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Penny Peherstorfer

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I had heard of someone studying foreign languages in England and undertook research concerning the development of bi-lingual children at junior school age ie.5-10 .
I am english and living in Austria , I´ve always spoken english at home with my husband and later with my children, we are all comfortable with this arrangement and it works well for us . My children therefore have actually learnt german(dialect) from friends and kindergartenschool which has worked very well .My children were able to converse in 2 languages from the age of 3 , which is fantastic ! However their performance at junior school level is and has been weak in relation to their piers , i wish to stress that this is not a problem for me in itself  but rather for particular school teachers here in Austria !
I had heard about this particular study relating to Bi-lingual development and would be interested in hearing anything onthis subject .


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Hi Penny, I am bilingual (English-Persian), I learned English when we moved to the UK when I was around 9.5.   I spent 5 years in my teenage years in Vienna, including 2 years at 2 different Viennese High Schools. 
I would be surprised if the research says that bilingual kids are at a disadvantage at school, I have done my own research on the subject on the net and read several books before my son (now a bilingual at 4.5), all I have ever found are the advanatges of raising bilingual kids, including raising their IQ levels and their ability to learn a 3rd and 4th language much quicker than monolinguals.  In the long term they also do BETTER than their peers at school.   I had to learn German when I went to Vienna at the age of 12, although it was much harder for me to learn German than it was to learn English, this was due to the fact that 1) I was older – 12 is not a great age for learning a difficult language like German at school 2)I had very little motivation to learn German (my 3rd language) having already become an excellent English speaker by age 10 and also because I had a rough time in Vienna’s state school system.  I found it uncomfortabley strict with masses of rote learning, in fact very different from my private English education in the UK.  It was a shock to the system !  The Austraian education system is fantastic, but it is very different to the UK, I can see why most non-Austrian children would find it extraordinarily difficult.  I was already a grade A student in my native country and had climbed to the top of my class in the UK before leaving for Vienna, but still found Austrian education very difficult.  Don’t worry about your children bilingualism is a gift and in the long run they will catch up and even surpass their peers in some areas : )  My multilingual background has given me nothing but huge advantages at school and in the work place !
Sancha Rolland

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Hello from France !
My child has SLI (speech language impairment). His school teacher has asked me to stop English. The speech therapist too and now the speech pathologist. It’s true that he’s made progress in French since I gegruginly did stop but I’m intending on going back to English as soon as he’s had his next speech test to see if he definitely does have SLI.
In France it’s not a good idea to be bilingual and have SLI ! At school it seems to make things complicated perhaps for the teacher ???

Mitchell Cohen

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My wife and I are both originally from America and have been living in Israel for over 15 years.  We have two children, a daughter, Meira, aged 7, and a son, Naphtali, aged 2 and 9 months.  Since english is the mother tongue of my wife and I, we have spoken to both our children in english in the home.  Our children both started attending nursery school at about age 2, where the national language (hebrew) is spoken.  BOTH of our children had NO trouble picking up hebrew within weeks of starting nursery school and our son, Naphtali, who only started nursery school this past September already has NO trouble conversing with his nursery school teachers and other kids (who speak no english) in hebrew.  Our daughter, Meira, already prefers hebrew (as that is the language she is being schooled in and socializing in), but has a VERY high level of english.  To be sure, Meira’s english is not at as high a level as it would be if it was here ONLY language, but she is fluent and has NO trouble conversing with her grandparents, who speak no hebrew.

From the studies I have heard, bi-lingual children might not speak each language at as high a level as one who ONLY speaks one language, but it does even out in the end and being raised with two languages turns out to be an advantage in the long run.


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