How Can I Teach My 8 Months Child a Foreign Language?

Updated on June 19, 2011
M.A. asks from Put in Bay, OH
15 answers

I really want my child to learn English. I think it is very important to learn a foreign language. I want to follow my instinct who tells me:"the sooner, the better"but it is hard to start speaking to him in English ( it is not my native language, but I have a MA degree in English) Also I am afraid that he will get confused and will not speak well in any language at all:)
I would appreciate if someone can give me some advise or valuable tips for this.Thank you a lot!!

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answers from Redding on

My granddaughter is almost 3. she speaks english and tagalog. There will be some enunciation delay, but they do pick it up easily if you teach it from the get go.

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answers from Sarasota on

The lady that watched our daughter was from Spain. She spoke both English and Spanish to our daughter. Then she only spoke Spanish to her during the day.
This happened when our daughter was 18 months, she is now two and has full vocabulary and did not get confused.
She does favor certain words for certain things.
Hope this was helpful

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Spartanburg on

If you live in the US your child will be surrounded with people speaking english and will hear you speak english to people, while you should speak your mothertongue at home with him. If you live in your homecountry but would like for your child to speak eanglish, then speak english to him at home and outside whenever you can. My son was born in the US and I spoke my language at home (his dad spoke english his mothertongue), so my son was exposed to both, though english was prevalent. When I moved back to my homecountry (Italy), I reversed and started to speak english to him (he was barely two and had not started to talk yet) while everybody else around him spoke Italian. Fast forward to this day (he's 5): he understands english really well (I kept speaking english, reading books in english everyday, letting him watch cartoons in english) BUT he will not speak english back to me (or his father, for that matter) because he does not want to be "different" from his friends or everybody else. I understand him as he is growing up "Italian", school is Italian, tv is in italian, relatives are Italian and I speak Italian outside our's a bit frustrating to not see real success yet but I think when he'll decide to finally speak, his early head-start (sacrifice on my part since english is NOT my mothertongue) will prove to have been a success. SO go ahead and start, he will not get confused and though he will choose his language of preference, he will be one up in any case. Always a plus to be bilingual!

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answers from Dallas on

From what I understand, you just need to speak in both languages to him. Babies pick up languages very easily at this age. You won't see any response for a year or two possibly, but you just need to speak both. I don't think it'll harm his language or confuse him.

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answers from Cleveland on

Actually all research indicates that if you speak both languages often, or one caregiver speaks one language and the other caregiver another language, that the baby will easily learn to speak both. There is research that shows that bilingual babies/toddlers may have a smaller vocabulary early on, but that they know just as many words as their peers, they just know how to say dad two different ways ect. Either way by the school years most children in bilingual households are right on track and ahead of their peers (because after all they speak 2 languages).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

being that my first language is english, idk if my advice will help. It is true that the sooner u start the better. children pick up things so much quicker and easier then when they are older. as long as your main language is spoken in the house there shouldnt be any confusion. my daughter watches dora the explorer. she loves it. she has been speaking english and spanish for a little over a year and she is almost 3. there are videos out there that teach different languages. i hope this helps. good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Do you and your child live in the US? If so, I wouldn't worry too much about your baby learning English.Do stuff with him where he is exposed to the English language, such as Mama and baby classes, etc. Also you could send him to an English preschool when the time comes. He will pick it up easily. But I would suggest you continue talking to him in your own mother tongue.

My boys are bilingual. I have the problem that they don't want to speak my mother tongue. They want to speak English, because that's what they speak with their friends and at school. And English is not even their first language. My older was already in Kindergarten when we came here. I think part of the problem is that my husband and I spoke English with them instead of German (our mother tongue) when we first arrived here. We did that because my older had to enter school and I wanted him to learn the language as soon as possible. Now they speak English very well but they don't want to speak German because no one else around us speaks the language. They also hate the fact that they have to go to German school on Saturday morning.

I guess it depends a little bit what your mother tongue is. If it's a common language such as Spanish you will probably have less of a problem with your child keeping the skill and being completely bilingual. However, if it's a less common language that the child isn't exposed to very much, I would definitely focus on that language instead of the English.

I hope this helps.

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answers from Biloxi on

All of my friends who have bi-lingual children spoke only their native language at home for the first couple of years of their child's life. Once that language was understood and spoken - even at a 2 year old level - they switched to English. Both parents are also bi-lingual. The had English only grandparents and friends, so there was exposure to both fact, their then two year old understood English well, but always spoke in French - made for strange conversations.

If English is not your native language I would say stick with your native language first with your child. Hone up on you English, so that when it is time to introduce that language you are proficient at it and it will be easier for you to teach that to your child.

Children are very quick to pick up languages. I knew a little girl years ago whose first language was Russian, 2nd English, then she was learning Spanish in school. She would come home babbling in all three languages. Her Mom would translate the Russian, I would translate the English and we both guessed at the Spanish. (I speak a little French as my 2nd)

Good Luck
God Bless



answers from Portland on

Actually seeing the face of the person speaking any language is how a baby learns that language. Older kids can learn from tapes, computer programs, etc., but a baby won't really pick up on those sources.

I've known of a few families who have raised bilingual kids. In each case, the dad would pretty consistendly speak one language, the mother would speak the other language. Every one of those kids stayed mostly silent until somewhere between ages 2-3. They listened carefully while their brains were busy categorizing the language differences. And when they were ready, every child began speaking both languages fluently, with correct inflections, using full, well-developed thoughts.


answers from St. Louis on

Hola M..
I can tell you that kids are really little sponges. As they learn other things, they will learn languages VERY easily. My husband and I speak more than 2 languages . When both of my kids were born H. (11 and 5 respectively) we talked to them in Spanish until they were 2 years old. After that, we have been speaking Spanish at home, and English as soon we we put a foot out of the door, all the time, every day. I home school my kids, and I teach them in English ans Spanish, but at this point, the older one speaks and writes fluently English & Spanish, and the little one speaks English very clearly and smoothly.
You'll see that they will learn English VERY fast, TV, radio and just the fact or attending preschool, school, sports, play dates, extracurricular activities and sports will give them the opportunity to learn the language very, very easily.
One thing that also will help your kid is reading, reading and singing a lot in the language.
I hope this helps, do not worry.....your child will speak VERY FAST AND EASILY. Believe me.



answers from Dallas on

My girlfriend and husband are native americans so English is their first language but both are fluent in Spanish. From day one, they have spoken only in English on MWF and only in Spanish on TThSa. Sunday is sortof like a quiz. Whatever language the first child starts out speaking that day, they go with it. None of their kids (4 of them) have strange accents at all. None of them act confused either. They speak spanish beautifully as much as they do english. I think it's a great idea and I wish I would have stuck with my French in college so I could do this with my kids. It's a great asset to be able to speak multiple languages. Plus, it sticks with them forever when they learn it at such a young age.



answers from Cincinnati on

Do you live in a country that speaks English? The best technique I've heard of if to speak the language at home that is not spoken publicly and let them absorb the country's language on their one--which they will. Young children's language centers are highly maleable and absorbant, and hearing two languages spoken well will not inhibit his language formation or confuse him between two sets of rules. In fact, it will help him have a stronger base in both.


answers from Eugene on

If you speak another language or his father is fluent in another language you can teach your child the language.
Otherwise stick to your mother tongue.
I Dad knows Spanish and you are best at English you divide the communication so he speaks Spanish and you speak English the the child(ren) who will be bi-lingual.
I grew up in the three language household. I never learned French but I speak fluently German, Spanish, and two others.



answers from Dallas on

I know several people who have taught their children by just speaking both languages as early as possible. A friend of mine spoke English to her sons from the time they were born but the rest of the family would speak Spanish to them. She said she sometimes felt like a broken record player because it became a repeating thing all the time but it worked out great for her.

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