future. Our dream of having a bilingual child is not always as simple as it’s made it out to be.  Continue reading “Dashing Hopes of Bilingualism: A Parent’s Uncertainty”

The Rise of the Dominant Language

multilingualkidsRecently, my son spoke these words to my husband, while communicating an injury incurred by aggressively chasing bubbles at our local children’s gym:

Apo (아파 – ‘It hurts’ – Korean). Düştü (fell – Turkish). At gym,” he said while pointing at his foot.

In my last post I covered early intervention and speech therapy for my two-year-old son, and how we tried and then later stopped using speech therapy. It is now almost a year later, and the developments have been both great and interesting in how they’ve developed with each language. Where he has made leaps in English, he has taken steps in Turkish. With some exposure to Korean, he has a few expressions and songs under his belt. Continue reading “The Rise of the Dominant Language”

My Late-Talking, Bilingual Child: Early Intervention and Speech Therapy

When I initially started this blog I thought it would be primarily focused on my son’s multi-lingual language acquisition. Little did I know that I was in for a much more intense experience as we encountered an actual speech delay. I’d like to share my experience not only as a written journal for myself, but for any other parents out there going through a similar scenario. Bear in mind, every family will approach this differently and you may disagree with me. But I think some parents will find reassurance in our story. I know I did while reading the accounts of other parents with late-talking children. I’ll try to summarize the whirlwind of what’s happened during the last several months into three sections: Early Intervention, Speech Therapy, and Where We are Now.  Continue reading “My Late-Talking, Bilingual Child: Early Intervention and Speech Therapy”

Delayed Speech in a Bilingual Toddler

The Decision to Seek Evaluation

My son just turned two. He is bright, curious, and an expert at nonverbal communication.

His second birthday meant a checkup at the doctor, and an assessment of his developmental milestones. When we got to speech, I knew what was coming. You see, he still only has a handful of words, mostly monosyllable nouns.

teo-birthday

Speech Delay

A speech delay. Despite my obsession with his language acquisition, I am trying to remain calm so as not to pass on any anxiety to my sweet boy. People’s reactions tend to lean toward consolation, “Lots of kids go through delays like this, then they never stop talking!” Also, “If his comprehension is good then that’s what’s more important.” These are true, but then there is also the inevitable, “Well he’s learning two languages, right? It’s probably that.” Maybe it is a factor, but there’s actually no solid evidence that links bilingual language acquisition with a speech delay. Continue reading “Delayed Speech in a Bilingual Toddler”

Small Stepping Stones in Two Languages

bilingualbabyMy son is now 21 months old. He’s still not speaking. Not really anyway. He’s “behind” on his spoken language development, but it is definitely happening.

Using Two Languages

He has picked up several new words since my last post three months ago, and his receptive abilities continue to grow. His first word apart from “Baba” (Dad) and “Mama” (which he responds to but uses only on occasion) was “clock.” I watched with delight as he pointed to the clock on the wall, then the picture in his book, made the connection and uttered “cwaaak.” Now he sees clocks everywhere, pointing them out as he goes.

He’s also picked up Turkish “orada” as well as the English version, “over there” which he uses interchangeably. He also says Turkish “burada” (here), which he does not say in English. Continue reading “Small Stepping Stones in Two Languages”

Watching and Waiting – Delayed Language

mother-and-child_sihouetteLike so many others, I started a blog and then tapered off in my writing. This was partially due to not dedicating(having!) time, but also because this blog is about multilingualism and my son. And I am still waiting on my son’s speech.

 

Waiting, waiting, and trying not to worry, but that doesn’t always work.

 

Yes, it is at the point where I have to take my own advice and be patient. He’s 18 months old and should have a handful of words under his belt. But he doesn’t. He’s still primarily speaking in gibberish, although he tries to call each member of our home by name (literally, he’s dropping “mama” and calls me “Jejish.” So he may just be a late talker, but he may have an actual language delay).

Continue reading “Watching and Waiting – Delayed Language”