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is it ever too late to teach your kids your mothers tongue ???

(18 Posts)
Denmark Sat 02-Jun-07 18:24:40

My children are 3 and 2 years old and I have not spoken to them in my native language a lot (in fact almost nothing) is it to late to start ? They can count to ten in my language and say a few words but I do not think they understand. If I do speak they look at me, and are probably thinking what is going on here. They at the moment speaking french (my partner native language, we live in france) and english since we been living in england and ireland before and my partner and I speak english to each other. Because my french is not strong enough at the moment.
Is it ever to late to start ?????

Twiglett Sat 02-Jun-07 18:28:48

no never too late to start

although raising a tri-lingual child will be difficult I would have thought .. maybe you could just sing songs and play some danish games

its 'mother tongue' by the way not 'mother's tongue'

Denmark Sat 02-Jun-07 18:37:51

my writting is not very strong after 12 hours with the kids, maybe I should write in the morning. But then again english is not my mother tongue. I do try to sing in danish but they just say no maman in english PLEASE and they watch some danish dvd's, but I do find it difficult. My mother is also telling me that my danish is not so good any more, I mix it up, put the words in the wrong way so I am not so confident anymore. Maybe I should try to speak to myself first .

maisemor Mon 04-Jun-07 10:56:53

I don't think it is too late. I remember from a previous thread that you said that mormor og morfar only speak to them in Danish, so it is not as if they are completely unaware of the language. Also because you show them the Danish dvds.

It really is something that you need to want yourself though, and believe in.

Do they complain when they watch the dvds that are in Danish?

The more you speak Danish with your children the better your Danish will get as well.

It does sound a bit as if you are forgetting about Danish and prioritising French and English.

admylin Mon 04-Jun-07 11:10:56

They might complain later like my 2 dc do now. We live in germany but speak only english at home, however dh is Indian and speaks 3 languages from over there (Hindi, Urdu and Bengali). The dc now complain because they say if dad had spoken to us from birth in Urdu for example, it would be so much easier - now they are going to have an hour private tuition with a student to learn some basics.

prettymum Mon 04-Jun-07 11:19:43

i nee sme help here too. my mother tongue is bengali and my partners i jamaican. i dont speak to my family anymore so am rarely speaking bengali. i want my children (2.6 and 10months) to learn bengali but i dont know were to start! my bengali is starting to get rusty aswell

admylin Mon 04-Jun-07 11:23:49

It's not too late, just start now - all the day to day things you do, comment on them in bengali. My ds picked up loads of words in Dhaka like drink, hot, cold, play, all basic words from daily use. He's lost it all now (he's 9) and he really regrets it but dh never has time.

maisemor Mon 04-Jun-07 11:28:39

I sometimes went around it is "tree/car/house/black" in English and it is "trae/bil/hus/sort" in Danish. Then getting them to say the same. Just whatever you are looking at, their toys, furniture, kitchen utensils, depending on where you are, inside or outside. Especially a good game if you are driving. Who knows what 2 is in mummy language, know who knows what it is in daddy language, or nursery language.

If you usually read them a goodnight story, insist on it being in your language. Start with picture books, so you can go through the pictures and name them in your language. Lots of praise of course when they get it right.

Hope that helps.

maisemor Mon 04-Jun-07 11:29:17

Just remember it aint going to happen overnight, and it will be hard work on your part.

prettymum Mon 04-Jun-07 11:32:40

im trying to start now, my dd loks at me wierdly when i use bengali words and goes 'mummy stop it!!'

SSSandy2 Mon 04-Jun-07 15:42:33

Denmark is such a lovely country for holidaymakers with dc and they are so nice to dc there, I would try spending longer periods in Denmark with them. When they are interacting with Danish dc and hearing Danish spoken all around them, I think they will WANT to learn the language more. At the moment it isn't really necessary for them and they perhaps can't be bothered learning a third language if they don't see an actual need for it IYSWIM?

maisemor Tue 05-Jun-07 09:52:11

We are indeed very nice people SSSandy2

startingover Wed 06-Jun-07 07:30:17

I wholeheartedly agree with SSSandy2 - sell them your language positively. You're already doing DVDs - keep that going, get them sent out from Denmark, so they have the right language option on them and don't let the kids realise they can choose ! What about magical books from when you were little? What lovely relatives/friends can you have visit, so they relate Danish and wonderful moments/people? Oh - and have you tried playing computer games and using Danish websites with them?
Personally, I'd say the more languages the better - they give you more options in life and a better connected brain .

BeatrootandBenedick Wed 06-Jun-07 07:33:48

I met some trtilingual children while on holiday.

Greek, English and French - extraordinary.

I woulod take your kids to your country as often as possible and stay the summer there - or if you cannot let them stay with family once they are older - this will encourage the second language

we are sending our kids to stay in the greek mountains with their uncle.

admylin Wed 06-Jun-07 09:38:15

My dh was brought up speaking 3 languages. He says he feels as if there isn't one single language that he really masters as a mother tongue language.
I think it's really important for them to have one main language even if they are brought up bilingually.

Anna8888 Tue 19-Jun-07 07:26:51

Denmark - there is a fairly recent book (2006) called "Le Défi des Enfants Bilingues" by Barbara Abdel-Bauer that you should read. It will help clarify your thoughts.

NovMum05 Wed 20-Jun-07 07:41:47

My dd is almost 19 months and i feel like it's a mess teachin gher all the languages. she learns english from the tv, i speak to her in formal bengali as well as spoken bengali cos my parents speak one type and dh's another, it must be so confusing for the poor love! lol. gonna try just 1 type of bengali and let her learn her english bits from the tv until she goes to nursery.

Yanka Wed 20-Jun-07 10:30:57

A mum of tri-lingual child here - My 2 year old DD finds it completely natural (as she does not know any different) that her daddy speaks to her one language (Danish), her mommy another one (Czech) and that everyone else speaks English. She tends to use the correct language with appropriate people, although she has a prevalent language which is currently Czech, but I expect as she starts nursery/school English will become her language of choice

Having lived in the UK for over 15 years now, I have also initially found it quite strange talking to my baby in Czech. Fortunately I started from when she was born so she couldn't complain .
I definitely agree with the long 'immersion' stays in Denmark. You will be amazed how quickly they will pick up the language.

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