“Both parents should speak their mother tongue to the baby,” explained head researcher and early education expert Maarit Silvén. According to the professor, foreign-born moms and dads should not communicate with their child in Finnish.
The results of the study show that infants already begin absorbing their parents’ languages.
“Linguistic development starts early on. Babies remember the sound rhythms and tones of a language,” Silvén explained.
She says that being exposed to two different languages doesn’t delay speech development or cause language confusion, which are outdated notions.
The vocabulary of children learning two languages may expand a bit slower than that of their monolingual counterparts, but bilingual kids have a richer combined vocabulary, according to the Turku University researchers.
The study also found that it may take a longer time for children growing up in bilingual families to form their own identity.
”Bilingual kids may have feelings of not fitting in. Challenges can also arise when trying to mesh two languages and cultures—especially when the cultures are very different,” Silvén added.