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Can a child be confused between two languages?

I've had this issue with my baby girl for a while. She fully understands English but will only respond in Spanish. She will follow directions and do as I say. Most of the time I speak to her in English but since she was born my mom has been my babysitter and my mom only speaks Spanish. My daughter started preschool in September 2010 and I have been noticing that she is slowly learning new words in English. I mean she can say the basics but I am concerned as to when she will fluently speak English. Has anyone else had the same problem? I would love to hear your stories...

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Asked by fayth13 at 9:31 PM on Jan. 5, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 3 (17 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • There is one little boy in my sons preschool class who speaks no English yet, just Chinese. And another little boy speaks Arabic as his first language. They are learning, your daughter will too. I've never heard anything bad about children having two languages.

    Answer by TARARENEE at 9:35 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • I can tell you from personal experience w/ my cousin, who speaks both english/spanish, he is now 5, but when he was 3, he would NOT talk! And we found out because he was confused between both languages. now he won't be quiet LOL! I wish I could teach my girls another language, but i only know english.

    Answer by knicole0708 at 9:36 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • Thanks Tararenee. I just got worried because I dont want it to affect her learning. I mean she understands English... And to top if off she is really shy, so thats another challenge for her. :(

    Comment by fayth13 (original poster) at 9:38 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • knicole0708.. DO you know how long it took for him to start talking? Thanks for your input.

    Comment by fayth13 (original poster) at 9:40 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • Hi,I'm mexican and so are my children, I'm also 100% bilingual, my children 10 & 5 are very well on their way, they go to a bilingual school, at home we speak both languages, at school it's mainly english, when they watch tv it's in english, it is important that they be fluent in english which is their 2nd language eventhough we live in Mexico, their normal day to day lives will be here speaking spanish but english will be essential for their future, I think your baby will develop english as her first language now that she's in school and maybe to keep developing her spanish skills you could play for her her favorite tv shows in spanish, which i feel sends the message that spanish is complementary in her life...good luck

    Answer by AleUro at 9:46 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • Oh goodness, i'm not even gonna lie, took a few months to a year for him to REALLy get to talking, like sentences. He now speaks english, and he actually teaches me spanish =) it's cute! just give it time, and talk to her in english and def. dont quit spanish!!!! u can try a speach teacher as well, it works =)

    Answer by knicole0708 at 9:47 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • yes. its common amongst children to be confused. my goddaughter(now 17) when she was a toddler she would studder. she would try to get out a word but because she had both languages(english/spanish) she just couldn;t. so her mom would just concentrate on one. and then practice the other. all my life i have understood both languages. i don;t speak it fluently and i regret not being more diligent growing up but i have family in miami that does speak both perfectly. everyone in my family understand both but english is primiary. my grandparents only understood spanish so i had to communicate some how. well moving on to my daughter. she understands both. she says some words in just spanish and some in english. mostly english. even the doctor said that with word count it has to be just one but usually they get confused but its still ok to develop both. since she is in daycare she is ok with the english.

    Answer by lambdarose at 9:52 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • cont/ most of the children in my family once they started school they picked up english so easily. so just keep speaking both languages and she should be fine.

    Answer by lambdarose at 9:53 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • I know where your coming from. I'm in the same situation with my son. He understands both languages, and he speaks both (a little more English than Spanish) but it doesn't seem like he's confused. I'll use both English and Spanish around like "Quieres leche?" and I'll repeat it in English "Do you want some milk?". I do this with numbers, colors, and anything else he wants to know the name of. Hope that helps!

    Answer by myree85 at 10:18 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • my littl cousin wasraised bilingual and di the same thing and she would get so ad when we didn understand her in spanish she now speaks both perfectly. the concern comes in when she cant el the difference and will speak half onelanguage and half another. as long as when she talks she s using one or the other she should be fine and i will all work its slef out

    Answer by aschwarz06 at 10:48 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

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