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Sylvia
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Hi, I am a bilingual mom and have a 16 months old girl who doesn't speak many words yet. She used to say "hi" and "bye" in both language and "mom", "dad" and "this" in my language when she turned one. I only started to get alarmed about her language skills after her 15 months check up when the nursed asked how many words does she speak now. I said 5, but after the check up I realize she has not been saying these words for the past months with exception of "mom" and "dad". 

 I started labeling words and asked her to point and repeat the words few weeks ago. She didn't want to look at me or repeat the words I said, but she did point to the right body parts and animals, when asked. Of some of the words she did repeat, it was very unintelligible. She should say, "ooooo" for both ball and nose. "ooo-ooo" for balloon, "moo" for cow sound. Not so clear.. But then after a week, she has forgotten most of them and just gives a grunting sound when I ask what something is.

One thing I want to ask is that, as I’m bilingual I have been using “both” English and my language when I talk to her. I usually just talk in my language, but when I do use both, I would use full sentence in one and then say it again in the other. We were going to use One parent One language technique with her initially, but then my husband (who only speaks in English) for the past 16 months have been using exclamation (wow, huh, ha, uh’s), or babbling sounds while running around and playing with her, no matter how many times I'll tell him to just speak to her. And as I wanted to reinforce English in some of the dvds I’ve been showing her (Your baby can read) I ended up saying both language to her,

But now I’m wondering if that has done more harm than good. I have most recently noticed she didn’t know most of the words we chose to work on her, so once she learned it specifically, she was able to say it to some degree. But now for some reason she has stopped saying it again. Do you think I’m confusing her by putting two words into a same object? 

How did you kids started saying words?  Did they get confused with saying two things for the same objects? Were they always good at repeating what you say.  Am I making her more confused by speaking two languages to her by myself? Should I only pick one language when labeling an object to her. Was there ever a period when they stopped saying it, or forgot the words they once knew? 

I would really appreciate your experiences. Thanks in advance. 

Sylvia
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi, I came in here again, in part to answer my own question after extensively reading the blogs, and also to elaborate on my questions further as I would still appreciate any comments/experiences you might have in helping your baby say their first few words. 

I could see that overall, the advise is to separate language either by people or place/time, since it will make it less confusing for the baby. We did initially do this until I realize that I would have to be the main person providing the language input for my girl. My girl has been exposed to English (besides living in the US) by "your baby can read" dvd that I've been showing her since she was 4 months old and the play gyms she has been going to where the teachers talk/sings to her in English and I felt the need to support these exposure by reinforcing her English. 

Sometimes I would talk to her all day in my language, but then I would start talking to her in English and translate that in my language in the next sentence. I did this because I thought it would help her comprehension - I figured she already understood my language to some degree and it would help her understand English better.  

But looking back now 16 months and no clear words, I think I might have done more harm than good. I have noticed 3 weeks ago that she actually didn't know most of the words that comes out in "your baby can read" The whole time, I was thinking she knew everything and that was why she lost interest in looking at it for couple of months.. 

Now that I have been labeling and teaching her the words to the objects for the past 3 weeks, the difficulty still lies in making her 'say' the words. She can point to all the animals, body parts, toys, that I've been labeling to her. But she is having a lot of difficulty repeating what I say. She just won't. She doesn't like to look at my mouth when I say the words. 

I would love to hear  your experiences with your toddlers. One of my problem is that "old habits die hard". I've been calling objects by two names for so long, I can't help using two languages as I label them to her sometimes.  Did any of you succeed in teaching your toddler to talk while labeling object in both languages one after antoher? I guess, my concern is that I she is delayed because of her own developmental issues and not my wrong method that has confused her instead. The later can be fixed, but if it is due to her own developmental issues, it would be a bigger problem we would have to deal with. 

How did you help with your toddler say her/his first few words? Did you ever label them in both languages one after another and it still worked? 






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