We find out if raising your baby to be bilingual is a good or bad thing for brain development.
I would think it might be confusing for a very young infant to be changing the language too much. However, young children seem to have the capacity to pick up multiple languages far better than older individuals.
I've heard suggestions before that it can delay development in other ways a little, but with an overall gain in time. There was one case where a baby/child was brought up with four people speaking different languages to it and it learned all four without any trouble. There must come a point where the number of languages used becomes harmful, but I don't think anyone who has the option to bring up a child with two native languages should do anything other than just that. David Cooper, Wed, 13th Nov 2013
There's something to be said for learning a second language formally and later in life. It seems that formal learning through grammar and written words rather than immersive spoken words uses a different area of the brain from "primary" speech.
Speaking to teachers of young children, they see many children who are proficient in two languages.
It's also important to consider the total amount of input to the child. Some children are exposed to very little interaction while others get a lot, and I suspect that a lot of re tar dat ion (I split that word into parts in case it gets blocked) is caused by lack of interaction rather than there being anything wrong with the child's brain. If there is plenty of interaction though and the child is still backward, it may indeed be best to stick to one language, but that's something that would need careful study to make sure it really is the right thing to do, because a second native language might still bring greater benefits by helping to make their mind more flexible. David Cooper, Sun, 17th Nov 2013
I've always wondered how babies and young children can keep the languages separate (at least I think they do) and can switch back and forth instead of mixing vocabulary words of both languages or using the grammar or word order of one language with the vocabulary of another. I can almost understand it if different people spoke one language or another to the child, but if both parents, or lots of family members switch between languages, how a small child learns what goes with what? Sometimes I think language acquisition is the most amazing change a human ever undergoes. cheryl j, Tue, 19th Nov 2013
I do find it sad how quickly a language can die off in a family.
Something of a sidetrack, but if I emigrate from A to B it's presumably because I prefer the culture of B to that of A. So why would I want to "preserve the heritage"? And more to the point, why would my hosts at B want me to? alancalverd, Wed, 20th Nov 2013
There's no doubt in my mind that future generations will consider it entirely normal to have at least one language for talking to friends and family, and another for talking to absolutely everyone else. Travel, mass culture, mobile phones, the internet, and the simple fact that business is ultimately more important than politics, means that within a couple of generations pretty well everyone will be fluent in English from the age of 8. alancalverd, Sun, 8th Dec 2013
Tilda appears to be doing everything right. David Cooper, Sun, 8th Dec 2013