Complex Bilingual Question/Issue - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 07-29-2003, 02:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love some help from people with experience with bilingual children and/or bilingual education.

Our background is that we moved to Germany 8 months ago and I’m learning German at school. My daughter is 23 months old and I'm anxious for her to learn German. My daughter has little exposure to German right now and we’re working on that but…do you know what the effects of me using half German, half English would be on my daughter.

You see, I'm absolutely not fluent or even close to conversational. I have noticed, though, that most of what I talk to my daughter about throughout the day I could say in German. This would help me practice my German but I’m concerned about weather it would help or hinder her with acquiring both languages. I’m anxious for her to be exposed to the language because I don’t feel comfortable with putting her in kindergarten with no exposure whatsoever.

Also, I feel like she is in a very, very flexible place concerning language right now. She’s not talking that much. She’s only up to 4 word sentences and seems really curious about German. I think that by next year she will have a greater command of English and will not be so flexible about not being able to speak the same language as her caretakers and her peers.

Thanks in advance. Hannah

BTW, if there is a better place for this post, would you please let me know. I didn't see a language section.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#2 of 27 Old 07-29-2003, 09:24 AM
 
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Do it! Talk to her in German throughout the day (don't completely abandon English, although it doesn't sound like you are quite there, yet). Kids have a remarkable capacity to learn, and the more exposure you give your dd, the easier it will be for her.

In my hometown, there are a lot of illegal immigrants. A lot of their kids start kindergarten never even having heard English spoken But by the time they are in first grade, sometimes second, they can speak English just as well as their classmates. I am always amazed to see these kids do so well (and w/out formal help - the only exposure is just in the regular classroom, listening to the teacher each day).

Being bilingual will be a great help to your dd as she gets older, and starting now will help her be exposed to German in a familiar environment, with her mama!

Good luck.
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#3 of 27 Old 07-29-2003, 09:30 AM
 
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Just what I've read in psych. textbooks and education journals and observed from friends' bilingual families, no actual experience here :
Best way is when 1 parent speaks ONLY language A and other parent speaks ONLY language B. In your case, you're both English speaking parents? In that case, I'd get your daughter into a German speaking playgroup so she is exposed to German ONLY in that group. Apparently it causes less confusion this way and she comes to associate the sounds of a language with that person.

Bilingual kids are often a bit slower in language development cause they've got twice as much to learn and process but they catch up completely at some stage and then have such a huge native speaker advantage that any slow development in the beginning is considered unimportant. I'm not sure this slow development issue would apply to you though if you're both English speaking parents.
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#4 of 27 Old 07-29-2003, 02:17 PM
 
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I wouldn't bother, unless you want to speak German at home for the fun of it.

Peers have more of an influence on language acquisition than parents do. Children of immigrant parents don't speak with the same accent as their parents, but as the children on the street, in their school.

Also, children quickly learn to prefer the language of the majority. Your daughter might think that English isn't cool, that no one uses it except you, so why should she bother? Here in Canada it's common for immigrant parents to speak to children in their native tongue and to have their children respond in English or French. I say this to point out that English, not German, might be the problem in the long run.

Kindergarten isn't too late to pick up flawless German. In fact, no time is too late. It's motivation that is key, and your dd will have plenty of motivation to become fluent within a few months of starting school.

An option in the meantime might be to do activities together in your second language (playgroups or swimming lessons or whatever), or to have a German-speaking babysitter, and, of course, German-speaking friends.
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#5 of 27 Old 07-29-2003, 02:25 PM
 
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I've been introducing french to ds even though i'm not fluent. I've been reading books to him mostly. He's almost 2.

Anyways, he's starting to use some new 'words' that i totally cant understand at all. I'm not sure if he's trying out some french language skills or if he's playing with sounds and making up his own words. I think that if i was fluent in french, or if i'd had the experience of being around fluent children who were just learning to speak that what ds is doing now might make more sense to me, if that makes sense.

I'm not getting too hung up on the textbook way of doing things. I think every little bit of exposure to another language is going to be a good thing.
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#6 of 27 Old 07-29-2003, 02:47 PM
 
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I've done some slight research on this since DH is French and we live in France but want DD to speak English...

The books I've read all seem to say, in a nutshell, that no harm can come from exposure to other languages even when not spoken perfectly... at worst, she'll learn "your not perfect German" but it won't harm her English or development...

The idea of 1 language/1 person is one of the most frequent patterns for early childhood bilingualism (and one of the easiest or so they say)... but, again, most of the books I've read don't say it is the only system, nor even the best... The consensus is find a system that works for you and stick to it...

Other common systems include: 1 language in the home, the other outside the home; 1 language when "alone" or "among family", the other in social settings; or, when the parents speak different mother tongues, the person who starts a conversation always does so in his/her language and the others follow... and when the other starts a conv., it's in her/his language and the others follow; etc. etc. etc.

The keys being: (1) exposure (as much as possible) to the languages desired, and (2) consistent use of whatever (even convoluted) system works for the family.

HTH

Oh, almost forgot, so far our system is: English when alone with me and sometimes when DH is around (he understands Eng perfectly) and French around French-speakers (except for private mom-DD verbal "cuddling")... and when we visit the USA (and my family), we'll probably inverse the system...
But DD is only 7mo (or will be this Friday) so I can't even begin to tell you how it's "working"... it's just the only system that we can be consistent with because I get all muddled if I try to switch languages too fast to talk to DD in Eng when I'm also trying to talk to others in French (and DH's English is great but not great enough to make in "Eng at home"/"Fr outside the home")...
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#7 of 27 Old 07-30-2003, 02:20 PM
 
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There's considerable debate about doing this. I side with those who argue you should only speak native language with your child. It seems to have the best research on its side and it
works for me.

If your goal is for your child to learn German, then you won't have to worry. Children are brilliant, uncluttered in their minds and able to pick up languages on the playground and school even when they aren't spoken at home. She'll be speaking German soon enough.

For me, I wanted to speak to my child in my native English because I associate this language with my most immediate thoughts; because I can tell my child I love him and joke with more weight and immediacy behind each word.

I find that speaking to my child in another language deprives
me of some intimacy with him. There are times when I switch to house language or street language with my child, but these are rare.

There is a good book "Bilingual Family" by a Swedish and Irish couple that studies a lot of different approaches and has some great recommendations and comments from people in various situations (not only bilingual). It also has some good internet links for some forums where people will tell you everything the opposite of what I have said!
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#8 of 27 Old 07-30-2003, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you. I’ve been doing some research on my own and with that and from your posts, I’ve decided to not mix the languages. It does seem that the research supports one-parent, one-language and especially since my German isn’t even that good, I’m not going to mix. I have decided to jumpstart my looking for schools for my daughter so she is enrolled part time sooner than later, while her language is so, so flexible. Thanks to you all for your help. I’ll keep checking this and wanted to let anyone who is interested that I got lots of support from the AP expat group on Yahoo.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#9 of 27 Old 07-31-2003, 12:24 PM
 
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I use my own Spanish-speaking skills (halting as they are) w/ ds and have done so since he was a baby. He's a pre-teen now, and to him, hearing Spanish is comforting. We are a mainstream Anglo family, but I did not want ds to think that is the only 'normal' family type. When he was in Kindergarten he was asked (by a busybody, interfering type of Mom) "Okay, so if you speak Spanish, how do you say 'hand'?" He shrugged. I said, "Show me your mano," and he did. He lived it, rather than learned it. I use Spanish endearments with him, and it is our special means of communication.
Linguistic research aside, he understands the sound of the Spanish language as a familiar part of his upbringing, rather than a foreign-sounding thing he only hears from the Hispanic kids at school.
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#10 of 27 Old 07-31-2003, 05:03 PM
 
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It's so ironic that you posted this, since I was just going to jump on the board and post a thread on bilingualism. My question has more to do with the average speech development of a bilingual child. I know that it is slower, but I was wondering if anyone else has done it and can tell me how well their children speak both languages now.

In our case, we decided early on that we wanted our child to learn serbo-croatian, which is my native tongue, even though I grew up in the States. Both of our families speak it, it is spoken in our community and it is just nice to know the language of your nationality, IMO. I learned it at home with my parents, since they didn't want me to learn broken english. At that time, all of my teachers kept telling my mom that I won't learn english if she speaks only the native tongue with us,.......little did they know. I actually majored in English. That philosophy has been de-bunked on many levels. As far as English went, I couldn't help but learn it...with kids, in school, t.v., etc. That is the "immersion language," one that children inevitably learn and learn well.

Anyway, after doing some research, we decided to do the OPOL method---one parent one language--, because that way dd will learn one language from me and English from dh, even though he also speaks serbo-croatian to her (he's not as fluent). Everything I say to dd is in serbo-croation, unless it is a non-translatable word (Like cheerios) or unless I really don't know a particular word. When we are in a playgroup, I will speak to her in serbo-croatian, but I will also translate in English, both for her benefit and the other moms around us. I have also read that if you only use the language in the home, then sometimes children get the mistaken message that the other language is something you are embarrased about, or that it is something you should hide.

At this point dd actually doesn't know much English. Most of her words are non-English. I figure that she will pick up the English after she is more articulate in the serbo-croatian and when she starts being more social with other kids. I read somewhere that the most important years are 0-3 for kids to really get the grasp of a language. They can be fluent in a dozen languages if they are consistently exposed to them during these years. The key is consistency. I found that babycenter.com has a bilingual chat room where you can have a lot of your questions answered. There are a number of people that are doing just what you are doing. You might want to check that outl. Good luck to you!
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#11 of 27 Old 07-31-2003, 05:46 PM
 
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Hi again...
I finally tracked down a link I wanted to share...
It's the Bilingual Families Web Page. Some good general info AND a mailing list where lots of bilingual (and multi) post to discuss bilingual life and raising their children with more than one language.
Hope it helps some...
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#12 of 27 Old 08-01-2003, 01:49 AM
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Hello -

I have a 3 year-old dd, born in France to American mother (that would be me ) and a French father. She lived in France for 2 1/2 years with no other exposure to English except with me. Now we live in Central Asia where the official languages are Russian and Kyrgyz, with a heavy leaning towards Russian in most settings.

I have always spoken both English and French to my dd. I feel comfortable enough with my French that it doesn't feel "not intimate." Dh and I speak both French and English together - very often he'll speak French and I'll answer in English. My dd has been hearing this since birth.

Because of the non-English atmosphere in France, she definitely preferred French, even refusing English when spoken to her, as in "No, maman, say it this way!"

Once we moved here, she became much more exposed to English. She started to speak it as though she had always been speaking it. She still prefers French, but will hold conversations with me in English. She also picks up on conversations between other English-speaking adults and me, and will make comments in English on what we are saying.

Now she understands Russian very well. It's amazing! Sometimes she will answer a question in French, but she answers it correctly! She probably has about 20 words in Russian. She was in a Russian preschool for about 2 months, and since then she has had a French-speaking babysitter who inserts some Russian here and there. But mostly it seems to have come from interactions between Russians and my dh on the street.

Personally, I wouldn't use German as a conversational language. I would choose an hour each day where you sit down and point at objects and name them in German. There's no reason you couldn't impart your new knowledge on her; just give it some very specific structure. Then when you're out and about and you see a dog, you can say "Do you know what that's called in German - or I actually say that part in the foreign language, so "Do you know what that's called auf Deutsch?" "Hund!" etc. She'll pick up those words in no time, and like the above poster said, she'll at least realize that there's another language floating around besides her own.

If she's open to change and challengning situations, she might enjoy a German preschool a couple of hours a day. But it's difficult for most children to be thrust into that kind of situation.

In terms of how well my dd speaks her two main languages: I think she'll be slightly behind if and when we go back to France, mostly because she's missed out on the cultural use of the French language, if that makes sense. But I have no doubt that within the first month back home, she'll be caught up. Same goes for English.

The one problem some bilingual children do have is that they have difficulty writing well. They often have to stop and sort out their thoughts. I think my dh is very wise when he says that could be a good thing.

Good luck!
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#13 of 27 Old 08-01-2003, 04:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again. Yea, Parismaman, I have decided to use some German with my daughter. Like you said, I’ll give it some structure. I’ll continue to read her German books and may have some conversations about what things mean in German.

BUT, I think that I will pass on just fitting it in wherever I can throughout the day, though; for fear that she will have some language confusion.

There is no doubt that my daughter will be bilingual. She will attend German schools and etc. I was just thinking about introducing it early by myself and wondered if there are any negative outcomes of this approach (from what I’ve read, I think there are).
This post is about me not wanting to interfere with her comprehension of German because she will be immersed in the next year.

If the only exposure to a second language was going to be from me, I wouldn’t hesitate. I agree that something is better than nothing but fortunately, that’s not our situation.

Are any of you interested in the great information I got from another site? If so, I could ask permission to post their responses here.

Delighted. How I wish I had a second language given to me as a gift from my family...this is what I can give to my daughter!
From what I learned in school, I think another issue influencing what language you use at home is what dominant language is used in your culture. For example, if you live in the States, you should use Serbo-Croatian at home as there is not really any doubt that your child will pickup English.

Aster, my daughter will be 2 in September so I imagine our kids are around the same age. Aya, DD, has also been using totally unrecognizable words…and even full sentences. I had a different take on it, though. Although, it could be butchered German, I just never thought of it like that. I was thinking that maybe she has figured out how to “bullsh!t” for lack of a better word. I think there have been some times in the past what she was trying to say something, and I interpreted it differently but she still got a positive response. I think she is trying to figure just how specific language is, kwim? I know I don’t really make much sense. I just think that Aya’s "babble" is some learning stage. Like maybe she’s figuring out if all sounds are words with meanings and she just has to learn the meaning.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#14 of 27 Old 08-01-2003, 08:11 AM
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Hmmm. I just don't see the confusion problem. It would be great if you could share the info you got. Maybe there's something going on in my dd's head that I'm not aware of.

She's never confused languages. In fact, we were on a bus in St. Petersburg, and there was a little Russian boy sitting next to my dd. My dd asked me what he had on his arm (in French - it was a removable tattoo), and I told her, in English, to ask him. She turns to the boy and asks, "Chto eto?" in perfect Russian. I didn't even know she knew that phrase, nor that she understood that well that she needed to switch languages to talk to the boy.
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#15 of 27 Old 08-01-2003, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Parismaman, From what I have read it seems like most of the research is in favor of “one parent, one language”. I assume this is so the child can completely separate the languages. This would avoid the problem of something like "Spanglish".
I hope you didn’t think I was personally referring to your child as being confused! In my last post I was simply acknowledging that your advice about giving my introduction to German some structure was good advice. I have a hard time expressing myself on-line, I guess.

A bigger problem for us is that I don’t speak fluent German so, confusion aside, I’ve decided that I’m not the right person to be introducing German to my daughter aside from some vocabulary and some picture books.

I’ll post the information when I get permission. Parismaman, you could just go to the site yourself because it’s an AP parenting site for Expats! The whole tread is there. It’s got similar advice as what is here but with a little more first hand experience with international bilingual issues. There are some links too, which I’ll post soon.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#16 of 27 Old 08-01-2003, 05:57 PM
 
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I would strongly recommend not mixing languages in any way. A child who has parents who mix languages will learn to mix languages.
We have always use the one language per person approach and my son does not mix his languages. Since you are in Germany, you are better off taking advantage of your local environment.
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#17 of 27 Old 08-04-2003, 01:23 PM
 
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I've enjoyed reading this thread - such pertinent information!

Hannah - I was wondering about your family's situation... do you think that you will continue living in Germany for the long term? I was thinking if you continue living in Germany, then cultivating the English language will be your job; I doubt your dd could escape learning the language of the majority.

I started kindergarten in the US speaking only German; I aquired English in the schools. I have no memory of having difficulty with this process. I distinctly remember being the first student who learned to read, and thereafter became a voracious reader to this day. Both parents spoke only German at home to us; we began answering in English somewhere down the line...

My dh's native language is Spanish. He speaks Spanish to dd and I speak English, although there have been times when I've heard him say something in English to her, and I've said things in Spanish to her..
I think its almost hard for us NOT to cross into our non-native language at times, like we are getting more fluent in both languages?? I don't know. I guess heretofore I hadn't worried about language confusion/mixing for her; somehow, I just feel that she will be able to differentiate the two in the future.

one more thing: she is 16mon., and beginning some words. However, there is an almost constant stream of jabber ALL the time (!) with so many different sounds coming out of her mouth.. maybe this is normal, but is amazing to hear!
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#18 of 27 Old 08-04-2003, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by chocomoto
I would strongly recommend not mixing languages in any way. A child who has parents who mix languages will learn to mix languages. (...)
I just had to respond rapidly to this...

IMO, there is nothing wrong with mixing languages at all (as long as one is capable of not mixing them when speaking to monolinguals!) ...

In fact, it is extremely common (and called "code switching") among true bilinguals because there is a natual tendency in speech to go for accuracy and brevity and some things are just easier or shorter to say in some languages than they are in others... I do it all the time when I know the person I'm speaking to understands both Eng. and French because some things just can't be said accurately (and quickly) in one or the other language.

Also, mixing languages deliberately can be (and often is) a wonderful source of humor & creativity (again, when a deliberate choice by someone who knows that the two languages are different languages).

Furthermore, even with strict one-language/one-person systems, from what I've read, most bilingual-from-birth (as opposed to acquiring a 2nd language after the first has been learned) children go through a stage of "mixing languages" (i.e. saying some words in L1 and some in L2--often as if choosing the "easiest to say and have understood" words from each L) and this stage is normal, natural, and eventually resolves itself as the child sorts the two languages into two languages (which they do naturally and easily in 99% of cases).

JMO
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#19 of 27 Old 08-04-2003, 05:37 PM
 
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I know what you mean about naturally mixing languages, but I still try not to do it. There are some things that can be said so precisely in French with just a few words that require whole sentences in English (and vice versa). I make the effort to express myself in whichever language I am speaking, mainly because I'm afraid that one of my languages will start slipping. For example, I have taken up gardening since I learned French and all my gardening knowledge is in French. When this subject comes up with my friends that also speak English, we make an effort to keep the conversation in English. Otherwise I feel like I'd be missing out.

I agree with you about mixing being a source of creativity and humour, but my 3 yr old is not up for this yet.

His grandfather tends to mix his languages, not individual words but he'll tell a story or joke in English, then talk to the dog in German, and answer the phone in French. For awhile my ds would not answer his grandfather when he spoke to him, mainly I think because he didn't know what language to speak.

Ds has never mixed his languages. He has always spoken German with his dad, English with me, and French at preschool and with the neighbors and grandparents. When he was a toddler and learning the sounds the animals make, he would say them in the different languages. I put his plate of lunch on the table the other day and said "voila" and he said "no mommy, you speak English!"
When he talks in his sleep, it could be any of the 3 languages.

I am really convinced that keeping the languages separate is crucial. We have friends and neighbors that mix, and their children do not speak their languages as well.
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#20 of 27 Old 08-04-2003, 10:27 PM
 
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i work with children in a field in whic this question comes up time and again.

i have to say that from what i have studied and heard through work (from people who help us to be sensitive to a child's first and second languages), i have to agree with everything that ione said.

there are different approaches to bilingualism, and the one-parent, one-language is not the only one.

if your child has a good foundation in her first language (and your daughter speaking in 4 word sentences is appropriate and a bit ahead for her age in english), then i would go ahead, and continue to use some german with her, but do it in predictable ways, for example, when you give her a bath, eat lunch, go for a walk... ... use german. it really helps the child if they are able to predict when a parent is going to use what language.

i do not feel that, with a child who is developing language comprhension and expression typically, that there is *any* reason to avoid introducing other languages. i use simple sign language with my (hearing!) dd who is 18 months old. her spoken english and comprehension are bang-on (actually a bit ahead), and the sign only helps her to continue to develop.

so, i say, go ahead, and have fun at the same time.
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#21 of 27 Old 08-04-2003, 10:48 PM
 
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Are we ever gonna have trouble! Dh and I switch between 2, 3 and sometimes 4 languages! And I mean word-at-a-time switching.

I figure ds will acquire something in addition to English at some point, and I'm not worried about confusion. Eventually, he'll straighten it all out...and he'll have some funny stories to tell his kids about G-ma and G-Baba.
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#22 of 27 Old 08-04-2003, 11:25 PM
 
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I have always heard that one parent should speak to the child in one language and the other parent should always speak in the other language. In our case, neither parent speaks much Spanish. However, our DS hears English at home and Spanish at day care. He is 13 months old and heard nothing but Spanish for the first 5 1/2 months of his life. Since then he hears predominately English except for day care. He seems to be a bit delayed in speaking. He only says mama and dada on a regular basis. But from everything I've heard bilingal kids are a bit delayed in beginning to speak. But when they do talk, they are equally fluent in both languages. And they seem to know who they need to use what language with. It's amazing to me but I see it all the time with the kids in our day care. At least half the kids hear only Spanish at home and a good mixture of both languages at day care. Kids are so smart.

Kathi

:::Mom to 5 adult children and 8 year old, Dakota "Why do they call it homeschool, we're never at home?"
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#23 of 27 Old 08-04-2003, 11:48 PM
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UmmNuh - I just don't think these studies take into account situations where the parents are bilingual, trilingual or even quadrilingual - like dh and me, and like you and your dh. We switch mid-sentence, too! I knew plenty of European bilinguals who said their parents did this too. No problems. Perhaps we should find some European studies?

Iris is getting Russian from her papa now. I plan on introducing Italian around age 6 (to give her a break!) - that's another language that we can all share - unless I get busy with my Russian, too!
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#24 of 27 Old 08-05-2003, 05:36 PM
 
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I am bi-lingual English-Romanian, both of DD ped's have been foreign (one Philipino the other Indian) and had kids.

Both told me that she would start talking later, but as long as she vocalizes (uses words, or babbles to you about something) she was OK.

Typically they will start later but when they talk they will speak both equally flent. They also said to wait to potty train until she actually starts talking because otherwise the lack of communication could make her anal-retentive (gotta love those DO's).

"A young child in the process of learning language doesn't realize she's learning two separate languages; her brain accepts both as if they are just one. Brain research indicates that those two languages are stored and used in the same part of the brain. As the child gets older, she thinks and dreams in both languages and, when speaking, easily switches from one to the other. Along with learning two languages, the child learns when and with whom to use each language. The young, elastic brain naturally accepts this challenge and masters it. Speak two languages to your child, and expose her equally to both; it's the easiest and most natural way to become bilingual. Not only will knowing two languages benefit your child, who will be able to switch from one language to the next with ease, but also her mind will be open to understanding others and thinking in a different way."

Studies have also shown that kids that speak later are smarter. Some don't start until 4 and they only speak on language. Einstein didn't say 1 word until he was 3. This segment also potty trains MUCH later.

The "Einstein Syndrom":
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell083001.asp

A study from the UofC Santa Cruz on bi-lingual children's language development (kind of technical)

http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/ncbepubs/pigs/pig22.htm
The study suggests that simultaneous imersion (household speaks 2 languages all the time) does not stunt language development but you should wait until the first language is solid before introducing a second (if you only speak english, wait until child is 4-5 to introduce french).

Another helpful article on raising bi-lingual children:

http://iteslj.org/Articles/Rosenberg-Bilingual.html


Hope this helps!

Olivia
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#25 of 27 Old 08-05-2003, 06:00 PM
 
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great thread!

my own personal tidbit: my first language is Russian, dh's first language is Spanish (we don't speak each other's first languages - we speak english to each other)

so dd hears all three - I try to speak as much Russian as I can to her, and dh does the same with spanish. but we also have to talk to each other , and so dd hears plenty of english. dh also speaks portuguese, and teaches a brazilian martial art, so dd is exposed to a lot of portuguese.

I would like dd to eventually learn french, it's a language I used to be pretty fluent in and love very much, but that may have to wait a little bit.

I used to be worried about dd getting 'confused' but at 21 months, she talks a lot more than most kids I know. and she does day some things in spanish to me, but I don't think it's because she is confused, it's because that particular word is easiest for her to say in spanish. Like if she wants me to wash her hands, she'll say "mommy, mano.." But if I want her to give me a hand and say it in russian, she knows what I mean.

anyway, I think the more you can expose your child to, the better. they're extremely intelligent and will figure it out
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#26 of 27 Old 08-05-2003, 06:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by chocomoto
I would strongly recommend not mixing languages in any way. A child who has parents who mix languages will learn to mix languages.
We have always use the one language per person approach and my son does not mix his languages. Since you are in Germany, you are better off taking advantage of your local environment.
This is going to be a problem,because my DH does NOT speak my native language! So I will have to speak Czech to my child and English to my DH. I just posted post on this subject, did not noticed there already was one.........
I am expecting my first child and want him to learn both languages, but I am worried I will feel uncomfortable speaking to my child language my DH does not understand. He wants to learn though - he is very keen to learn. He thinks it's gonna be great way how to learn the language,but I just feel so wierd speaking in front of him in language he does not understand!

And to answer Hannah - my sister just moved to Nepal with her two children - 4 and 7 y.o. - none of them speaks any English. Kids are in local kindergarden and picking up English SO FAST she says!! They already have new friends and they ALWAYS find their way how to make themselves understood. Children are amazing in this. My sister obviously does not speak English to them,b/c she does not know much herself. But they always play with their new friends who are fluent in English and are learning from them. They have been there for about one month now and making amazing progress she says. So I think you don't need to speak to your dd in German.She will pick it up once she is exposed to German speaking children.
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#27 of 27 Old 08-05-2003, 06:07 PM
 
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My mom and I moved to holland when I was 14 months. Iwas exposed to more Dutch around me, but my mom needing to practice and wanting me to be immersed spoke only Dutch to me. I "forgot" english till I was 6 and my mom taught me some english and we came to the US for a long vacation. Then she spoke english to me occasionally till I had English in school. Then she spoke english to me full time. Right now my Dutch and English are both fluent and accent free.

So speak German to her. And if she is exposed to English elsewhere that is good too. I am not very good about speaking Dutch to DD but I really should get on it.n But that is another story...
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