The toddler is learning a new language

Being eager is a first step

Considering we are moving back to our home country it is time to teach the little one Some Dutch! In early July was the first time we went back to Belgium to find a house and escape the breaking up madness. The toddler speaks very well for her age, somehow I had made the decision for myself to only raise her in English as it has felt unnatural to me speaking Dutch in the UK, after a couple of weeks here I was thinking completely in English, and to be honest with my previous jobs in an international environment, that was mostly the case already. However I had read Dutch books to the toddler.

Now at our visit in July we stayed with a couple who had a little one of her age and I think for the first time she realised that other Children would be speaking another language. We explained that in her school also people would speak Dutch and she just ‘agreed’. My toddler agreed no arguments nothing, no in fact she seemed motivated to actually learn the language. over the passed 6 weeks she convincingly says: “beetje Nederlandz spreken hé ” (as in: let’s speak some Dutch/Flemish).

Tackling a new language

Just like when she was learning English we pointed to objects, letting her repeat the word, read books, sing Dutch songs. I only know:

– ’10 kleine visjes’

– ‘In een klein stationnetje’

– ‘ Handjes draaien, koekenbak,.. ‘

Now she knows and often asks for singing those songs, or she is singing  them herself. Being out of nursery it seems as if she forgot some English songs, she is much more into inventing her own lyrics nowadays.

First Results of mastering a new language

The Dutch words she is using frequently without me suggestion to use Dutch are

– voetjes (little feet)

– boekje lezen (read a book)

– vliegen (flying)

– oh neOn (should be oh neen – meaning oh no)

– counting to 10 in both languages

– konijntje (little rabbit)

– zoentje (kiss)

– daaaag (bye)

If any Belgian moms are reading feel free to comment with other options song options.

I am linking up with Small Steps Big Achievements as I am very proud of the pickle to be willing and to make an effort for learning a new language.
Ethans Escapades

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6 responses to “The toddler is learning a new language

  1. This is fantastic, and a great life skill to have. I have always said that in the UK they start learning a second language too late. I really hope she keeps using both languages #SSAmazingAchievements x

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  2. Lovely post and big challenges ahead for all of you. Good luck! It sounds like she’s young enough to adapt and do really well.
    Thanks for linking up with #SSAmazingAchievements :)

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  3. It’s lovely she’s so keen, and she’s the right age! She will hopefully begin to get all of the different sounds before she becomes too old to form them with her mouth, and eventually have an indistinguishable Belgian accent. If she had been 4 when you decided to teach her a second language her mouth shape would have been fixed, and she would always sound a little different – especially with you talking in English all of the time at home.
    Children learn best before 7 years old, and she will pick up the second language very quickly to the same standard as English because she already understands how talking works, but the English will get lost a little. Overall at 4 she may be very slightly behind her peers, but that will pass quickly, and she’ll have a head start on English :)

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      • She’s maybe a little older than is exactly perfect, the inside of your mouth is soft until 2, when it starts to form permanent shape, but she’s very young and still has time. I studied Child Language Acquisition at College (amongst other things!), I worked with deaf children and children with English as a second language also, and so learned some of the dual language information with that :)

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