It is very important to us that Kairo grows up knowing and understanding the traditions and values from both sides of her family. This includes language and our aim is for her to be fluent in both isiZulu and English.
Her father and his family speaks only English to her, I speak isiZulu to her and I encourage my family to speak only isiZulu to her.
Afrikaans is Glammy’s mother tongue so we had the choice of her speaking only Afrikaans to Kairo, but we decided against it in the end.
Clara, our minder, speaks Portuguese and isiZulu. She started looking after Kairo when she was about 7 months old and I asked her to only speak isiZulu to Kairo. I sometimes regret that decision, maybe I should have asked Clara to speak only Portuguese to Kairo? She was 7 months old already but we still had about 3 months to add a third base language.
So we are focussing on English and isiZulu as Kairo’s base languages and if all goes according to plan she should be fully bilingual and able to speak both languages fluently.
She will be 10 months old in just over a week, so hopefully we have done a good job in establishing the required language blueprints for her to be fully bilingual.
The BrainBoosters Recipe – Part 3 of 3
Module 1: Talking to Your Child
Learning a Second Language and Testing Your Child
Learning a Second Language
Babies under a year can absorb any language, storing all the sounds and patterns easily and effortlessly, creating a blueprint in the brain. If exposed to only one language, that will be the dominant language, but if exposed to two, three or more languages (before ten months), a child will be able to speak them all. They will be known as base languages which means he actually thinks in that language and is not translating from one language to another. If you want your baby to learn more than one language, somebody should speak a particular language to your child only, such as granny speaking English and daddy speaking SeSotho.
Testing Your Child
Children love to learn but most of them hate to be tested. If you want to check whether he knows his colours, for example, don’t ask him directly as it may make him feel like he is being tested. Rather say something like this: “Let’s play with the ball that is blue.” If he brings you a red ball, don’t tell him he is wrong, rather say: “This ball is red, let’s go find the ball that is blue.”
If your child should use an incorrect word or pronounces it badly, do not get cross with him. Just repeat what he has said but say it correctly. For example, when he says: “Look at that big forse,” you should reply, “Yes, that horse really is huge.”
Language is one of the most important skills we can impart to our children. It gives them the ability to grow their potential and grow up to be all that you can hope for. The bond, engagement and time to play are key in the early years.
Enjoy the journey!
Thank you Lynda and BrainBoosters for sharing this valuable information with us in this 3 Part Series on the Importance of Talking to your child.
We are looking forward to having you back soon !
Don’t miss our BrainBoosters Competition tomorrow !
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