Meet Bella Devyatkina, who at just eight years old, speaks eight languages! She is what we call a polyglot, and she is inspiring parents around the world to raise multilingual kids.
Bella Devyatkina from Russia Speaks 8 Languages
Everyone is talking about the little Russian girl who speaks all of these languages. Videos of Bella Devyatkina have gone viral all over social media, and parents around the world are being inspired to teach their kids languages.
Bella’s language skills include English, French, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, German, Spanish and Italian, in addition to her mother tongue Russian. Next on her list is Japanese.
But her parents don’t think of her as some kind of genius, rather they insist she is just a normal child who just loves languages. And they are determined to nurture her gift for as long as they can.
Watch Bella in Action
Bella Learned 2 Languages from Birth
Bella’s mother, Yulia Devyatkina, who is a linguist, spoke to Bella in both English and Russian from birth, as do many other families around the world. It is possible to pass on multiple languages to your child, and it is such an amazing gift.
In fact, as with one of the examples used in THIS POST, her mother alternated the days, speaking English one day, and Russian the next.
However, neither of Bella’s parents fluently speak any of the other languages that she does.
No, they aren’t some super rich family. They are on an average income, but decided to prioritise their daughters development.
Learning French as a 3rd Language
When Bella was 10 months old, her parents added French as a third language, through flashcards and direct communication a few times per week.
By the time she was two, she could understand, and speak short sentences in all three languages.
As we know, the younger kids are, the easier it is for them to learn languages. And Bella’s mum realised this, and continued to introduce new languages to feed her daughters interest.
Bella Devyatkina, Little Polyglot
According to interviews with her mother, they never forced Bella to learn any languages, they introduced them in a way she was having fun, therefore it became natural to her. There became a need for her to speak each language. For example, she does drawing class in French and theatre club in English.
Before Bella was three, her parents added Chinese because she asked to watch some Chinese cartoons. Next came the introduction of German when she started skating with a native German speaker, Spanish with dance class, then Arabic, and eventually Italian through language apps.
Now Bella is learning to read and write in all of those languages with the aid of tutors.
FUN is the secret to Learning Languages!
Bella’s mother insists the secret to her language learning success is that she is having FUN while learning each language. Just like other children, she plays games, learns musical instruments, and does extra curricular activities. The difference is, that Bella does each of these in a different language, giving her the exposure, creating the need, and providing the chance to practice each of them on a regular basis.
The family also spend lots of time with other multilingual families and children, living a multilingual lifestyle. Multilingualism has become a natural part of every day life which is one of the most important things to remember when raising multilingual kids.
While there are sometimes mixed reactions from parents, from those who are inspired, to those who think it is impossible. But Bella’s mum, Yulia Devyatkina, says that she has a gift and will continue to nurture it for as long as she can.
You can check out Bella’s Instagram channel which is documenting her journey HERE.
How You Can Teach Your Child a New Language?
Bilingual Kidspot has endless articles and resources for teaching kids languages! Here are some recommended articles:
- How to raise a bilingual child
- How to teach your child a language you don’t speak
- Best language apps for kids
- Free multilingual books online
- Free online language lessons – SPANISH, CHINESE, FRENCH, ENGLISH
I hope little Bella Devyatkina and her family have inspired you to take the next step! Don’t be afraid to introduce new languages to your kids. Even if they never become fluent in those languages, there are so many benefits that don’t include fluency and the learning will never become wasted.