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Bilingualism

(12 Posts)
silvina Wed 03-Aug-11 08:09:52

My husband is english and I'm a spanish speaker.
When our son was born, we lived in BA for a while and then we moved to England when our son was one.

I start worrying about the language. As we were going to be surrounded by english speakers, english would be much more influence than Spanish, I was afraid that with time he lost one language and he wont be able to communicate with my family.

So I start talking to him in Spanish. All the time, I don't change this rule even if there's people around. He is 2 now, and he doesn't make sense when he talks most of the time but he started to catch some words from both languages, which it is amazing!
I found very useful being bilingual for my life and I really want that for my son. He can travel around the world easily with these 2 languages and it will be great.

We read this book that help us a lot to understand more about this subject, which I recommend because its fantastic. Its called "The Bilingual Family: A Handbook for Parents". Has a lot of examples and its very easygoing and interesting.

So if you are thinking in raise your child bilingual, go for it, its hard work yes, but it's a gift for life!

Silvina

fastweb Wed 03-Aug-11 08:22:37

It's perfectly possible to do without buying a book though.

My almost 11 yo is actively bilingual (English and Italian) and I have only ever used free resources by swapping ideas with other parents, reading blogs, website etc.

In fact I think getting a range of opinions and information is probably a better idea than buying a single resource. Individual kids are unique, family's have highly detailed individual circs and a book may be promoting a philosophy or methodology that is not the best fit for the person reading it.

Nothing wrong with buying a book, but rather than recommend a particular one I'd say best to have a good look at the whole range of what is out there and pick a "paid for" resource that best reflects your needs and circumstances. Because there are a hell of a lot of variables.

Having read the less postivie reviews of the above book, it wouldn't have been one I would have considered, because I am very "practical application" orientated and by the sounds of things it doesn't do that brilliant a job at focusing on that aspect.

silvina Tue 30-Aug-11 15:37:26

Fastweb: Everyone has their own way. I´m recommending something that was very useful for me. Maybe not for you, but yes to other mums. Friends of mine read it and loved it.
I use practical application every day, I talk to my son in my language and I didn´t learn that from the book of course!

Mumtobe0211 Thu 01-Sep-11 00:47:16

I was very interested in reading this topic. I'm in the same situation, I have a 6 month's old baby, I'm Spanish and his dad is English and can't speak Spanish, we live in the UK. I'm worried that my son will not learn Spanish, I work full-time and my son is being looked after his dad so the exposure to Spanish is very limited as I only see him in the evenings and weekends. I try to speak to my son in Spanish but sometimes I find myself talking to him in English because there are English people around. I'm trying to change that and do as you said and speak in Spanish no matter who is around. I will definitively look at the book you recommended, any tips of ideas, books, practical applications are very welcome. Many thanks!

silvina Thu 01-Sep-11 08:53:24

Hi Mumtobe0211.

Si, definitivamente estamos en la misma situación!

My kid started talking a lot a couple of months ago. He started later but now you cant stop him! he talks all the time! Normally he doesn´t make sense but now he is saying a lot of words in spanish, a lot in english as well of course, so its working.

I bought films in spanish as well. All Disney films in spanish.
My kid has 2 years old, so maybe your baby is a little bit young for this, but I remember since he was a baby he loved Pocoyo. And you can find this programme in Spanish in youtube!
You can maybe ask your husband, maybe in the future to put spanish films to him instead of english? If you tell him how important is for you, he will do then.

Songs, books anything that you think it will help just do it, in the limited time you have. Its something and it will stay there.
I know its hard, always the feeling that you are never doing enough.
But any little input, its an input anyway!

Que seria de ser madre sin la culpa atormentadora no? ja

You are right, sometimes I feel that you have to speak english because there´s a people around. I don´t care if they think it´s rude. It´s more important for me that my son learns my language so he can communicates with his grandparents and roots every time we go to Argentina.

I´m glad to help if I can. Asi que cualquier cosa me decis, mandame email o algo asi!

dirtgirlworld Thu 01-Sep-11 21:02:16

Im a welsh speaker but live in england, DH speaks english to our DS nearly 2, i speak to him in welsh.think his speech is a lot slower than most kids but he also says little bits of both language! I think its a brilliant idea to teach them your first language! Although ive had a lot of people say to me why speak to him in a language no-one uses shock but i communicate with the whole of my family in welsh so if only he can speak to me in welsh thats fine. Plus we can be mean about DH when he's older wink

pranma Sat 03-Sep-11 20:05:10

My dgd is bilingual in Turkish and English.Until the age of 4 she was equally fluent in both languages but once she went to school[lives in Turkey-Turkish mum]she began to refuse to use her English at all even to my son who usually speaks English to her.He is very fluent in Turkish and dgd knows this so sees no need to use English.When she was here on holiday she spoke English to her much younger cousins but was monosyllabic with me.On the phone it is just Yes,No etc though she understands absolutely everything but she is 12 now and I despair of ever having a proper conversation with her.

Greythorne Sat 03-Sep-11 20:11:25

pranma
that is so sad!
My dh is French and we are raising our DC bilingually...lots of people comment on how "useful" it is and how "lucky" they are.
But my biggest motivation is not good jobs in the future or better exam results in foreign languages but that they can converse with their relatives!

So sorry your dgd can't have a good chat with you.

pranma Sun 04-Sep-11 15:53:28

I have tried to learn Turkish but its very hard.

silvina Wed 07-Sep-11 08:21:13

Hi pranma, I read that there's times that kids don't want to speak one of the languages because they feel embarrased or they don't want to be different.
I know an argentinian family that the parents speaks spanish and the kids reply in english. They understand everything, they just dont want to talk and you can't force it, its worst.
Dont worry, its frustrating but remember, its all there, one day, when she is ready she will, maybe when she is a little bit older and she realizes how useful it is for her speaking both.

belgo Wed 07-Sep-11 08:22:28

'It's perfectly possible to do without buying a book though.'

grin that is such a typical mumsnet response!

InmaculadaConcepcion Wed 07-Sep-11 13:51:54

There's a whole section on bilingualism here if you want to explore more ideas.

DH and I are trying to encourage DD to at least have a working knowledge of Spanish. Neither of us are Spanish, but we lived there for a couple of years or so and DD was born there. She's 19 months now and her speech has blossomed over the last month - in both languages.

DH probably speaks to DD in Spanish 70% of the time, me about 15% of the time. I also take her to a Spanish playgroup weekly during term-time. I agree it's a great thing to do and magical when the LOs start "getting it". smile

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