Author Topic: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.  (Read 5608 times)

Offline Philip G.

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I have a friend who was telling me that her niece I think, who is like 2 years old, is being taught english and spanish.  And, it got me thinking, is there a negative to being taught multiple languages before one reaches the age of reason?  Because, you would think in our multicultural society, it would only be a good thing, and it may be.  But, is there a downside to not having a first language?  Is it even possible to not have a first language?  You would think someone who is fluent in both spanish and english upon reaching the age of reason might be considered to not have a first language.  But, I doubt it.  I think one must have a first language.  If it is possible to not have a first language, but instead two, what do you think the downside(s) are?  How do you think it manifests itself?
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12
 

Offline Heinrich

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2021, 11:31:44 PM »
There are hordes of Mexican kids who don't talk the Spanish nor the English very good since they border hop. Dat not good.
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Offline Philip G.

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2021, 12:42:16 AM »
One downside that I can think of for a person who is fluent from a young age in many languages is that they may not have an accent.  And, I love accents!  And, I think that most people like accents.  I don't think we live in a world that wished accents did not exist.  So, what does an accent imply?  I think an accent either implies a first language, or a dominant language.  So, the next question is, can one who grew up speaking english, but is for whatever reason uprooted and placed in a spanish speaking society, where they learn spanish, and have to speak it daily as the main language, lose their english accent and english dominance?  Meaning, spanish becomes the dominant language for them, and they lose something of their english as a result of lack of use?  It seems reasonable that it could happen. However, I don't think it happens.  Because, I do not know of people who have strong accents, losing their accent over time.  And, the accent implies it seems the dominance of the first language.  Perhaps that is why accents are so likeable/loveable.  An accent implies roots and human nature that cannot be subjected entirely to nurture.  Because, humans are nature and nurture, not one or the other. 
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12
 

Offline drummerboy

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2021, 01:10:27 AM »
2 years old is very young, I've always thought it was 4-5 at the youngest to start, or that's when the instruction books start at least.
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Offline red solo cup

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2021, 09:33:51 AM »
" A man who speaks two languages has two souls "
"It's so lonely 'round the fields of Athenry"
 
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Offline Philip G.

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2021, 12:49:26 PM »
" A man who speaks two languages has two souls "

And what does Charlemagne say about the man with multiple wives and many concubines? 
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12
 

Offline Philip G.

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2021, 12:58:08 PM »
2 years old is very young, I've always thought it was 4-5 at the youngest to start, or that's when the instruction books start at least.

I thought she said two, but I could be wrong. 
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12
 

Offline Philip G.

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2021, 12:02:50 AM »
How about this; which is more important?  Is it more important to teach your child to read?  Or, is it more important to teach your child a different language/more than one language? 

For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2021, 07:55:01 AM »
.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2021, 07:58:17 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Elizabeth.2

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2021, 08:09:25 AM »

Off topic - I have heard that it's bad for adults to try learning multiple second languages at the same time. Not sure why. I think maybe just because it often backfires, and you don't make as much progress as you would have had you tried studying them each separately. (From my own personal experience, I've also found that sometimes I get confused and mix up the vocabulary between languages, lol)
I'm a tad learning disabled, but when they switched me out of French into Spanish in high school I couldn't cope.  I'd been doing really well in French, and I was motivated, but I lost the French and am way worse in Spanish than I should be.
 
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Offline aquinas138

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2021, 09:52:02 AM »
There are no downsides. As for the proper age, a child learns completely differently than an adult, so I would say there is no age too young *in a bilingual home.* Children have an amazing capacity to learn even 4-5 languages at a time, but they have to be surrounded by it, not taught it. Children can't really learn language that way until they are older—their brains are just wired differently.

On a tangential note, a very interesting study some years ago indicated that the number one factor in people retaining a second, minority language into adulthood was that their fathers spoke to their mothers in the minority language.
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Offline Philip G.

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2021, 01:20:31 PM »
There are no downsides. As for the proper age, a child learns completely differently than an adult, so I would say there is no age too young *in a bilingual home.* Children have an amazing capacity to learn even 4-5 languages at a time, but they have to be surrounded by it, not taught it. Children can't really learn language that way until they are older—their brains are just wired differently.

On a tangential note, a very interesting study some years ago indicated that the number one factor in people retaining a second, minority language into adulthood was that their fathers spoke to their mothers in the minority language.

Hooray for multiculturalism!  Not.  There has to be a downside.  If there is no downside, then there is no upside.  And, do not suggest that it is neutral.  Jesus judges nations/cultures against other nations/cultures.  Languages are proximate to that form of judgement.  If you don't agree, I might just have to unleash some LOTR speech of Mordor truth on you.  And, we all know how that enjoys unanimous consent around here. So, being multicultural from a young age is not neutral.  "On the lips of infants and babes, God has perfected praise."  An infant does not speak a language.  As for children, who can speak languages, Jesus said, "suffer the children to come unto me."  That means that children can be sanctified, and children can be cursed regarding language. 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2021, 01:34:39 PM by Philip G. »
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12
 

Offline drummerboy

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2021, 01:35:55 PM »
There are no downsides. As for the proper age, a child learns completely differently than an adult, so I would say there is no age too young *in a bilingual home.* Children have an amazing capacity to learn even 4-5 languages at a time, but they have to be surrounded by it, not taught it. Children can't really learn language that way until they are older—their brains are just wired differently.

On a tangential note, a very interesting study some years ago indicated that the number one factor in people retaining a second, minority language into adulthood was that their fathers spoke to their mothers in the minority language.

Which is why, in former times, well to do parents would hire a language tutor to live with the children, and they were allowed to speak only the language to be learned.  Talk about immersion! 
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Offline Heinrich

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2021, 02:44:59 PM »
There are no downsides. As for the proper age, a child learns completely differently than an adult, so I would say there is no age too young *in a bilingual home.* Children have an amazing capacity to learn even 4-5 languages at a time, but they have to be surrounded by it, not taught it. Children can't really learn language that way until they are older—their brains are just wired differently.

On a tangential note, a very interesting study some years ago indicated that the number one factor in people retaining a second, minority language into adulthood was that their fathers spoke to their mothers in the minority language.

Which is why, in former times, well to do parents would hire a language tutor to live with the children, and they were allowed to speak only the language to be learned.  Talk about immersion!

Right. And John Adams sent his son, the future president, to Russia(pronounced with rhotic /r/). It happens and is good when done right. Not saying that JQA was a good president.
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Offline Christina_S

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Re: Downside of being fluent in multiple languages from young age.
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2021, 04:14:54 PM »
Being fluent in multiple languages does not necessarily equal multiculturalism.

There is a difference between learning another language for, say, academic purposes, and learning it for everyday use in its country/locale of origin. For example, learning Latin simply for the sake of reading canon law is different from learning it because you're a sucker for Roman mythology and love going to toga parties. There are some languages where it's easy to get sucked into some of the negative cultural components: Quebecois French is LOADED with swear words taken from religious imagery. But I think we can distinguish between multiculturalism and just being well-educated.
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