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#1 of 17 Old 03-18-2008, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my family lives at greece (i am greek so i speak greek) and my husband is from congo and he speaks french.my baby(17m) has a month now that speaks several words in greek.but i want introduce her also at the french language.how can i begin and when?do you have any ideas?

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#2 of 17 Old 03-18-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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We introduced 2 languages to our children from birth (English and Swedish) using a common method called one parent one language, so each parent speaks their native language. I would just start with having your dh speak French with your toddler, and she will eventually pick up some French words too. I would start right away, she will pick up both languages very easily at this age. My 5yo dd is fluent in understanding both, but because we live in Canada, her Swedish isn't as strong, but always improves after a trip there. My 2yo dd understands both languages equally, but doesn't say many Swedish words yet.
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#3 of 17 Old 03-18-2008, 11:32 PM
 
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We also do OPOL and each speak our mother's tongue with our daughter.
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#4 of 17 Old 03-20-2008, 02:55 PM
 
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I speak English and my DH speaks tagalog to our DS (23 months)...and we've done so since birth. DS has some words that he will only say in English and other words he only says in tagalog. It's important to me that he knows both since half of his extended family speak tagalog.
I would start talking to your DD in French as much as you can...they pick up on language so quickly at this age...it's really exciting!
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#5 of 17 Old 03-21-2008, 01:38 AM
 
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I was going to say OPOL.

A friend of mine speaks Malay as well as English and Arabic. Her DH speaks English and Arabic. Because she wanted them to get exposed to all three and her DH works really crazy hours, she switches from day to day. So Monday is Malay, Tuesday English, Wednesday Arabic. She said that her girls understand in all three, but speak mainly English (live in US), followed by Arabic, and Malay.

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#6 of 17 Old 03-23-2008, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you for all the usefull advices that you all gave to me.
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#7 of 17 Old 03-24-2008, 03:33 PM
 
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I am german, and we also do OPOL, my oldest dd is 4 y and she is fluent in both languages, so it definetly works even though dh left for iraq when she was 5 months old and returnted when she was 17 months old, i just did a good mix while he was gone (we were still in germany) since he is back its OPOL my second dd is 17 months old, says a couple words and it is also mixed, what ever is easier for her to pick up.
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#8 of 17 Old 03-26-2008, 01:03 AM
 
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Hi there Katerina-

I speak English and Spanish. My dh speaks only Spanish. My dd speaks SPanish, French and is now learning English.

I tried to speak only English to my ds while living in Mexico but it usually came out as a mix of both languages. Now that we're here in the States, I speak to him mainly in Spanish, but it is still a mix.

I don't mix the languages in the same sentence and often repeat the same sentences in both languages. I'm happy to say that my ds is quickly becoming bilingual and seems to intuit who speaks which language.

I think that you will find the rhythm that works best for you. Kids soak up languages like sponges and will be able to tell them apart with time.

Best of luck!
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#9 of 17 Old 03-26-2008, 09:26 AM
 
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I am Swiss and my husband is American. I speak only Swiss-German with my son (ok, unless I get really angry, it turns to English , but we try to do the OPOL thing.

When reading chidlren's books, I used to just tell my son English stories in Swiss-German. Now I think it is a bit more important to read what is on the page. So I read the English books in English and the German books in German.

I also speak Spanish & French but since I am not native, I will only teach those later on in homeschool.

My husband does not speak or understand Swiss-German at all (except a few little words he's picked up). I don't know if my son will keep the Swiss-German b/c we live in the USA. When I moved we began speaking English with our mother, with whom we had spoken only Swiss-German while living in Switzerland. Now that I am older, I speak Swiss-German with here again.
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#10 of 17 Old 03-26-2008, 03:36 PM
 
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I think it depends on how many languages you want your baby to learn... If it is only 2 , you can speak one at home and let your baby hear the other one when you talk to other people on the street. If it is 3 languages, then you can use one at home, one outside (English) and leave one for the in-laws to practice with the baby or your husband when he is home.
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#11 of 17 Old 03-31-2008, 01:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kapa View Post
my family lives at greece (i am greek so i speak greek) and my husband is from congo and he speaks french.my baby(17m) has a month now that speaks several words in greek. but i want introduce her also at the french language. how can i begin and when? do you have any ideas?
I would definitely just go with One Parent One Language. Mom speaks Greek, papa speaks French. And to each other, mom and papa speak whichever language they feel comfortable using. What you speak to each other is not as important as being consistent in always using your mother tongue with your child.

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#12 of 17 Old 03-31-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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Γεια σου κατερινα! In our house my husband speaks Greek and I speak English, and we have done it this way since our 4yo was born. He is more fluent in English, but we are in the US so he is exposed more to English. He can understand Greek very well, but he does not speak it unless he speaks to my dh.
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#13 of 17 Old 04-15-2008, 04:40 PM
 
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Ok, so what if OPOL is not really an option? My dh is Chinese and we would like our children to speak Cantonese as well as English (and possibly Mandarin as well). DH doesn't speak Cantonese well (he can understand more than he can speak) and wants to become fluent. I would like to learn as well (if I can figure out how to get my white girl tongue around the seven different tones of the Cantonese dialect...but that's a rant for another time. ) Is it totally going to confuse our kids if we're trying to learn the language with them?

So this is bliss! Proud mama to Katie, born gently at home 10/4/09, wife to my nursing student hubby (LPN down, RN here we come!), and coming in September....Katie's little brother!
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#14 of 17 Old 04-15-2008, 05:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ilovejeff View Post
Ok, so what if OPOL is not really an option? My dh is Chinese and we would like our children to speak Cantonese as well as English (and possibly Mandarin as well). DH doesn't speak Cantonese well (he can understand more than he can speak) and wants to become fluent. I would like to learn as well (if I can figure out how to get my white girl tongue around the seven different tones of the Cantonese dialect...but that's a rant for another time. ) Is it totally going to confuse our kids if we're trying to learn the language with them?

There are different views on this but I don't generally recommend speaking to your children in anything but your mother tongue unless you are truly bilingual. Otherwise, you just end up teaching them a bad accent, wrong pronunciation and plenty of mistakes. Do the kids have contact with Cantonese-speaking grandparents? What about immersion school? language DVDs? Especially if your DH is not even fluent in the language (let alone bilingual), I just don't think your kids will get a lot out of it other than the odd piece of vocab (which they would get anyway, learning the language later on when they are interested and personally motivated to do so).

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#15 of 17 Old 04-17-2008, 12:55 PM
 
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Hi,
I'm American and speak English natively and Spanish fluently. My DH is Mexican and has been learning English during our 6 years of marriage. We have lived in the US. When our daughter was born almost 4 years ago, Papi spoke Spanish to her 90% of the time (he likes to "play" with some English phrases) and I usually spoke English when we were alone and Spanish with him and sometimes repeated key words or phrases in both languages. As she got a bit older, like a year or so, I worried that since he worked, she wasn't getting enough exposure to Spanish, so I really tried to speak more Spanish to her, but whenever we were out with other people, I invariably resorted to English. Her first words were some in English and some in Spanish, almost like she picked which was easier to say and that's the word she always used for that thing. But as she gained fluency in the language, speaking more phrases and sentences instead of just words, she spoke more and more English. Also, as we approached 2 years and all the independence and rebellion of that age, it became much harder for me to keep speaking Spanish to her, especially when she answered me in English. It was like I needed my native language to "defend myself" with this challenging, bright, talkative child. Also, about that time, I went back to work part-time and my DH was caring for her while I was at work. So I felt like she was spending more time with him and he could bear more of the responsibility for her Spanish. So as of a month ago she is 3.5 and understands Spanish perfectly (or age-appropriately, anyway), but she hardly speaks it! While Papi always spoke Spanish to her, he never insisted (by playing ignorant to her English) that she speak to him in Spanish. I thought that hearing it would be enough, but it isn't! They have to speak it, too. It isn't that she wasn't willing, just really couldn't remember and say the words! Weird! But now we have been in Mexico for the last month staying with my in-laws and she is in a kindergarden for three hours every morning and her Spanish has improved dramatically, though the grammar still has lots of "english-isms" and she sometimes sticks English words in when she forgets the Spanish words. It definitely is pidgeon Spanish, not native Spanish, but hey, its a huge improvement over one month ago. We are going to be here another month and then hopefully, we can at least maintain her progress by my husband being really disciplined in insisting that she speak to him in Spanish, having Spanish-only family meals, and talking to her Mexican family on the webcam. Also, we now plan on visiting more often, hopefully once a year or so.

Sorry that was such a long story! I guess my point is that I was surprised that it has been harder than I expected to raise her bilingually. Even though one parent always spoke to her in Spanish and the other parent sometimes did, the surrounding culture and our failure to require her to speak back to us in Spanish resulted in a very-English dominant child with passive Spanish skills. It has taken immersion in Mexico to enable her to communicate in Spanish, but I don't know if she'll ever achieve native speech. So my advice is: have at least one person (parent, grandparent, nanny, whatever) who doesn't understand or refuses to understand the local language and try to visit the other country frequently and for relatively long stays. Good luck! It is fun to have a bilingual child!
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#16 of 17 Old 04-17-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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We do OPOL German/English. And live in the US. To get her listening to more German, I play a cd of German children's songs in the car or I have Immersion CDs, also. I have no idea what her first word will be. Can't wait to see.
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#17 of 17 Old 04-18-2008, 04:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ChipiChipi View Post
Hi there Katerina-

I speak English and Spanish. My dh speaks only Spanish. My dd speaks SPanish, French and is now learning English.

I tried to speak only English to my ds while living in Mexico but it usually came out as a mix of both languages. Now that we're here in the States, I speak to him mainly in Spanish, but it is still a mix.

I don't mix the languages in the same sentence and often repeat the same sentences in both languages. I'm happy to say that my ds is quickly becoming bilingual and seems to intuit who speaks which language.

I think that you will find the rhythm that works best for you. Kids soak up languages like sponges and will be able to tell them apart with time.

Best of luck!
:

My aunt and uncle also took this approach (her mother tongue is Japanese and his is English). Their oldest son worked out at about age 4 that he knew two different languages! (Apparently he said to his mum one day, "Japanese and English are different.")

She has lived in Australia for many years, and he has spent a lot of time in Japan, so they are both bilingual (her more than him, probably, however!) and speak to both their kids in both languages. Young kids absorb language so quickly; it's very exciting to watch!
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