A mum and a wife and sometimes just me

Thursday 12 July 2012

Is he bilingual?

With my wee man's papà being Italian it's a question I get quite frequently - Is he bilingual? The answer at the moment I'm afraid is that I really don't know. We have got lots of conversation going on at the minute. I mean he is constantly chatting when looking at his books, playing with his toys, out and about, pointing at things, looking at us but we don't have that many words. We have a meagre list at the moment of mamà (he happens to call most people that by the way...hmph!), hiya, ta, ta ta, wow, yesssss.  He is also good at some animal noises and definitely knows that the cow goes moo, the duck goes AA and the tiger, lions and bears go raaar. He does a great elephant impression which I'm afraid I just can't put into words for you. 

I'll be honest in that I have not read up much about babies and language and communication. I try to keep him stimulated and read lots of books and just hope for the best really. I have heard that babies who have to work around two languages do speak later (and considering he has to cope with the Glaswegian accent as well) maybe that is what we are seeing here. I know that each parent should speak in their own mother tongue and we do that so he hears only Italian from his papà. He has got lots of books in Italian and Italian toys as well. Then he speaks a lot to his nonni on Skype and they don't really do English. 

That is where it really becomes important to us, this bilingualism, he has so much family in Italy that it would be great if he could talk to them and they could understand him. The fear is that he may understand but not be as able to speak it. I'm afraid though we can only really wait and see. This is a story yet to unfold.

1 comment:

  1. Based on my experience, he is and will always be bi-lingual as long as he understands both languages. You're doing exactly the right things so far. He's a little young yet to see how it will work, but he's bound to speak mainly English at home as he's with you and at nursery they'll speak to him in English. He'll probably even reply to his papa in English. When he's 2 or 3 he'll try speaking in Italian when in Italy, especially if everyone speaks to him in Italian. Max is 2yrs and 3months and speaks both languages, very mixed up, but he's starting to distinguish between the 2 and which people speak which language.
    Oh and the thing about bi-lingual children speaking later is a myth in my opinion, mine both spoke very early!


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