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What language should I speak to my baby?

(12 Posts)
izzyrubi Fri 17-Dec-04 15:41:13

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MrsBigDrumsADrumming Fri 17-Dec-04 15:50:43

WOW! Great combination!!!

O.k. your best bet is to speak your mother tongue with your dd/ds. Or in your case... which language you feel most comfortable with except for English.

Is DH first Afrikaans or English? If Afrikaans he can speak it to baby.

Don't worry if the baby doesn't get exposed to English first off as it will get to hear it in playgroups, when you're talking to English speaking friends and later in nursery/pre-school.

I am German and speak it to dd and ds. DH is a Kiwi so he speaks English to them. My family if visiting speak German to her.

Not sure which languages she hears at the childminder beside English as she sometimes comes out with the cutest words and I've got no clue what she's on about. CM and family are Pakistani. One of the kids there is 1/2 Italian so teaches dd the odd word... like the other day she came home telling me '[friend's name] told me to manga!' (btw dd is a very bad eater )

Oh and don't worry about your DH not understanding the other languages you can speak to baby... he'll pick up the important vocab soon enough ... as soon as I mention 'Windel' (which is nappie] dh does a runner

lailag Fri 17-Dec-04 16:13:18

My planning also involved which language would be more "useful" in ds and dd future. I therefore choose not to speak my first or second language.
So in your case I would also consider whether it would be more useful to be able to speak eg Spanish rather than the other languages??
As it happenes my planning hasn't really worked out but that is a different matter (and blame dh for that...)

Joolstide Fri 17-Dec-04 17:06:40

aren't Spanish and Italian similar? Probably once you learn one the other is easyish?

Most useful language is English I'd say!

MrsBigDrumsADrumming Fri 17-Dec-04 17:18:55

well you would say that Jools wouldn't you but the kid will pick up English anyhow growing up in the UK...

izzyrubi Sun 16-Jan-05 10:12:14

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debs1306 Sun 27-Feb-05 15:01:31

My daughter was born in July 2003 and I was adament that I was going to speak Dutch to her and that my husband was only going to speak English to her. That very quickly changed as I found myself duplicating everthing I said as my husband doesn't really speak Dutch and was contantly asking what I said and what it meant. Now that she is starting to talk I do talk to her in Dutch and she is picking up both languages. I found that it helps with books and even DVD's or videos that grandparents and aunties bring over when they come and visit. I have explained to nursery what words mean in Dutch and they know what she is saying when she asked for something and can't remember the English word. They are very good with her and try to encourage her to say both the Dutch and English words. They tell me what words they have used and I tell her at home what the Dutch words are. At the moment she is learning about the bodyparts and she knows all the parts in English but she is getting better at the Dutch versions as well. I think that she will not have any problems when she goes to a Dutch school when we emigrate but I am still a bit worried that she might be behind in Dutch compared to her English. Any suggestions?

steppemum Sun 27-Feb-05 21:37:43

I speak English to ds and my dh speaks Dutch. We live in a Russian speaking community at the moment. Ds is now 2 and understands all 3 languages, but speaks mostly in English as I am his main carer. If you can keep it up, speaking one language per adult is the best way to go. (although dh and I speak English together and ds knows that dh understands English, and I speak Dutch with his family) It is definitely easier if your partner understands the language you use, and it is worth taking a bit of effort for you or him to learn a bit.

I am a big fan of bilingualism, and think it is a real advantage for your child. Even if they have one language stronger than the other, being passively bilingual (understanding but not speaking another language) is also a real advantage. It takes some determination and comittment to keep it up, so go for it all of you!

There have been some great threads in the past with lots of ideas about how to keep it up, so it is worth doing a search.

musicmaker Sun 27-Feb-05 21:57:51


I have many friends who are teaching their children two languages.

They all speak their mother tongue to their child even when in the company of other people and we all speak English to the child and so does the father.

It really works, they are approaching two and they know to speak their mothers language to the mother and English to us. It really is amazing how clever littles ones are.

I think the important thing is to be consistent, they all just spoke their language and did not mix it at all at the beginning but now when my friend counts with her child who is two she counts in her language first and then tells the child "now lets count in English"

pixiefish Sun 27-Feb-05 21:59:16

I speak Welsh to my dd and my dh speaks to her in English, making some effort to speak some pidgin Welsh

debs1306 Wed 02-Mar-05 20:59:05

Thanks for that advise. That was really helpful. It is great to find mums on here that can help with things like this. Thanks again.

fanta Thu 03-Mar-05 13:38:43

I am French and have been speaking to my little one who is 3 years old from the moment he was born. He goes to nursery in London every day of the week so obviously his English is a lot better but he understands everything that I say. He surprises me now building full sentences - when about 3 months ago he would speak to me only in English. It is hard and a bit isolating to keep it up but I think it is worth it at the end - but you have to keep at it everyday! Good luck.

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