Bilingual Children

I’ve spoken before about how amazing my kids are in regards to learning Hebrew. How that, within the 1st few months of living in Israel, they were already able to hold a conversation with their friends, teachers and the cashiers at the supermarket.

The fact is that both kids are now fluent. They even know words in Hebrew that they don’t know the English for. Lots of dictionary looking up going on over here.


One of the things that struck me this week is that Faith tends to speak Hebrew when she is playing by herself. I often listen to her playing with her dolls or other toys and speaking in Hebrew to them and making them speak in Hebrew. She very rarely speaks to her dolls in English. She also sings in Hebrew all the time.

Its interesting to me because I don’t think Aaron would do it if he still played with his dolls and action figures by himself (he tends to prefer reading when he is by himself now).

When they play together, just the two of them, they will play in English with a few random Hebrew words or phrases thrown in. When they play together and they have friends over, they speak Hebrew mostly but they switch to English when they are telling each other what to do or fighting about something. I have to keep reminding them that they must speak Hebrew even if it doesn’t involve their friends because its rude to speak English in front of people who don’t understand.

Totally fascinating how they have adjusted.


4 Replies to “Bilingual Children”

  1. Children adapt so well. Just thinking – apparently there is the “first 7 years” thing – if a child learns a new language in those first 7 years they can use it as well as a first language as long as both (or more) are used frequently. Faith would fall in that gap? And Aaron not? Maybe that is why she has adopted Hebrew as her “first language”? Just wondering

    1. I didnt know about the 7 year thing, it makes sense though. The other night she was dreaming and talking in her sleep, in Hebrew!

  2. This is a topic we’re covering in my Linguistics module at Unisa at the moment. Fascinating, how easily children acquire language in comparison to adults!

    1. Its ridiculous how they just pick it up. I’ve been here 16 months and going for classes for almost 3 months and my Hebrew sucks!

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