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We came to Australia 2 years ago. My daughter was 1 at the time. She didn’t speak and wasn’t learning. We decided to speak to her in English so she would learn it faster since that’s the language she’s hearing at daycare, but I only speak Arabic to my husband. She’s 3 now and she’s speaking English but I’m feeling very guilty as she doesn’t even try to understand Arabic. Is it too late to start learning now?


Posted anonymously, 14th May 2015


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  • Never too late, young kids are like sponges, you will probably be surprised – she will most likely understand some of your conversations with hubby – ask her


  • It’s a wonder she hasn’t picked it up just by hearing it at home. She’s only 3, still young enough to learn another language easily


  • Yes I agree with she will definitely pick up languages very quickly because she’s young.


  • No, not too late. That’s one thing that I’ve told lots of other parents who speak another language. If your child is growing up in Australia, the last thing you need to worry about is that they will not understand English! Speak entirely in Arabic at home and speak it to her, just cut out the English at home. She will pick it up easily.


  • Never too late. she may have already picked up words and phrases from hearing you talk.


  • no it is never too late! you can use dual words for things —Say this is an egg or blah blah in arabic. She will quickly pick them both up. If you keep telling her that this object is an egg, how will she relate that object to another word, if you don’t teach her.


  • Its never to late to learn another language, dont feel guilty though, she probably understands more than you think!


  • No it’s not, she’ll pick up languages very quickly because she’s young. Read to her in Arabic, have both yourself and your husband talk to her in Arabic and get her to watch Arabic children’s movies. It’s good for her to have a second language because it can provide her with opportunities as an adult and she can make friends and relate better to children from Australian and Middle Eastern backgrounds.


  • its never to late to learn another language. My hubbys parent are from overseas and for the first few years while they themselves were learning English they only spoke to him in Czech. They then tought him English when he was about three and he speaks both languages. But he can not read or write Czech. Dont feel guilty as you have done whats best for your kid to fit in.


  • It’s absolutely not too late. Talk to her in Arabic, read books in Arabic to her… you will she will quickly catch up! :-)


  • It’s never too late for kids to start learning. You would be surprised to see how quickly they pick it up. You could start with small phrases/sentences and then gradually have times during the day that you only speak a certain language. Try to make it fun.


  • now this the perfect time to start teaching her your language! Their minds are like sponges!


  • No, it shouldn’t be too late. Many kids start learning later.


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