Language transfer

INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCES AND HOW THEY CAN LEAD TO PARENT-EDUCATOR PARTNERSHIP CHALLENGES

Language emerges from social context. Therefore, social interaction is crucial to your child’s language development. The more time your child is exposed to a language, the better chances are, they will learn it better. There is the general assumption that children learn languages like sponges, which is correct if they get enough opportunities to learn it (Annika Bourgogne, 2015). 

Language transfer means that your child will transfer their knowledge of language A to language B. There are two types of transfer. One is called positive, when the acquired and applied set of rules work in both languages and the other is called negative, when the rules do not apply (Cummins, 1986). At some point, your child will be able to distinguish between these two types.


SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD’S FIRST LANGUAGE
• Be consistent. Speak your first language to your child, even if they reply in another language. Do not give up!
• Reply with the correct form. Your child might make some mistakes when speaking a language or might mix two languages. That is normal with bilingual children. You can always reply to them in the correct form.
• Read. Don’t skip the evening stories. The more you read to your child, the better they will learn a language.
• Meet people that speak the same language as you. It is important for children to understand there are other people who speak the same language. They learn so much from different social contexts.
• Be supportive. When your child makes a mistake, don’t mention it. Just reply with the correct form. It is important for them to build self-esteem.
• Engage in different activities together. It is the best way to learn or consolidate a language. Find things you are both interested in and have fun!