Second language “no child’s play” even in the early years

second language

Bilingual children took longer than children of the same age to learn their mother tongue, hoff found.

Several studies showed that these children have a lower vocabulary in both languages and have a harder time with grammar. This could put them at a disadvantage in kindergarten and school, said hoff. The gap in grammar usually closes by the age of 9. Or 10. "Some children don"t even catch up with the vocabulary during this time," he says."

Hoff spoke as part of a series of lectures on the reasons for and risks of delayed language development. Six to eight percent of all young children take a long time to start communicating, regardless of country and culture. Linguists and psychologists at several u.S. Universities have therefore compiled a list of several dozen words that children should be able to master between the ages of two and two-and-a-half if they are developing normally.

This list has now been transferred to almost 70 other languages, taking cultural peculiarities into account, reported one of the authors, nan bernstein ratner of the university of maryland. The paper is designed to help parents assess the lingual development of their offspring and seek help if needed.

Because late speech can also be a symptom of other problems, including hearing and cognitive disorders or autism. Most of the time, the "problem kids" are just spate developers, ratner admits. "Four-fifths of them are making up for their initial language deficit on their own."

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