There are two different paths for learning to become bilingual: successive learning versus simultaneous learning. You may have heard these terms before but do you know what they mean and how they apply to learning a language?

Simultaneous Bilingual

To be a simultaneous bilingual, a child must learn two or more languages at the same time. Adults with established language skills cannot be a simultaneous bilingual. Normally this occurs when a child’s parents speak more than one language in the home. This can also occur through the attendance of language immersion preschools. There are three stages in simultaneous language learning. First a child will respond to questions, requests, or commands in both languages. They will then begin to start using words and acquiring the sounds. This will then increase in complexity to sentences in both languages. Learning a second language early helps increase convergent critical thinking when performed at a high proficiency.

Successive Bilingual

Individuals who grew up in monolinguistic homes and go on to learn a second language are most likely successive bilinguals. This is when an individual learns their native language to full proficiency first before going on to learn a second language. The learning process is different for children who learn a second language after their native language. They first attempt to use their native language and then will go through a listening or observational period that allows them to study the use and sounds of the new language. They will then move into a formulaic phase where they will attempt the new language but in small phrases, single words, or utterances. As this improves they will eventually transition into fluid language use over time. This is true for not only children learning a second language but adults as well.

Here at Crossing Borders Preschool, we provide an immersive language environment for young children to help them achieve simultaneous language learning. Enroll your child today to help them become well-rounded and successful adults in the future.