The Bilingual Way of Life: Fighting Language Attrition From Early On

Posted by Martin Gray on September 11th, 2019

Being deep-rooted to the traditional tree as you grow and thrive in an English-speaking culture is one of the toughest and most exciting routine children of today have to dabble in. From switching dialects at dinner tables to being fluent in school playgrounds, the bilingual way of life comes with quite a few perks. However, if you think picking up a second language is a lesson for life; professional linguists have a scary reveal that you may not like! But, if you’re also thinking, whether buying those Spanish, French, or Russian children’s books online was a waste, we have good news that you’ll definitely like!

Language Attrition
There are some life skills such as cycling or swimming that are imprinted deep within your brain, but learning a different language that you hardly ever use is not one of them. Hence, the concept of language attrition says a child can actually forget their first language over time. Getting out of touch with your native tongue, however, can be prevented by implementing a thorough linguistic strategy by parents. If you’ve found yourself struggling with your little one over native dialects, we have pieced together some pointers for you.

Fighting the Influence- Adopting new accents, languages, and attitudes when in a country far away from home is quite natural. However, it all comes down to parents or close ones helping them cope with the influence without losing the traditional touch.
Homework Time- Make language learning their homework, not just for your children but for adults too. If you’ve come across a teenager or an adult struggling to keep in touch with their native tongue, assigning them an hour’s read from their favorite bilingual books can be of great help.
Audio Books- Make learning fun and your child will pick it up effortlessly. Instead of going for run-of-the-mill books that he might hate, try some Spanish or Russian children’s audio books that are much more informational with dialects matching accents, and more.

Battling the social stigma- Help your little ones fight the battle against discrimination and teach them to be proud of their local tongue. Often, fear of bullying or discrimination frightens a child from accepting their native culture and that’s the stigma that parents need to shut down.

Encouraging the native culture- It goes without saying, encouragement of the intricacies that make their native culture so profound is one of the best ways of incorporating importance and weight to their language. Even in a foreign country, the festivities that make them who they are should be celebrated with friends and family connecting over native tongues.

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Martin Gray

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Martin Gray
Joined: July 5th, 2017
Articles Posted: 9

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