Being bilingual sounds cool, doesn’t it? Perhaps you want to be bilingual, or you already are bilingual. You have heard a lot of myths or so-called facts about bilingual people and children, well today let us discuss a few myths and facts about bilingual children together.
Have you ever heard the myth that speaking two or more languages to a child can confuse them? It sounds logical, doesn’t it? Well, you might be surprised to hear that this is in fact a myth. Children are capable of learning more than 1 language simultaneously, even if they have any sort of learning disabilities or developmental delays.
Sometimes people pressure families to only speak the language that is being taught in school to their children, even if the child is not very good at the language. This is not as much a myth as much as it is just an unofficial rule. Families should just speak whatever language they find most comfortable to them to avoid any miscommunication or confusion between family members.
Speaking two languages seems like it might delay the child’s learning, after all they are learning two languages at the same time too. But that is not the case, it has been shown that children who speak more than one language study better because they are able to improve a child’s ability to learn new words, identify sounds and problem solve.
If you are bilingual maybe, you have heard people telling you not to mix parts of different languages together. Maybe you did as they said, it makes sense to think that mixing parts of two different languages together might get confusing or make you sound less fluent. But really it can help foster cultural and metalinguistic awareness.
When you are a child learning must be a lot easier. People assume children just need to be surrounded by others speaking the second language and they will pick it up. However, just like anyone else, language learning is a long process which requires a lot of practice.
Hope this cleared up any misconceptions you had about bilingual children and gave you some fun facts to tell your friends or family. Summarised by Wynn Quiana Wyanto (CS2)