Last July, we asked our educational partner, Maria Kihlstedt – lecturer in psycholinguistics at Paris Ouest Nanterre-CNRS – to put together a series of questions-answers for our clients on our blog. This exercise allows her to answer questions that ask parents with whom we deal on a daily basis.
Learning English at an early age
Does it slow down the learning of a child’s own native language ?
« The assertion that learning a second language at an early age could be detrimental to the learning of a child’s own native language is not true ! We should keep in mind that for a bilingual child, as long as both languages are used on a regular basis, they actually complement each other and are not « in competition ». One language does not “encroach” on the other one.
It’s obvious that the vocabulary range in each language will probably not be equal as that of a monolingual child. But both languages constitute the entirety of the child’s communicative resources, they advance in parallel and are differentiated and used advisedly at the youngest age (2 years old).
Children start to mix languages very early, which usually alarms parents and teachers, but it’s just because children use everything they have in their possession to communicate in the most efficient way. »
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