Can I learn German in two years
How does my child learn 2 languages: German and the family language?
Children are good at learning different languages
If your child grows up speaking two different languages, e.g. one language at home and German in kindergarten, then this is a great opportunity for your child's future. Studies show that children can learn two (or even three) languages from an early age if they are encouraged to use these languages. If father and mother speak different languages, then everyone can speak their own language with the child, and children can do that too. But then, especially for young children, it is important to have clear “language rules” in the family so that the child can associate a certain language with a certain person. It then knows "mom speaks like this, papa like that, when we eat we talk like this ...".
Kindergarten is an opportunity for your child
In kindergarten, your child learns German and many other things that are important for the development of the language - and later for school. Therefore, kindergarten is an opportunity and it is good if your child regularly attends kindergarten from the age of three. This means that there is enough time before school starts to become familiar with the German language. The teachers specifically promote the German language with games, conversations, songs and verses, picture books and stories. At the beginning, if your child does not yet speak German, they may look for friends in kindergarten who speak the same language as your child at home. This will help the child settle in and feel comfortable. In the course of time it will also find German friends.
What language do you speak to your child?
Parents sometimes get the advice: "If you speak German with your child, it will be easier for the child later in school". This advice is wrong. Speak in the language that you speak spontaneously and naturally, and that you speak best. mostly this is the mother tongue. In this language you also know most of the words and you know how the sentences are “built”. This will give your child a good foundation, which will also help them with the other languages, e.g. B. when learning German. It takes many years before a child can speak a language properly - this is true for the child's first language as well as for all other languages. With some children there are phases in which they only want to speak one language - e.g. only German. Then they answer in German, even if the parents speak to them in the family language. Such phases are quite normal. If you stay consistent and continue to speak to the child in your mother tongue, and if the child hears this language on other occasions, then it will not be lost, the child will continue to learn as a listener - and will certainly speak this language again later .
What can you do in the family for your child's language development?
Daily family life is important for language development. Because in the family children learn their first language. What specific possibilities are there in the family to support children in their language development?
Enjoyment of speaking and telling
Language cannot be trained; it develops in younger children every day when the children listen and speak for themselves - e.g. while playing, looking at picture books, eating together, talking to people they love. The daily conversations are very important for children: tell the child about your work, about the grandparents, about a little experience that you had today; and if the child is watching you cook, for example, tell the child what you are putting in the pot today. And be happy when your child asks a lot of questions and talks a lot 211; what annoyed or pleased him today, what his friends said in kindergarten, etc. As he tells the story, the child gradually learns to express himself and to explain his ideas and wishes with words. Children learn best when they are comfortable and not afraid of making mistakes. Sometimes children also make up fantasy words, they play with the language, they enjoy it and it is good for language development. Correcting your child when they say something "wrong" is not developmental. Children who are often corrected sometimes lose the joy of speaking and telling. There are occupations in which children learn a lot and develop their language skills particularly well. This includes reading aloud, telling stories, looking at picture books, speaking rhymes and singing.
Look at picture books together
If parents and their child often look at a picture book - preferably every day - then that is very good for the development of the language. If you look at a picture book with your child in your mother tongue, the child will learn a lot of things that will help him in all languages and that are important later in school - this has been proven by many studies. Maybe the older siblings, aunt or grandfather will have time to read aloud. When looking at and reading a picture book, it is important
that it is fun for the child and the adult (if adults ask too much, it can spoil the child's fun)
that your child can talk a lot about the pictures and the story - anything that comes to mind
If you do not have any picture books in your language at home and cannot borrow any, then there is still an option to look at picture books with your child in your language: There are many German picture books that have little or no text. You can borrow these books from the library or kindergarten, ask the teacher. At home you can look at these picture books with your child and talk to the child about the pictures in your own language. and maybe you and the child can come up with a story to go with the pictures. Or your child sometimes brings a picture book from kindergarten and tells you something in German about the pictures and the story. There are now many bilingual children's books in libraries. If you speak German well, you can take turns: sometimes reading aloud in German, sometimes in the family language. Children sometimes have a favorite picture book that they want to hear and look at over and over again. That is also good, then they get a feel for the language.
Children love stories. When children often hear a story that their father or mother, perhaps their uncle or grandpa, tells or read aloud, language develops in the process. You learn to understand stories and tell them yourself, which is very important for school later on. It can be stories from everyday life, fairy tales, stories from your childhood - anything that you and your child like. How about a daily bedtime story? Songs, finger games and rhymes are also very important for the development of language skills - and many children enjoy them. Do you still know poems or counting rhymes from your childhood?
TV is not enough
When watching TV, children focus more on the pictures than on what is being said. And mostly they watch silently. Television is therefore not particularly conducive to language. Children learn more when they hear, for example, an audio cassette with a fairy tale or a bedtime story from their parents. If your child is watching TV, it is important that you talk to them about the program.
Living with two languages - children need role models
Parents are important role models. Some children experience how their parents try to learn German well - e.g. they ask their child what a word is called in German, or maybe they attend a language course in kindergarten. That helps the children. You are then also curious and proud to learn German yourself. Children also notice whether their parents appreciate and cultivate their own mother tongue and whether they consider bilingualism important.
Language is a treasure 230 ;.
If your child speaks two languages and can express themselves well later on, they will have a treasure that will help them further in life and at work. Nobody can take this treasure away from him.
We wish you and your child the best of luck and success on this path.
On the website of the State Institute for Early Childhood Education (IFP) you will find this letter to parents in over 20 languages:
Parents letter: How does my child learn 2 languages, German and the family language?
Created on July 18, 2006, last changed on April 8, 2010
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