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Thread: Bilingual household
June 15th, 2013 02:42 PM #26Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
We are an English speaking household, but we live in Finland. I am making an effort to learn and speak Finnish, so when I am out of the house with the kids I speak as much Finnish as I can so they get used to hearing it around them. My youngest 2 go or will start at Finnish nursery this autumn and my eldest will start learning Finnish at his English school next autumn. My second son already does quite well in Finnish, especially understanding it, because of his nursery. I know they'll probably never be fluent but I hope they will be able to function in Finnish soon.
I was quite happy because this week my son got a bit confused in a shop and lost sight of me and starting shouting for me in Finnish, because I think subconsciously he knew everyone around him spoke Finnish and I try to speak Finnish to him when we're out.Mum to Mousie, Foo, Bumptious and Pudding.
June 15th, 2013 03:01 PM #28
I was spoken to only in Spanish at home. I watched tv in English and school was in English. I consider myself bilingual and the future hubs and I plan to do the same for our future children. Spanish only at home, English every where else. I was never confused or mixed up or behind and hit all the speaking milestones as normal. It can be done. But it has to be consistent and intentional from birth. Otherwise it doesn't work.Mi corazón Zoe Milena
June 15th, 2013 10:50 PM #30Senior Member
- Join Date
- May 2012
I'm proficient (as opposed to fluent) in Hebrew, but DH's conversational Hebrew is weak. We both went to Jewish day schools where Hebrew language was part of the curriculum, and classes in subjects like Bible and Jewish law involved a lot of Hebrew translation: we pray daily in Hebrew, read the Torah in synagogue in Hebrew, etc. We both pepper our English with a fair amount of Hebrew and Yiddish words, which is common for Orthodox Jews. But even with the education, how well a person ends up conversing in the language really varies. I can read Harry Potter in Hebrew or get directions on the street in Jerusalem, but DH definitely can't.
We read the occasional story or watch the occasional video in Hebrew with DD (who's 3). So by now she knows a fair number of Hebrew words and several of the letters. We're sending her to a new Hebrew immersion playgroup this fall that is just opening in the neighborhood: even if her fluency doesn't last, she'll have an important foundation and it'll be good for her brain. She's been watching Mickey Mouse on youtube in whatever language pops up (Polish, Greek, Spanish) and doesn't seem to blink when whatever vid she's watching isn't English, so I'm pretty sure she'll do ok. I'm happy to read with her or even try to talk if it will help what she learns stick.
The people I know who try to raise their kids bilingual designate one parent for each language, and make an effort to have books and music and so on in both.
June 16th, 2013 12:38 AM #32
I'm fluent in Polish, while my husband only speaks English. We plan on raising our future children to be bilingual. I will only speak to them in Polish and he in English. My parents will also only use Polish with them. I know it'll be tough with my husband being only monolingual, but I figure anything they get will be good for them.Expecting boy #2 this summer
June 16th, 2013 04:29 AM #34Senior Member
- Join Date
- May 2013
I'm pretty sure the most tried-and-true method is to have two parents each speaking a different language. /However/ I am friends with a couple, neither of whom speaks French. But a friend of theirs starting speaking to their daughter in French for an hour a few times a week, and they enrolled her in Maternelle, which runs from age two-ish to kindergarten and is entirely in French. I also work with a lot of Spanish-speaking children whose home language is Spanish, and who don't start learning English until later. Their English isn't perfect for four year olds, but it is a little better than the girl I know who is learning French, and they are mostly comfortable hearing English, even if they prefer speaking Spanish. Again, I think two languages at home is the best way to go, but there are alternatives.