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Many parents are eager to teach their children a second language, but pretty soon they feel overwhelmed by worries and concerns. Some common ones are:

Will my bilingual child be a little slower learning to speak?

Normally a child’s speech is not delayed because he is bilingual. Bilingual children learn at different speed, so some will be early and some will be late speakers. If you detect a serious speech delay, talk to your doctor, but do not assume it is due to bilingualism.

Will my child learn my incorrect accent if I teach him a language that is not my mother tongue?

Some parents speak only their mother tongues to their children, in order to foster a native accent. Other parents speak to their children in a language other than their mother tongue. It is really up to the parent to decide. Parents should do what feels comfortable and what they think they can keep up year after year.

Many children successfully learn a second language from parents who are not native speakers. Later in life those children will meet more people who speak that second language. They will attend classes in that language and they will visit the country where that language is spoken. Therefore the child’s accent will adapt and will change. In any case, most parents will probably agree that a second language spoken with an accent is better than not knowing a second language at all!

These are just a couple of valid concerns that most parents of bilingual children have. The advice given above is the opinion shared by many experts. If you have serious concerns, of course the best advice is to talk to your child’s pediatrician.

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