Thursday, 26 July 2012

Bilingual Babies: 13 months

I should name this Bilingual Toddlers as Chloe is now a toddler,she´s no longer a baby and is even walking but I don´t think it has the same ring to it as Bilingual Babies!!!So now she´s walking and she´s always on the go and hardly ever wants to sit still! She´s been concentrating on her new skill so much that her talking skills have been a bit put aside. However, saying that she is still babbling and chatting away to us, albeit in her own particular language, and she is also interacting as if she´s having a conversation with us.

Her understanding is increasing day by day and I´d say she probably understands at least 50% of what we say to her, if not a whole lot more. She dances when she hears music and if we say the word dancing or bailando,she´ll dance all the more!She understands the word no, dog, biscuit and many more words/sentences. One day she put her finger in her nose so I was saying "disgusting" and pulling it out but I did it in a jokey way so it encouraged her to do it all the more!! Anyway, another day I said to my husband something was disgusting or I was telling him what she did later the same day (in English!) and she put her finger up her nose so she obviously recognised the word and associated it with putting her finger up her nose!!

The only words she definitely says are Mama(and she calls everyone Mama lately even my husband...I think she also says it if she wants something), Papa...or Dada occasionally and ma, ma when she´s eating, which sounds a lot like más (more in Spanish but without the "s")but she also says this when she wants something. She also says words that sound like "yasta" which is like I´ve finished or all gone or I´m ready in English. We´ve been reading Where´s Spot?, a lift-the-flap book, and Dear Zoo, another lift-the-flap book and also The Bedtime Bear, yet another lift-the-flap book, all of which have animales including a lion and a snake and we´ve been doing the animal noises with her. All these books are in English but my husband does the books with her in Spanish but luckily a lion and a snake make more or less the same noise in both languages and she´s been repeating the lion roaring and the snake hissing. It´s so cute! If fact for a short time, if you asked her "What does the lion say?" she´d do her little roar but then for some reason, she stopped doing it and only does it now and again when we look at the books and see the lion. She would only ever answer this question in English even though my husband spent many a time trying to answer the same question but in Spanish! It´s all very interesting to see how she´s picking up and processing both languages.

I´ve also been singing all the usual nursery rhymes and songs I´ve mentioned in other posts as well as Row, Row, Row Your Boat, we do this song sat on the floor and bend backwards and forwards as if we are rowing and she loves it! As we trying to encourage her to do the animal noises, I´ve also been singing Old McDonald Had A Farm, Baa Baa Black Sheep and How much is that Doggie In the Window?. I´ve found a Spanish version of Old McDonald too on You Tube but have yet to play it to Chloe, here´s the link: En la granja de mi tío. I´ve also been pointing out all the cuddly toys or ornaments we have which are animals and saying "This is a dog. A dog says/goes "woof,woof"What does a dog say?" "Can you say woof,woof?" to try and encourage her to say them. I got this idea from the book "Quick & Fun Learning Activities for 1 Year Olds" which I borrowed from the public library in Spanish. Dog is a hard one as it makes different sounds in English and Spanish, in English a dog goes "woof-woof" whereas in Spanish it says "guau, guau"!Sometimes she does try and say them but not always!

Here are some other resources I´ve also found that could be of help to other bilingual or multilingual families. The website Bilingualism-Matters is an organisation formed by a group of researchers at theUniversity of Edinburgh and their website offers advice and links to other resources aimed at bilingual or multilingual families.Here is a link to the webpage Infanaj Kantoj, which has a selection of songs and nursery rhymes for children in German, English, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Russian and Welsh.


  1. It's so much fun to catch up with you and Chloe! She's doing amazing things at 13 months :)
    Your story of "más" reminds me of one of Aleksander's first words: "adeh" - it sounded a lot like "again". And he used it all the time, meaning "again" or "do this" or to indicate anything he wanted :)
    Isn't it funny that even animals "speak" different languages? I think it's funny that in German both a duck and a frog say "quack"!
    Enjoy all these fun things!

  2. Thanks,Kate! I didn´t know that both ducks and frogs say quack in German despite having studied German!!!Yeah, I´m having a great time seeing how she is progressing!