A little over 43 percent of the world’s population is bilingual, which refers to being able to speak two languages of equal fluency. Merely being bilingual doesn’t mean your child will need a kids’ speech therapist, but it does mean that you need to pay close attention to how your child learns their languages to make sure they’re on the right track.
A child with a speech and language issue can look very similar to one that is trying to learn two languages. Knowing the differences and similarities can make all the difference in knowing if your child requires speech therapy, or if they are reaching all their speech milestones as expected.
What Bilingual Language Acquisition Looks Like
Any adult that has decided to learn a second language will know that it can take time, patience, and a lot of learning. The same rules apply to a child that is learning two languages, as well. The difference is that a young child is likely learning two at once.
Therefore, it’s not uncommon for errors to exist in both languages as your child tries to grasp the components of both. They may switch back and forward between both, mix the two, or learn sounds and words differently than what is typical for each language on its own.
They may even say one sentence in one language, then another in their second language. If they stop learning or repeating one of the languages, it’s also fairly common for them to lose proficiency in it, with more use of a single language.