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Issues in considering raising a bilingual child - Page 2

post #21 of 30
my experience has been not to believe any of the "one language one person" stuff, or worrying at all about multilingual kids speaking later.
maybe some research shows that *on average* children in multi lingual environments speak a month or 2 later than unilingual children. that's nothing. and not noticable on an individual level.

I'm Australian, so my first language is english, and I also speak pretty good German, Portuguese, Spanish and Hebrew.
DD was born in Brazil, and her father is Israeli.
I made a big effort not to speak with DD in english, as much as I could, even though my other languages aren't grammaticaly perfect.
sometimes when I don't know a word in one language, I'll slip a word from another language into the sentence.
This totally goes against what the experts say, but it worked for us.

DD's 'first' language was Spanish, since we were in central america when she started talking, at around 14mo. by the time she was 18mo, she spoke equally well in all 5 languages, though she totally mixed them up. sometimes a sentence with 5 words, each in another language

By 2yo she could easily distinguish between all her languages, and translate between them. whenever she met a new person, she'd spend a minute working out what language they speak, and stick to it with that person. If she said something to someone, and they didn't understand her, she'd keep repeating herself in different languages till they got it. Every new word she learned, she'd ask how to say it in every language.

With her israeli grandparents and family she spoke only hebrew, with my parents only english, with her german babysitter, german, etc. but with me she always mixes it up.

She even started speaking Latvian and Estonian from watching Shrek 2 dubbed on DVD, and picked up some french and dutch from watching videos too.
When we vacationed in turkey when she was 2.5, it took her about 10 minutes to work out how to ask the locals for sweets

Sadly, I got a bit lazy with it, and we moved to israel, so then her hebrew took off, and the other languages didn't really develop much more, due to lack of exposure.

When she was 4 we moved to australia, by then she spoke hebrew perfectly (for a 4yo) and a fair bit of spanish. she'd lost the portuguese and german, though still knew a few words and could understand a fair bit.
After arriving to australia, and being in english immersion, her english took off like crazy. she didn't really speak much english before, but it's come to the forefront for sure

anyways, all this rambling is basically to say go for it! even if she just learns a few words and gets an "ear" for spanish, your dd will benefit.
post #22 of 30
You sound a lot like me... DH is a native Spanish speaker and I learned a ton in school, but I speak more Spanish to DD than my DH does! I won't lie: it is HARD coming up the learning curve and learning vocabulary fast enough to keep up with DD. Oftentimes I have to go look things up or find roundabout ways of explaining things because I just don't have the word. DH and I have all but agreed that the best way for me to improve my skills is to speak to HIM in Spanish instead of English like we do now.

In addition to all Spanish at home, DD is in daycare FULLTIME: all English. As a result, DD was a late talker... by 15 months, she had maybe 5 words. By 18 months, she had maybe half a dozen. But by 20 months she was using full sentences in both languages. She just turned 2 and her Spanish is better developed than her English: her accent and diction is far clearer than in English and her verb conjugation and use of pronouns is ok in Spanish and nonexistant in English.

If your goal is to give your child exposure and a head start, I don't think that being a non-native speaker is going to hurt your child. Being 100% bilingual takes a lot of help from your environment and also requires maintenance and work on your child's part, which you can't control. I don't see any reason to discourage doing your best to pass this along to your child.
post #23 of 30
here are some websites that might help


also search mothering for the topic. best of luck
post #24 of 30
We are raising our daughter to be bilingual. At thirteen months, she had all of three words. At seventeen months, she had maybe ten words in DH's language, the language of where we lived. At eighteen, a month after moving to the U.S., she had fifty in each language. At 23 months, she has hundreds of words, forms five-word sentences in English, and can use about 50 words in DH's language, but no verbs. But then, he does not speak with her much in his language because he is a little slow in understanding that he just needs to use full sentences. We also speak a third language around her, between us.

If I were you, I'd mainly be concerned about getting her to a native speaker on a daily basis for Spanish. Is there any way you could get her to a nanny? DVDs seem to me to be for older kids- an older Spanish-speaking child for playgroups?

I wouldn't worry about bilingual, but you need to be consistent and have near-native-speaker proficiency.
post #25 of 30
i wouldnt teach a child a language that i dont know well myself.

we are teaching our kids three languages and my two year old knows hundreds of words in all three with no delays. quite the opposite she speaks better than most kids her age and started speaking it before others did. i dont see how it can do any harm.
post #26 of 30
I haven´t read all the responses but they see very pro second+ language learning at young age as I am.

I just wanted to add my experience. I am an american mother of three small children living in Brazil. My husband is British, so we speak..... three languages in our home

My eldest is very adapt at speak the variety of languages we have. My son generally dominates one and the other he does well. When he was younger he spoke mostly portugues but now he goes to a british school so he speaks...as we say like daddy does. My youngest only speaks to me in english rarely in portugues but exclusively in portugues at her little pre-school.

There are variables in all of this the child, the enviroment, the language ect...

My two eldest are taught in a school where the great majority of teachers English is their second language most of the students speak with a strong portugues accent which might be their limited exposure (only during school hours) or the influence of the teachers.
I see no disadvantage even if you spanish is not perfect the kids in my children´s school are learning english and the graduates of the school are able to study at universities in the USA and UK.

Last but not least 13 months is still very very young for many children to have strong verbal skills.

Good luck
And Hey/Oi to all those connected with Brazil
post #27 of 30
I have spoken only French (my second language) with DS since birth. DH speaks only English, and English is our community language. My French is quite good, but not perfect, so I do have occasional moments of frustration. E.g. "Oh, you want to know what that is called? Uh, it's a thing, sweetie. Yeah." (Thank the French slang deities for whomever came up with the word 'truc.')

DS was in a similar place to what you describe at 13 months. Understanding both languages, saying a couple of words. He is now two and his receptive language is fantastic (he clearly understands both languages very well) and his expressive language is less than his peers, but is within normal range. DH was extremely slow to talk and didn't suffer for it, so there could be genetic factors, too. We aren't worried. He will talk more when he is ready.

This approach has its limitations, of course, but it is working for us. We recently switched DS to a French daycare, which I trust will give him exposure beyond what I can provide, and we have access to French schools here, too. At some point we may add Spanish (my third language.)

I would say that the biggest downside of all of this is that it is exhausting for me! It is hard to speak consistently in a weaker language (it reminds me of when I lived and worked in a non-native tongue -- so tiring!) but OTOH, it's good practice. Rust can't cling to a tongue in motion.

In short, I don't think you are harming your DD at all.
post #28 of 30
Pi, love the quote you have in your signature. Is that from the Pursuit of Happiness? Your French must really be improving.
post #29 of 30
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Pi, love the quote you have in your signature. Is that from the Pursuit of Happiness?
Thanks. I don't think so, unless they quoted Russell in the film? (I haven't seen it.) Russell was a philosopher who did a lot of work in the philosophy of mathematics, and I could claim that's partly why I'm quoting him, but really, I just liked the quote.
post #30 of 30
Sorry, I meant "The Conquest of Happiness"! I have never seen (or head of) a movie called "The Pursuit of Happiness." Russell wrote "The Conquest of Happiness", which I liked in most parts, except for some of the psychobabble where he really got beyond his area of expertise.
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