Which language should my son speak Turkish or English. How do you go about raising a bilingual child in Turkey?
My challenge to Learn Turkish is ongoing and I am really doing well now and feel more confident with the language. But recently I have had thoughts about which language our Son should learn firsts, which language will he speak and how to go about raising a bilingual child in Turkey.
I went to a school where we had a diverse range of kids many from mix cultured families and these kids always had an easy time picking up other languages and I always admired them.
Now my Son will be bilingual speaking English and Turkish and possibly trilingual if he learns Kurdish and any other languages he feels he needs to know.
I think this puts him at an advantage in life already rather than a disadvantage, I am hoping like the kids from my school he will easily adapt to new languages and be able to enjoy the world around him because of this.
The hardest part is deciding which language he should learn first Turkish or English. The argument should be that he speaks Turkish as that is currently his native language and the language he will need when he starts school.
The next thought is to allow him to learn English and when he goes to school what Turkish he already knows he will build on when starting school. For me this would possibly set him at a big disadvantage and create learning difficulties and problems for him at school.
Children are very adaptable and pick up on things very quickly, they still have their natural instincts of survival and their minds are still like sponges and I think to worry and fret over which language he speaks is not necessary.
I watched two 3 year old boys on a boat trip once, one Turkish and one English, neither knew each others languages but because of their ages language wasn’t a barrier and they both were able to communicate with each other. One was eating sweets the other crisps, one child was able to tell the other the crisps were finished and the other said it’s ok as he still has sweets, they then carried on to have a conversation which none of us adults where able to understand but they understood each other easily.
This shows how children adapt and change to their circumstances they haven’t yet learned all the negative social behaviors and closed their minds off to learning and experiences. If anything I have learedt from my son and my Learn Turkish Challenge is you need to open your mind completely and be as childlike as you can when learning.
We also met a couple here in Turkey before we had our child, they were Turkish/English, their boy 6 or 7 years easily switched between Turkish and English depending on who he was speaking to. He knows no difference as this is the way of his world, he has no problem being bilingual.
And as parents neither should we, our child will grow up using the languages which he needs to survive in his world. It’s only us Parents who worry over what he should learn and how and when. Whereas for him it’s natural to have his Baba speak with him in Turkish and his Mum in English.
After a few discussions with hubby, we both feel he will naturally pick up both languages as he goes along, especially if I speak English with him and my husband speaks Turkish with him. He watches TV in Turkish, our neighbours, friends and my in laws speak Turkish and we speak with my parents every week via Skype in English and he also has a lot of toys and books in that use English.
Overall we have decided to allow him to learn quietly in a natural way, and fill in the gaps as is and when it is needed and continue to teach him as you would any other child to speak.
Do you have a Bilingual child, how do you help your child learn both languages? Please leave your comments below
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