Reading the threads here is helping me have a better view of our journey ahead and the strategies we may need to implement at home.
It is also raising some concerns. We are both the sole speakers of our minority languages around here (at least in our environment right now), and my husband and I don't speak each other's language, which means that we both communicate in the majority language at home, and in front of our little one when the three of us are together. We speak directly to him in our mls though.
We do Skype with our homes and use resources in both languages BUT I am thinking ML will be constantly in use if it's the language my husband and I use to communicate.
Now, I'm learning his language, Hindi, but not at the pace I'd like to if I'm honest, I'm not finding the time. He is not learning my language actively but he's learning some words in Spanish here and there mostly from hearing me speaking to our son, and he does use some Spanish words with him (I'm also afraid that could be to the detriment of his ml2, Hindi).
This is tricky! So looking ahead, I think I want to limit the amount of ML we speak at home, but it's not so easy how to move forward. I'm thinking, full steam learning Hindi (ml2) for me as it's the weakest of the languages right now, the one that will need support, and I can also benefit from learning it, even professionally if I do it right! Well I know it will take time...
Was anyone else in this situation and do you have any tips, experiences on the matter and how you overcame this "obstacle"?
Posts: 973 Country (residing now): France Country (originally from): France Children, Ages: 6 and 2 year old girls Majority Language: French Minority Language(s): Spanish (ml1) & English (ml2) Member is Online
Here is my personal experience of using the ML at home, though of course all circumstances and children are different:
When we began our bilingual journey my Spanish husband would speak Spanish to our baby, I would speak English to her (though I am French, I was brought up in international schools abroad and speak English at a quasi-native level), and since we live in France we would use French as the family communication language. At the time, it felt like a good choice to foster our child’s trilingual ability. Unfortunately, by the time our eldest was 4, this proved to be a disastrous strategy. Although she was very small, our eldest had perfectly understood that since both of her parents spoke French, there was no need to bother using the other 2 languages. She was a passive trilingual. French nursery school and being surrounded by French did not help.
By then, our youngest daughter was a newborn, and we felt that if we didn’t do something, she would follow in her big sister’s passive trail, and our trilingual journey would come to an end.
Given my husband and I speak each other's language, we decided to quit using the ML at home and stick to our own ml (no understanding issue in our case). This really helped and my eldest eventually followed the house rule (no French at home) and is now actively trilingual.
Now, that is my personal experience and fortunately it is not shared by every trilingual family. For instance, I met another bilingual family for whom the use of the ML by the parents was not an issue: Every bilingual journey and child is different.
I find your desire to learn Hindi amazing and I personally think it is a great idea for loads of reasons: - you will support your husband with what at the moment is the weakest ml (it will create more emphasis on Hindi) - you will be able to create a ml@home strategy (which according to the research statistics discussed in Adam's book is the most successful strategy) - you get the opportunity to learn another language - you will get to learn more about your husband's and your son's other culture - doing it for your family is a beautiful act of love
In your considerations of learning Hindi full-steam, have you thought of starting with the Time & Place strategy? Nellie (who also has a trilingual family and had issues with activating one of her daughter's ml) used it with huge success: her daughter is now active in her 3 languages. This strategy entails using only the ml at a given time and place such as for instance dinner time or meal times. It might be a nice and easy way to throw yourself into using the language (besides devouring all sorts of Hindi language learning resources of course! ) And don't worry about mistakes and your child hearing them. Even if he makes mistakes he heard from you, he'll correct himself (and you too ) in the long run. What's really important here is that he hears Hindi at home and feels the need to use it too. To create and anchor a habit of using Hindi at home.
In any case, whatever your decision, limiting the influence of the ML in your home will always benefit your 2 mls. This can be achieved in many ways. Here is my experience on this topic for food for thought.
Wishing you a lovely day in beautiful Britain.
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
Amy has already said pretty much everything I would have said on this topic. Basically, if you two have the chance of learning each other's language, it would help a lot. If you can't, then you can't, so you try and do everything else in your power to strengthen both mls.
Speaking a language you're still not confident using all day long may not be feasible, but doing it at certain times or places may be easier. I would start there and hopefully move to more time or places as you knowledge of the ml grows.
Alba - as Amy says, at a time of desperation (!), my husband and I decided jointly - well, I decided and he agreed! - to make meal times "ml-only" time. It made an incredible difference for us. My daughter was quite angry at first and refused to do it (and to hear her father speaking ml1!), but we stuck to our guns. To try to make it fun, if anyone forgot and spoke the ML, everyone else would point at them and make a funny noise (my daughter has now added a special gesture she does when it is her who forgot!). After a week or so, she started to accept the new norm and very quickly it became a habit. What was even more interesting was that just becoming used to speaking together in ml1 as a family, meant that even outside of mealtimes, my husband started to communicate much more in ml1 with me.
Amy: And to all other fellow zookeepers of course!
Nov 4, 2018 18:13:28 GMT 9
Wojtek: Yesterday my daughter used a Polish word in an English sentence. From time to time she does it (don't know if I should be happy about that), but anyway what was amusing about that, she said it with an English accent!
Nov 5, 2018 18:23:45 GMT 9
Wojtek: I feel the English accent in our monolingual family has seemed to be something unreachable but in that mixed sentence, I heard the difference. It surprised me slightly.
Nov 5, 2018 18:23:55 GMT 9
Amy: So cute Wojtek! And such a lovely piece of news!
Nov 7, 2018 6:29:36 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice Wojtek! Give that little girl a big hug from Uncle Adam!
Nov 7, 2018 10:16:33 GMT 9