Bilingual - English / Swedish

(16 Posts)
Skoggy Fri 27-Jul-12 23:19:53

Hello there mumsnet-ers!

I've only just found the site and was instantly drawn to the bilingual section for some help and advice.

A little back story: I'm English and my partner is Swedish. In January we moved to the UK with our then 6 month old daughter. I was living in Sweden for the past 4 years. My partner's English is native level but my Swedish isn't fantastic (I'm not very confident with speaking. I understand ALOT but too shy when speaking). Mainly we do OPOL but as I can speak some Swedish I do. I say things like: "Vad gör du?" but then also say it in English at the same time "What are you doing?". Now one, DD1 has begun to understand that e.g. No! and Nej! mean the same thing as well as a couple more things.

If we were in Sweden, eventually she would have hemspråk (home language) sessions at nursery to help with learning English but over here in the UK, its entirely up to the parents to teach a second language.

How hard is it to teach the 2nd language with no support from anywhere outside of the family unit? Any advice on this subject would be fantastic.

(Incidently, if there are any Swedish speakers in the North East, I would love to hear from you! We are in the Newcastle area).

Many thanks.

nextphase Sat 28-Jul-12 10:19:16

We have used trips back to the second language country to stock up on local language books, games and DVD's. Often they are too old for the kids (1 and 3) when we get them, but its a long haul flight, so we don't make it back very often.

DH also translates as he goes through a story book, so we get typical stories in both languages - tho i have to be careful not to buy too many rhyming books, or books with silly words, as they don't translate as well!

The 3 yr old has pretty comprehensive understanding, but normally speaks in English.

We're working on the basis that if we can embed some of the language now, even if they refuse to speak, the ability to pick up the second language at a later point will be enhanced - and when we are in a situation when the second language is the mother tongue of the majority of the company, we do get more of the second language spoken - tho it sounds like your languages are more balanced than in this house!

Good luck, its an amazing skill to give your kids

natation Sat 28-Jul-12 12:18:13

Skoggy, there is a Swedish consulate in Newcastle, why don't you contact it and ask if they know of other Swedish speaking families in the area?

My Swedish friend tells me Swedish nationals resident outside Sweden are entitled to university level studies for free, long time off for you but worth considering if you are still in the UK in 18 years time!

Skoggy Sun 29-Jul-12 10:11:43

Thanks for your replies.

@natation, I'll check out the consulate. Thanks for the suggestion. smile

We are living in Sweden and DDs (3,9 and 1,9) are growing up with Swedish as their first language. We do OPOL but I end up also speaking Swedish when they have friends over etc.

They don't have specific hemspråk sessions at dagis, but in DD1's group there are 2 kids with English at home and for fun they sing some english songs, or learn basic counting, please, thank-you etc.

I'm a SAHM for the moment, so their main interaction is with me (dagis is a few hours a week only). We read books, play games, watch UK tv etc. Not as a language tool as such, but because that's the language which feels right for me to do things in. We also phone/skype with my family.

honeytea Wed 08-Aug-12 20:44:12

Hej!

My as yet unborn child will have the opposite situation, I am English but we live in Sweden.

I work as a hemspråk teacher and with the children I teach I not only teach English but also try to get the kids interested in English/American/australian culture and traditions.

I intend to tell DS that all TV/films are in English till he finds pippi and baba papa and wants to watch those I know it is much easier with English but could you get Swedish kids TV on the computer for the kids to watch?

I teach kids with English speaking mothers who will not speak English (they understand but they refuse to speak English) I also teach kids where English is a 3rd language and they happily chat away in English, I think it really depends on the child.

Good luck smile

honeytea Wed 08-Aug-12 20:45:44

Oh and surrounded your kids are entitiled to hemspråk even when they are tiny. You can ask for it as soon as they start dagis smile

MummyPigandDaddyPig Wed 08-Aug-12 23:37:12

Lots of lots of swedish DVD's and as little english TV as possible. Swedish books and games... Bamse magazines... The TOTTE and EMMA dvds and books are a great start for little ones, and I also have a Bilingual baby dvd that my DC's loved when they were little.
I must warn you swedish online retailers are RUBBISH as most will NOT ship abroad or take foreign creditcards so ask family and friends to stock up for bdays and xmas....

Honeytea, how did you get that job? DD2 has dagis place now and I would like to start working again. Trying to find the right kind of thing I can do and combine with the DCs. (sorry to hijack for my own personal purposes!)

honeytea Thu 09-Aug-12 15:23:09

I applied for a job with a company called English4kids it was as an English tutor at home first but now I do some hemspråk a couple of times a week. It is only in private schools as I don't have a teaching qualification, you can work in private schools but not state schools if you don't have a teaching qualification.

I really love my job but I only get paid for the hours I work so it ends up being loads of travel time. The kids are amazing I'm going to miss them so much when I go on mammaledig.

My plan is not to go back to that job, I earn about half of what a dagis teacher earns for doing (in my opinion) a harder job. I'm going to hopefully re train to be a dagis teacher (my degree and pre Sweden carear was photography but they just don't have the same family photography here) my study money won't be much less than I earn now and I won't be working such long hours.

I'm on my phone now but when I'm home I will message you the link to the company I work for, it's ideal work if you want to do a few half days and have a little extra money.

smile

SurreyM Fri 10-Aug-12 07:38:02

Hello ladies, new to mumsnet. My guy is Swedish I am English and my soon to be little girl will be growing up in the UK, Surrey area. Dad has to work in Stockholm so will be back and forth most of the time and I really want to try and surround her with 'Swedish things' and life style/language as much as possible. Problem is I dont speak Swedish! Great advice on lots of Swedish toys and games/dvds etc and of course Daddy will speak Swedish to her. Interested in meeting Swedish Mums for chats and hopefully meet ups in Surrey or London. Tack!

Pinetreeland Mon 27-Aug-12 14:37:45

I am in the same boat! My husband is swedish and I speak next to no swedish at all yet we are keen for our son (18months) to be a fluent swedish speaker. We live in London near surrey!

So far I have stocked up loads of children's book in swedish (very very expensive compare to UK children's books!) Also we got some dvds to learn swedish but they are of rubbish quality. My DS is too young to understand cartoon so we haven't been buying those or showing those to him yet.

Would love to meet other swedish mums or mums with swedish partners!

Skoggy Wed 29-Aug-12 13:05:54

Thanks for all the advice. Seems like we are doing the right thing regards to exposing DD1 to both languages as much as we can. Farmor sent her some swedish books for her birthday so she is being read those quite often. I've been looking on Bokus to order some books as well but they are SOOOOOO expensive to ship over here! Recently I brought a sequel book for DH and, it was only a paperback normal book... couldn't believe how expensive it was! I get boxes full of Yarn shipped from the States cheaper than ordering a couple of books from Sweden. Its ridiculous.

Had a surprise the other day though. I realised that DD1 knew and recognised Itsy Bitsy Spider and Imse Vimse Spindel were the same song and knows that the actions are the same etc. I was so chuffed! She does the actions as well as she can and it doesn't matter which language its sung it. grin

DD2 is due in November so we have told Farmor to put whatever money she would spend on both girls, put it together and just buy books and DVDs for them. Clothes are cheap enough over here in UK so we'd both prefer Swedish stuff for them.

@honeytea, its nice that you got a dagis job. I'm a language teacher as well but couldn't, for the life of me, find a job whilst living in Norrköping.

Anyone looking for connections, even though I'm in Newcastle, I'm alway wanting to get to know other "Swenglish" families so drop me a line if you want.

SurreyM Wed 29-Aug-12 19:40:07

Well its great to meet you guys in the same boat? How do you private DM on here? smile

LondonSwede Mon 10-Sep-12 00:31:23

Hi,

Not sure if this will help but I am Swedish with an English husband and I am part of a group called Svenska Mammor. Svenska Mammor has local groups all over the world and many only in London for example. The groups generally meet (whoever can) once a week.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that in my group I have come across non-Swedish mums with Swedish husbands/partners. So maybe that is an option for some of you?

I know it is different as I am the mum and I am Swedish but I have been very focused on only having Swedish nannys/babysitters to make sure DS gets exposed to Swedish as much as possible before starting reception. At 3.5 years DS is now completely bilingual and swaps between the languages without any problem.

hlmbutton Sun 29-Jun-14 10:36:11

Hi
I realise this was all written a while ago, but I was wondering @ MummyPigandDaddyPig which bilingual
Dvd did you use?
Thanks

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