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To raise my youngest DC bilingual

(88 Posts)
SpagBogs Tue 21-Jan-14 22:58:25

I bought this up with DH, I want to raise my youngest DC bilingual and teach them their mother tongue. My DTD are 5wo so I was thinking I would speak to them in my native language and DH speaks English with them; but DH says they will get a foreign accent and how they're living in England should speak English. Opinions?

antimatter Tue 21-Jan-14 22:59:45

nah to comment about foreign accent in English
your DH is wrong
if anything - they will speak your language with English accent grin

Dromedary Tue 21-Jan-14 23:01:40

They won't get a foreign accent. I had some foreign friends who were in the Uk for a few years and always spoke to their chilren in their language, but their children went to school here and spoke fluent English with a UK accent. I've known a few others in similar situations. There's no way your children will speak in a foreign accent just due to their mum! Your only problem will be trying to get your children to speak back to you in your native language, as some children resist and will only speak English.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 21-Jan-14 23:02:08

FGS, he really is a bit silly. OPOL is a recognized method and no, the DTS won't get a 'foreign accent'. They will speak as you speak if you are the one speaking to them. DD for example, had an English accent until she went to preschool. We live in Canada. Now it's all 'wader' for water and so on. <shudders>

anothernumberone Tue 21-Jan-14 23:02:38

They will not get a foreign accent. Definitely do this. It is brilliant for language development. There are literally no downsides. I lived in a country when children routinely spoke between 3 and 5 languages. It is actually relatively rare in a worldwide context for people to only speak one language but common in the English speaking countries.

sammythemummy Tue 21-Jan-14 23:04:00

That's ridiculous, I speak three languages fluently and have no accent (ok a slight English accent on my mother tongue).

Do it, that's one of the greatest things you could give to your children.

SuperLovefuzz Tue 21-Jan-14 23:04:05

I'm so surprised that anyone would see being bilingual as anything but a positive shock
A few guys I went to school with who are Mexican (moved to UK about she 5) can speak fluent Spanish and they don't even have a hint of an accent, except when speaking Spanish.
Even if your DTD did develop a bit of an accent while they're small, who cares?!
Another positive is the guys who went to my school were able to sit exams for Spanish without taking any classes. So a guaranteed pass and an extra GCSE/A level with 0 work!
And congrats on your babies!

PerpendicularVince Tue 21-Jan-14 23:06:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jan-14 23:19:54

Show your (daft) DH this.

WidowWadman Tue 21-Jan-14 23:26:37

They won't get a foreign accent. That said, my daughter speaks German with a Yorkshire accent...

Do it - it's hard work, but it's rewarding. It's about more than just the language. It's culture, roots etc.

Linnet Tue 21-Jan-14 23:28:44

I have friends in London, wife is French, husband is Scottish. Their DD is 3 and speaks with an English accent. Her mother speaks to her in French her dad English and she answers back in either language, perfectly well.

I have other friends who are Polish. They speak Polish at home to their children and the children learnt English at school, they are all fluent and they speak English with a Scottish accent which they picked up from their teachers, friends etc.

Boobybeau Tue 21-Jan-14 23:32:20

I've been told that speech therapists actually encourage parents to speak to their children in their mother tongue. Apparently it's been shown that the child's speech is better in families that do this as the parents speech will always be better in their mother tongue.

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jan-14 23:36:05

My elderly relatives all learned English as a second language, Gaelic being their native tongue, and such Highland Scots were always reputed to have the purest English of anywhere in the UK. Your husband doesn't know what he's talking about, I'm afraid.

foreverondiet Tue 21-Jan-14 23:40:59

Well I am Scottish and my kids sounded Scottish until they were 3 (ie when they started nursery) and then within a year sounded English. I think your DH is wrong, once they start school will have english accent. What language is it?

Weegiemum Tue 21-Jan-14 23:41:29

Do it! Dh and I are both monolingual but we've had the huge benefit of a bilingual school available and all 3 of our dc are fluent in both English (home) and Gaelic (school). It's a huge gift to give your children, and accent goes with where they live! I'd 3 fantastically softly island spoken dc, then we moved to Glasgow! Within a month ds was asking for "chups" for tea and wanted "mulk" to drink!!

justalilmummy Tue 21-Jan-14 23:45:30

No I think u should speak ur language to them
They may live in England but they are part of wherever ur from and I totally agree that side of them should be acknowledged
They should know about both cultures I know plenty of people bought up this wAy

Jinsei Tue 21-Jan-14 23:46:32

Your DH is being an idiot. Bilingualism has many advantages, and not just the obvious ones. I know lots of bilingual kids who have grown up here in the UK, and none of them have a foreign accent - not that it would matter if they did!

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 21-Jan-14 23:50:34

Yes, please do bring your children up to be bi-lingual if you are able to. It's a fantastic life skill and I think your husband's 'accent worry' is unfounded.

LongTailedTit Tue 21-Jan-14 23:59:04

Definitely do it - DH's parents decided not to teach their DC their other language apparently due to some 70s notion of language confusion. DH actually resents the lost opportunity.
Also, FIL will occasionally speak his native language with visiting friends/family and his DC all sit around completely silent as they can't join in and have no idea what's being said. sad

Greythorne Wed 22-Jan-14 00:05:55

Is your husband against your language / culture generally?

If so, I fear your ambition to raise your DC bilingual my might run into trouble.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 22-Jan-14 00:10:43

They will have DH to talk to and you'll be surrounded by English people so I think they'll cope.

As you didn't try this with your older DCs it seems a pity not to go for it this time round.

superram Wed 22-Jan-14 00:18:21

Everyone I know who is foreign speaks to their children in their mother tongue-why wouldn't you. Otherwise many would not have a relationship with gps.

One family, mum and dad speak their own (different) languages to dc but English to each other (and dc). Trilingual dc with English accent.

Gatogris Wed 22-Jan-14 02:23:35

Your DH is wrong. They won't have an 'accent'.

caruthers Wed 22-Jan-14 03:10:13

When I lived in Rochdale many of the Asians definitely had accents that were not Rochdalian and they were bilingual.

Has the language got to be taught in a certain way for it to be accent free?

AdoraBell Wed 22-Jan-14 03:19:59


DCs will speak as they hear others speak.

Example, my DDs speak English with us in the way we do, but at school they slaughter the language sound just like their Chileno classmates for whom English is a second language. And their Spanish is "proper" Chilean Spanish.

Being bilingüal will be an advantage To them, do it.

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