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Are we doing it right?

(4 Posts)
k2togm1 Wed 06-Mar-13 19:08:54

We have a 2yo who only speaks/understands the minority language, and I am worrying about what's going to happen when he goes to nursery in June, does anyone else know if we should be 'helping' him more with English? Or will he catch up quickly? Dh is British but he speaks Spanish ( my language) so we both talk to ds in Spanish, although we speak amongst ourselves in English/Spanglish and I've started reading to him books in English rather than translating them (mainly because I like the rhymesgrin)
But should we be doing more?

NulliusInBlurba Wed 06-Mar-13 19:18:30

Don't worry - he'll pick it up in no time and will probably be understanding everything within 6 months at the nursery.

However, the experience of going from a monolingual to a bilingual might have an effect on his Spanish - it varies from child to child. DD1, for instance, said very little in either language while she was going through the process of absorbing both of them and distinguishing them. She had enough vocabulary to not cause medical concern, but she clearly understood far more than she was prepared to say. Then when she was four yo she started speaking fluently in both languages (and hasn't stopped since then...).

IMO you really don't need to be doing anything in English with him now - keep going with Spanish as the home language. If he gets used to English as a home language too you might find it more difficult to maintain Spanish actively once he gets old. We've kept a rigid English at home/German outside the home language split, and it worked really well - both DC are now as bilingual as is possible.

k2togm1 Wed 06-Mar-13 19:42:27

Oh thanks nullus, that's what dh thinks, the trouble is we can't be that strict in the home as everything is in English, radio, books, friends...
But yes, won't worry about it, and I suspect he understands English but chooses to ignore me...

gabsid Sun 07-Apr-13 09:47:37

Language delay hasn't usually anything to do with bilingualism. My DS started speaking at 12 months. My DD was over 2, she just made a big jump from talking in single words at 2y 3m to speaking in complex sentences 6 months later. They are both bilingual and I have to say my DD (now 4 1/2) loves books, has a very large vocabulary and refined ways of expressing herself. Whereas DS (8) is not into books very much and is achieving average at school.

At present DD's minority language is much better than English, but I don't worry. She goes to pre-school 3 mornings per week and starts school in Sept - she will be just fine. DS's new junior school didn't even now he was bilingual, until I told them!

Your DD will adjust quite naturally, she doesn't know anything else - her life is already bilingual, isn't it?

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