I have to admit that bilingualism has several advantages. Nonetheless, tackling this issue, the lingual conditions in which children are raised to be able to speak two languages equally well should be also taken into consideration.
Many linguists underline that while introducing the second language to learner, his/her exposure to a given linguistic system is crucial. Thusly, parents striving for teaching their children a secod language/a non-native language often rely on commercial language materials such as books, videos, television programs, etc. Nevertheless, researchers (Kendall King and Lyn Fogle, Georgetown University) have found that live, human interaction such as reading or talking to a child is more effective than presentation of recored sounds (e.g., in television) and, therefore, the best method for fostering both first and second language development. What is more, Other studies have found that, for older children, being read aloud to in the second language increases second language vocabulary much more than watching television in that language (patterson, 2002).
I would like to concentrate now on this parent-child communication and its effect on language abilities of minors.
There is some evidence that infants can hear even in the womb. After their birth, as they are growing, they try to imitate the ‘noises’ they hear. According to Deborah D.K. Ruuskanen, Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Vaasa in Finland, and mother of three bilingual children, it is significant to expose babies to native-speaker sounds, in order to facilitate them acquisition, and eventually execution, of native-speaker/that sounds.
Generally, there is no problem when children are raised bilingual in families where the parents are completely bilingual themselves, that is to say, they use two native languages (each parent speaks separate mother-tongue) or they speak the non-native language exceptionally well. In other cases/Otherwise, introducing a second language to children since their infancy is not advisable. It is not only because babies might learn parents’ mispronunciation or faulty accent, but also because it might confuse them unnecessarily. The parents who are not comfortable or fluent in second language should be dissuaded from doing that so as not to affect harmfully their children’s linguistic abilities.
Courtney from Study Moose
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