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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Los Angeles
    I am a bit dubious of our chances of successfully raising Antoine to speak/understand Arabic. It was his father's first and only language (he didn't understand a word of English, despite being born in the US) until age 5; and the language his entire extended family is most comfortable in. Antoine hears it daily, over Skype, and when the grandparents are visiting, he's spoken to in it exclusively.

    However, most bicultural children end up with aural comprehension of the second language and speak exclusively in the dominant one. It's a natural process-- both parents speak and comprehend English; school, television, conversations on the street, ordering in a restaurant, etc is all in English, but not so for Arabic. There are always Saturday language schools which teach reading & writing as well (especially important if the second language has an entirely separate script or writing system), but most immigrant kids I know grew up loathing and despising them.

    I speak French fluently but other than a few nursery rhymes it feels very contived to talk to the baby in it.
    Blade, MD

    XY: Antoine Raphael; Julian Victor
    XX: Cassia Viviane Noor

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  2. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Ok so I read your post again. One thing that confused me was I was unsure if you yourself are bilingual. I got the feeling you were not, but I could be wrong.

    I currently am single and childless (also young). I have no current desire to raise my children bilingual; however, if I marry someone who speaks or whose family speaks a different language (than English) I will try to learn. The only or best shot my kids have of being bilingual is if I marry someone who is. If I wanted to have bilingual children, I would start looking for a mate, who is bilingual so he can pass on his culture. (This sounds silly, but my cousin wanted to marry an Italian and now she is married to someone whose grandparents speak Italian and has cousins in Italy.)

    Anyway, I think a lot would depend on the culture you are trying to be bilingual with. It also would help to live in different places. A friend of my sister's grew up somewhat bilingual since they lived in both France and America. (Her friend learned to speak French, then forgot some of it, but took French in high school and was much better than anyone else in the class and picked up it very fast again.) If I wanted my kids to be bilingual, the other thing I would try is to live in an area where a language such as Spanish was spoken as well English in the community.

    Good Luck!

  3. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    I only speak one language (English) fluently and while I used to be conversational in French, I've unfortunately lost most of it. Being able to speak a second language has actually become more important to me now that I'm having a child, I'd really like them to know the importance of languages.

    His/her dad speaks English most of the time, but is also fluent in Spanish. I'm actually considering when the time comes, to put my child in a primarily spanish-speaking day care.

    I've also seen families teach two languages to their young children by repeating everything they say twice, once in each language.
    Lillian Elizabeth 6.16.13

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by emilyva View Post
    Ok so I read your post again. One thing that confused me was I was unsure if you yourself are bilingual. I got the feeling you were not, but I could be wrong.
    The situation is hard to explain. No, I was not raised bilingually, and I am not exactly bilingual.
    Let's say the language is German. My family has a strong tradition of learning German, although there are no German origins. There is a gift for words and languages in my family. When I was young, my parents spoke to each other frequently in German so that I would not know what they were saying. I have the family gift of language, so I learned a lot of German this way. When I chose a language in school, I chose German, and missed a year but was able to be top of the class the year after before skipping two language levels. I am mostly fluent, but not bilingual and I use it frequently. I stay in practice by talking to my friends in both languages and I habitually translate work or write daily lists or notes in the other language, so I am not really bilingual, just fluent. Did I explain that well?
    Caspian ~ Genevieve ~ Benjamin ~ Claire ~ Sebastian

    Caspian Bartholomew & Claire Gwendolen

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  5. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    The only way of raising a truly bilingual child (that is, a child with 2 mother tongues, as opposed to a child who speaks a foreign language fluently) if neither of the parents is a native speaker of the other language is to enrol the kid in an international school (like the Lycée Français) from a very young age. Unless the child is exposed to the language in its original form daily (or at least consistently), he or she will never aquire it as a "natural" language and probably won't sound like a native.
    Arabella, Thibault, Sophia, Alfred, Eleanor, Rémi, Charlotte, Achille, Olivia, Clement, Elizabeth, Frederick, Maud, Benedict, Adèle.

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