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Opinions - learning Spanish with DD?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
DD is 26mo, and very precocious with language - loves rhyming, being read to, has a ridiculous song repertoire, etc... I am Caucasian, and DH is Latino, bilingual with English and Spanish. I have always struggled with speaking new languages, though I'm fine learning and decoding in print - I just get very self-conscious. So even though I have the desire to learn Spanish for the sake of DH's family (really intimate and funny conversations happen in that language, though most speak English fluently), I've never really made the time

DH has made attempts to speak Spanish exclusively with DD, and I'm totally on board with the OPOL idea - but he can never keep it up at that level. I don't blame him, I'm sure it's hard since it's not the dominant language. I think he would be more encouraged if I could participate, too - even if that's not the ideal model, picking a time of day or something where we all speak Spanish together.

Do you think it would work if I found a program that DD and I could do together to play at learning the language interactively, and I also did a little extra studying on my own so we could try to speak Spanish as a family more? Any recommendations on programs?
post #2 of 6
i know that rosetta stone comes very highly recommended for language learning.

since your DD is young and seems like her brain is geared towards language, you'll likely need to do more than she would to keep up with her.

no suggestions for a program to do together, though.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I was thinking that, too - I'm actually hoping that doing it with her would help me relax about it, but also help increase my motivation to work at it!
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 


I am going to get Rosetta Stone - I like that it's an immersion-style program, and video-based... I can imagine DD sitting with me, and if she doesn't want to, I'll still feel like I'm advancing the cause by learning myself

I had a too funny interaction with her about it tonight -

Me: DD, I'm going to start a new project - I'm going to learn to speak Spanish like Daddy!
DD: Mommy has a new project - I'll help!
Me: Would you like to? I'd love that! You can help me learn to speak Spanish.
DD: Yes, I'll help - I'll help, Mommy. Here - uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, seis! (DH begins ROFL nearby)
Me: Thanks, baby

She was still excited about the new project a few minutes later, so DH read a picture book to us in Spanish. She got bored halfway through, but I learned the words for duck and lake and reviewed family relation words!!
post #5 of 6
I am like you, in that my family includes native Spanish speakers (though not in my actual home) and I have studied the language enough to be fairly fluent in reading/writing, but my simple discomfort with not being able to speak it as perfectly as English makes me hesitate to just use the spoken languange enough to improve!

I get bored with language-learning programs. The vocab seems limited (compared to the huge variety of things you may wish to say and verbs you may wish to conjugate, in a conversation) and in a way it feels like you're limited to certain scenarios of superficial conversation.

If you think about it, you really learn a language most naturally - infants and toddlers learn language - by reading (for vocab) and conversing (for fluency), not by "studying". My absolute peak of spoken fluency was the year I agreed to drive my friend's Nicaraguan sister-in-law to and from the preschool where I taught her son's class and she (the SIL) volunteered. We became good friends and she was kind enough to adopt a pattern of speaking with me almost exclusively in Spanish and being assertive enough to interject quick corrections when I got something wrong - not in a way that stopped the flow of conversation, just enough to end my ignorance about that particular word usage.

BOY was it uncomfortable at first!!! I had to absolutely force myself not to make excuses for rejecting her offers to come inside and chat, or to have lunch with her. I felt like a little kid, stumbling over my words, not able to communicate on the same level that I was thinking. It felt humiliating! But she exists in a somewhat similar boat, as a non-native English speaker here. She was patient. And after maybe a month (?), it felt absolutely amazing as I found things tumbling out of my mouth with more ease. Vocabulary words I had picked up from context in Spanish novels years before sprang to my tongue when needed. I often had the experience of starting a sentence just knowing I was going to stumble in the middle of it, because when I imagined what I wanted to say, I couldn't think what all the Spanish words were, or how to properly conjugate the irregular verb I would need to use...but then when I got to the tricky part of what I was saying, aha! There were the words I needed! It was so exciting! And I really think that's how little ones learn: their parents give them vocabulary by reading to them and talking to them on a level higher than they can speak, and they feel so determined to express what they need or want or what excites them that they press on despite the awkwardness and frustration, until boom! They find that people can actually understand them. It's not all conscious.

In my long-winded way, I'm suggesting that you read as many Spanish books to your daughter as she'll listen to, and look for someone to do for you what my friend Rita did for me. I know MDC has both a Spanish discussion board and the "Finding Your Tribe" section, to meet people who live near you. Or MommyandMe.com also helps local moms meet. Perhaps you guys could do things together at least a couple times a week - with your daughter, of course, and you could offer to do something for her (childcare? homemade bread?) in exchange for her helping you to learn. Of course, you could also do a "program". I just think the reading and actual conversing are indispensable.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your story! I totally agree about actually conversing - I'm fortunate in that I have DH and several fluent friends nearby. I'm hoping to use the program as a backbone - I like learning in a semi-structured way - some sense of the internal organization of the subject But I will definitely be practicing with DH and friends - and reading and singing with DD - as well!
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