Anglophone speaking ml to toddler? Jul 26, 2019 23:43:03 GMT 9
Post by DB on Jul 26, 2019 23:43:03 GMT 9
Greetings, all. I so appreciate this community! I'd be grateful for thoughts on our current situation.
Our son, M, is now 20 months old and spends almost all of his time in the ml (Italian). M is cared for during the day by an Italian nanny, and M's other father (who was raised in an Italian-speaking household) speaks to M exclusively in Italian. M also spends a lot of time with his Italian grandparents. As a consequence, M is now speaking Italian almost exclusively -- I'd guess he says about 200 words in Italian, with a good accent! M seems to understand English (ML in New York City), but not nearly as well.
Here's the dilemma/where I would appreciate advice.
I speak Italian at an advanced but not fluent level (between B2 and C1). When I am with M and there are other Italian speakers around (nanny, my husband, my in-laws, Italian friends we know), I find it easier for me also to speak Italian to the adults so as not to have everyone going back and forth. Recently, I find that in such settings -- and sometimes also when it's just me and M alone -- I'm also speaking Italian to M. It just feels more natural at this stage, given how much our son speaks Italian and given that 90% of the time he responds to any English with Italian. There are a few exceptions. We have a very large library for him, and if he picks out an English language book, I read it in English. When relatives on my side (the non-Italian side) are around, we all speak English. And he goes to a music class where the language is English. Consequently, M understands English fairly well, even if he will often respond to a question in English with an Italian answer (e,g., "What color is the firetruck?" A: "Rosso!").
As we live in New York City, we do not fear that M will have a hard time with English, and in the fall, M will start a pre-nursery program in English (unfortunately we couldn't find an option in Italian).
So, here's the question: Is it ok at this phase if I -- the ML parent -- use the ml? And is it ok if one parent switches between ml and ML depending on context, given that his primary caretaker and other parent are 100% ml with him? I expect that once he's in school in the fall and exposed to more English, he'll start speaking more English and it will feel more natural for me to use English with him. (Also, finding Italian speakers in NYC requires more effort, compared to, for instance, Spanish, Chinese, or Russian. So giving him more Italian exposure at this age feels better for the long-run.)
Thanks for any perspectives! All the best.