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A second language

Posted by: Sharmila Rajah Post(s) by this blogger

Experts say that teaching a baby a second language gives her an invaluable skill and may help her to think in different ways. It also gives her a significant link with her roots. Some say itís best to wait till the child is two or three before introducing a second language By this time she usually has a pretty good grasp of English (which is what is spoken at home) but is still able to pick up a new language easily and naturally.


It is best though to have one parent speak English and the other the mother tongue. However, in our household thatís quite impossible - mummy understands Tamil and speaks very little, which of course makes me a weak teacher. It is important for the teacher to be fluent in the language. In our case, it would be a grandparent who will teach Ayanna to speak her mother tongue. However, this remains the least successful of methods.


Ayanna at 4 months with ammachi


Ayanna has already mastered her first Tamil word Ė ammachi (grandma). Now, itís on to acquiring some basic words as in kanna (eye), katha (ears), muka (nose) and vai (mouth). Experts recommend that itís best to immerse your child in the language Ė during playtime, through the reading of books together and singing of songs. Whoever is speaking the second language should speak it exclusively to the child.


Children will go through some periods mixing the two languages in the beginning, but eventually a separation of the two will occur.

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