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Anyone communicating with dc in their non-mother tongue?

(9 Posts)
monkeysmama Wed 09-Jul-08 17:41:14

Let me explain.

I speak fluent Italian having lived there for years and been married to an Italian for a long time (not my dp). I go back to Italy many times each year and have family there and want my dd (8 weeks) to grow up bilingual.

However it does feel a bit odd to be speaking to my baby in a language that is not my mother tongue. Does anyone else in the same situation feel like this? Any tips?

MM wink

ruty Wed 09-Jul-08 17:46:29

hmm. Well my dh has ended up speaking to both his children in English, although he is Macedonian. We live in the UK and though he started out determined to speak in his native language to them, it just got hard, my Macedonian is not great, and ds, 3 is such a good talker [in English] he gets frustrated when dh speaks in Macedonian to him. However when my sister in law comes over and dh and his sister speak Macedonian, ds does start to speak it a little.
Do you not feel you can speak English to your dd? I know many bilingual kids who live in the UK so speak English, but also another language because it is their mother's tongue. It will be very useful for your dd to be bilingual...

monkeysmama Wed 09-Jul-08 18:05:11

I am the only Italian speaker - my dp is English.

I am going to stick with it - it is fine most of the time but there are just moments when it feels a little strange.

Brangelina Wed 09-Jul-08 19:03:20

It's not ideal, not least from the accent pov, as well as the fact that you're less likely to know songs and nursery rhymes in a language you weren't brought up with. Also, the language of love (as opposed to seduction) is what you yourself learnt as a baby.

However, if you have links with the country and it is important for your DD to speak Italian in order to communicate with family then I can see your point.

I'd reinforce it with lots of CDs and DVDs (I had to import a lot of children's song CDs from the UK) and mixing with native Italians wherever possibile or she'll think you're the only pillock who speaks Italian (as I'm sure my DD does re Englishsmile). Later on you can send your DD for extensive stays with relatives in the holidays. I'm planning to park mine with family in the UK during the interminable Italian school holidaysgrin, I can't wait till she's old enough!

ruty Wed 09-Jul-08 19:30:58

sorry, misunderstood. In your circs i'd speak my native tongue but introduce a bit of Italian on the way.

monkeysmama Wed 09-Jul-08 20:07:51

The accent is not an issue-I lived there so long Italians never believe I am not from the area as I even speak the dialect. But the language of love phrase touched home-declaring love to my baby in my second language just doesn't feel right. I think the solution may be Italian with some English baby love words!

I too am looking forward to the holidays tho am planning on going with dd!

The cds point is good-I've already got her lots of Italian books and several she has in both languages.

Brangelina Wed 09-Jul-08 23:19:16

For the songs, try looking on youtube or google Zecchino d'oro.

Try this

Or this

cory Mon 14-Jul-08 21:54:45

I used both my native tongue (Swedish) and English to dc's. In fact, songs were one reason I started doing this, as my (English) dh's repertoire is very small and he can't carry a tune- I have a reasonable singing voice. So I did songs in both languages. I also have a better memory for rhyme, so I've picked up more nursery rhymes in both his language and mine.

After a while, I found both languages held an equal emotional content to me.

Essie3 Fri 18-Jul-08 21:38:07

No, do it - speak Italian with your dd. It's a gift, and even if your Italian was only average, you would be able to give her a good basis to work from. As you're fluent, she'll only benefit.
Keep it up, and then when she's a bit older (and is fluent, which she will be smile) you can choose your language! She'll pick up English even if you never speak it if you live in Britain.
Accent makes no difference (and if you had tv programmes in Italian etc she would be able to pick up a 'standard' accent).

I'm bilingual; I learnt English mainly from watching tv (!) and because it was all around. I now have a son and although my DH has only learnt Welsh, the plan is to speak mainly Welsh at home, as DS will pick up English. English is quite 'dominant', somehow - it's everywhere.

So keep it up. Even if it feels strange or awkward now, I'm sure it will become normal! I wish my Italian was good enough!!

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