Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is Spanish harder to learn than English?

I don't think fathers worry so much, but all of the mothers I talk to agree--the "well child" appointments with the pediatrician are as close to a report card as we get.  I have tried to be ambivalent and accept that my kids will develop on their own schedule, but as the date creeps closer and closer, the "cramming" begins.

Right now, we are working on talking.

My husband had a month of vacation time during the holidays, so we have effectively shifted to about a 90% Spanish household.  After all, with the cold weather here in Pittsburgh, we don't have as many outings, and those that we did have were with Spanish-speaking friends to celebrate Navidad.

But wouldn't you know it--the few words that Victor says are all in English?

Talking to the pediatrician last month, she was not concerned with his limited vocabulary as the few words that he does say (bye, bye; papa, no...) were two-syllable words -- a more complex skill than the typical "nose", "ear", etc.

So I set about trying to come up with a list of monosyllabic words to teach him in Spanish.  I came up with 6:  dos, tres, seis, si, no, pez.  We're in trouble!

My opinion is that Spanish may be more difficult to learn in the beginning, but Victor will catch up quickly.  He's starting to sing along with (American!) rhymes and songs and he's super-quick with signs that I teach him and takes direction well (okay, as well as a toddler does!).

It's just tough not to worry.  After all, it is my performance review we're talking about.


Tracy Sohoni said...

I've heard that kids in a bilingual environment generally learn to speak at a slower rate, because they are having to sort through two different languages, but that at around age 3 they catch up to their mono-lingual peers.

bilingualmama said...

Yes, I've read that as well. However, my pedi suggested that Victor should be speaking 20+ "easy" words by now...he's not even close. It is confusing, as when I mentioned how these words seem to be more "complex", she backed down and wanted him to have between 5-10 by 18 months. We'll see what happens!