The concept of bilingualism from a very young age.
Babies are gifted for languages and are totally capable of understanding and of even being bilingual, very early on, since they are all born with the capacity to discern every sound of any foreign language, in the slightest detail and to a very high degree.
It is certain that a very young child has the capacity to hear, to memorise and to reproduce sounds that an adult ear can no longer distinguish. The earlier, the more frequently and the more repetitively a child is exposed to a foreign language, the easier it will be for that child to acquire the same learning mechanisms as with his or her own mother tongue. The child will thus be capable of repeating perfectly the sounds, the accentuation and the melody of a second language.
In a family environment where the parents are bilingual it is important for each parent to naturally speak his or her own mother tongue to their child, and only this language, to allow the child to distinguish between the two. In this way the child will be able to gradually speak both parents’ languages, with no confusion whatsoever, after a short period where the two will have been mixed up indifferently. The child therefore evolves in this environment with absolutely no difficulty and his or her ear develops much more than a baby who is always exposed to the same sounds.
But what about a couple of French parents who are convinced of this highly developed capacity that a very young child has to learn a second language ?
How do they initiate their child in English when the parents themselves don’t speak the language or don’t have the time to do so ?
A suggestion : have a young au pair girl look after your little one at home for a total immersion in the English language. That’s a good start… But what about the socialization of the child, the need to learn to share, and to respect oneself and the others in a group ?
The solution : Le Monde & Petits !