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Dual Language Learning Stages for Children Learning a New Language

Teachers and care givers who understand the dual language process and recognize these four stages of dual language learning can support the children's languages development more effectively. It is important to continue to provide support and use strategies located in the table with DLLs even as they move into the productive language stage.

Stage 1 – Home Language * Continue using their home language.

* Become aware that there is more than one language.

* Recognize that others are speaking another language and that those using other languages may not understand them.

Stage 2 – Observational and Listening Stage * Gather information about the new language.

* Might use nonverbal gestures, visuals, facial expressions, and imitating to communicate.

* Observe others using the second language and build their understanding about the new language.

* Try out new sounds.

* Might attempt conversations with those who understand the new language.

Stage 3 – Telegraphic and Formulaic Speech * Start using one or two words (“Daddy shoes and “Fish water”, which are examples of telegraphic speech)

* Use phrases learned to help them communicate (“I like milk” and “I want to play”, which are examples of formulaic speech)

Stage 4 – Productive Language Use * Start to construct phrases and sentences in the new language.

* Continue to make many mistakes as they develop their vocabulary.

* Become aware of their errors in the new language and use this knowledge to understand the rules of the new language.

Strategies to Support Dual Language Learners When Adults Do Not Speak Their Language

Welcoming and Supporting Dual Language Learners (NAEYC)

Education Development Center: Supporting Emergent Bilingual Children in Early Learning: Checklist

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