Originally Posted by calynde
Going back to the original topic of whether or not *one person one language* actually produces truly bilingual children if you are transplanted somewhere where one of those languages is dominant.
I know *many* (I might even say most "transplants" that I've met) English-speaking mothers married to Swiss who did one person one language at home. So mama speaks English, dad speaks German or whatever. Kid is spoken to in German by extended family, neighbors, classmates, teachers, carers, and dad...etc. Much of the time (to the surprise of the mother!) the child doesn't end up speaking much English...understanding yes, but speaking no. Not even to the mother...who has only spoken English to the child from day one. So, mama says something in English to the child. Child responds in Danish/French/German whatever. There are sometimes exceptions, but I have seen it play out like this time and time again. Now, whether or not this bothers you is a separate issue. We just wanted an English speaker FIRST and a German speaker SECOND...so we worked really hard at keeping an English "island" at home.
Sometimes I wonder if one person one language is meant more for families with two languages who live in a third country. Like a French and a Dane living in the UK...then it would make perfect sense to me. But when one of the two languages is dominant out in the world, the minority language often doesn't develop as much as many parents initially hoped.
We've OPOL'd here in Holland. It was, as I mentioned in my PP, an uphill battle and it's still a challenge, but DS *does* speak English pretty well. It is often with Dutch sentence structure, but he understands and speaks well.
If I had to do it over again, though, I would have tried to create an English island at home. DH and I speak English to each other and, when DS was two and it was clear his English was far too passive, we instituted English at supper time. However DH speaks to DS only in Dutch. I WOH PT so he went to daycare in Dutch and now goes to school in Dutch. It just hasn't been enough English, IMO. Despite our best efforts with books, DVDs, family from the States, etc., his English is a bit weak. That being said, it would have been really upsetting for DH to speak to DS in English rather than Dutch.
*But* we're going to the US to live for 6 months next year, and I'm working on helping DS with his English, so I'm sure it will be fine in the end.
I'm glad to hear we weren't the only ones with problems around OPOL.