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To Teach DD To Be Both Languages.

(15 Posts)
NewBabyMama Fri 09-Jan-15 21:52:43

My ddh is Swedish. We have a fabbitty fab fab fab idea for how to teach our dd (due in April) both languages so she can be 100% fluent in both.

So heres the plan:
My dh will only ever speak to her in Swedish , if she speaks to him in English , she will be corrected (told how to ask/say in Swedish).
And vice versa (I will only speak to her in English.........)

Will it work?

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 10-Jan-15 03:41:34

OPOL (one parent, one language) will work and is widely used by bilingual families.

You mustn't correct her though. That will only undermine her confidence. What you can do is if she asks something in the 'wrong' language, repeat her question back to her in the 'correct' language. This also applies to mispronunciation in the 'correct' language, you never correct them, just repeat it back correctly.

When children learn to talk they make all sorts of pronunciation and grammatical errors. Imagine how disconcerting it would be to be being constantly corrected....horrible. And that's before you factor in two languages.

You also have to bear in mind that she will probably be strongest (at least initially) in the language of the person she spends most time with and the language that is spoken where you live. If you are at home with her full time, while DH works and you live in England, for example, she will have far more access to English. Don't panic/stress about that, in time she'll catch up with the other language.

Rosa Sat 10-Jan-15 06:47:06

Agree don't correct. When she is learning to talk do OPOL however if you both speak to each other at home in English then this is likely to be her stronger language.
When a bit older read books watch cartoons etc in both languages and maybe more in the weaker language.
She might start talking later then again she might not I have 2 one was a bit delayed the other fine.

surroundedbyblondes Sat 10-Jan-15 06:58:23

Assuming that you live in UK and you and your DH speak English at home you may want to get things like cds of nursery rhymes and some dvds of childrens programmes. Even consider if there are other scandi mums nearby you. In our experience where it's just one parent speaking the language it's tough.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 10-Jan-15 07:26:29

It shouldn't be a problem at all. smile

You may find as she gets older that the Swedish will not be quite as fluent (again, presuming you are in the UK) but as long as she is exposed to as much Swedish as possible, holidays, books, CDs, films etc) she will be able to maintain it.

Each child is different, but dd (Italian-English speaking) was an early talker in both languages and hasn't shut up since

I don't think (at least IME) that your daughter will answer your dh in English. We are hard-wired to communicate, and we communicate in a way that the other person understands. So she should automatically answer him in Swedish. But yes, agree with others, that if she doesn't, don't correct (because then she'll begin to hardwire the idea that Swedish is wrong in itself) just persist in using it.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 10-Jan-15 07:29:27

Oh- you may find unenlightened people around you stressing on your behalf ("How can a small child learn 2 languages at the same time!!!!") Point out she isn't "learning" 2 languages, she has 2 languages and she is doing what one-language people did when they started communicating, she is just doing it with 2 instead of 1.

Dd's nursery teacher (and many others I've spoken to over the years) have this misconception that we are doing our children a terrible misdeed, a friend of mine listened, and now her Italian-English child goes to the local language school for English lessons, despite having an English speaking father in the house!

Greythorne Sat 10-Jan-15 08:44:46

Google OPOL.
You will find someone came up with your rabbity fab fab idea before you.

Greythorne Sat 10-Jan-15 08:45:40

Also, 100% fluent in might need to rethink what that means.

NewBabyMama Sat 10-Jan-15 09:31:51

Thanks. We already have a vast (growing) collection of Swedish nursery rhyme CD's , DVD's and Books. I will be at home with her for the first 2 years , but from 12 months onwards she will be going to a wonderful Swedish parent and toddler group with DH. When she starts nursery (when she turns 2) she will also continue going to the parent/toddler group.

Yes , we live in the UK.

Starlight9 Sat 10-Jan-15 14:05:48

I am fluent in 2 languages, my mum spoke to me in both and I can speak both.. simple. My father only speaks English but I would only see him on weekends anyways. I attended a school that spoke my mother's language and usually spoke English at home.
As far as I'm concerned, it is THAT SIMPLE.
But do not correct a child. In school if we spoke English our teacher would repeat it in both languages so we would learn smile

Good luck! Xx

mimilovell Sat 10-Jan-15 14:39:32

Speak to them in as many languages you know. I know a lot of malaysian people who can speak fluently 5 different languages, and understand others.

I speak 3 and that is because my parents spoke 2 at home and 3rd was English I learnt at school.

NewBabyMama Sat 10-Jan-15 15:30:08


I learned french at school but we will not be teaching her it because it is completely unnessasary. I think a child should learn the parents native languages (always) but there is really no point in speaking to them in every language you know. Only languages that of the child's natonallity should be taught from birth , for instance my daughters nationallity will be English/Swedish. Of cource they can learn other languages when they go to school but it would be cruel to try and ifluence 5 , 10 diffrent languages on a toddler who is learning to talk. This will more than likely cause confusion and you will end up with a child who says one sentence with each word from a diffrent language. Only native languages should be learned naturally. The rest can be covered at school.


surroundedbyblondes Sat 10-Jan-15 15:37:02

When DH started speaking his language to our DC it helped me to learn it too grin

noramum Sun 11-Jan-15 13:11:04

I agree with PP, do not correct.

We nearly did this, we speak German at home but DD replied steadily in English. The better solution - taking her into situations where she had to speak the German. So we normally go for our main holiday to Germany and expect her to speak German when we have visitors over from Germany.

It works, yes her grammar may be somethings strange but she can do it. We now ask her to speak German when speaking to us but do not force her to repeat or say "I do not understand you" when she speaks English.

NewBabyMama Sun 11-Jan-15 14:20:15

Thanks smile

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