Post by Ally Kennedy de Garcia on Jul 31, 2014 23:33:03 GMT 9
My native language is English but I am a fluent Spanish speaker. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Spanish, and as an immigration lawyer Spanish has been critical to my career and my life on a daily basis for over a decade. I lived in the US until two years ago, and I was always thinking of the ways that I would ensure my future child spoke Spanish. Spanish has been my passion.
Now that I live in Mexico and am expecting my first child, I am finding it difficult to break the habit of thinking that I need to speak to the baby in Spanish. My husband is Guatemalan so his first and best language is Spanish, though he speaks English fluently. Obviously our son will go to school in Spanish and his life will mostly be in Spanish. Somehow I cannot break that fear that if I don't teach him Spanish at home he won't learn it! Maybe it is just because I need a shift of paradigm. Or maybe it's just crazy pregnancy hormones.
I love being on here because I see other English speaking minority language parents, and it is beginning to really sink in that that is my situation. I just need to reframe my thoughts about language. And I need to realize how lucky I am because my easiest and best language is the one I get to teach the baby! It would have been much more of a challenge to do it in Spanish.
Do I sound like a crazed new mom?! haha. Thanks for listening and for any thoughts you may have to share!
Ally, I think becoming a parent (and, particularly, a mother, though I've never been one! ), is a wonderful but overwhelming experience...and adding more than one language to the mix can compound these feelings.
Practically speaking, you might prepare yourself mentally for this challenge by building up your home library of picture books in English and even establish, before your son is born, the daily routine of reading aloud to him. This key routine could serve as the cornerstone of your efforts to use English consistently, day after day.
Adam Beck is the author of the popular nonfiction books "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability" and "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!" (illustrated by Pavel Goldaev) as well as the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear" (illustrated by Simon Farrow).
I think Adam is right, it will come naturally to you when the baby arrives. It's funny for me, because when I see little kids I don't know, my first instinct is to speak to them in English, even though I'm in France! I don't do that to adults, so I don't know quite where that comes from!
With so much Spanish surrounding you (and future baby), what if you & your husband tried to speak together in English more often? Easier said than done when you're used to speaking in one language together, I know! My husband and I have always spoken in French together, but lately I'm trying to get him to make more of an effort to speak to me & the kids in English; we have so little English anywhere else in the environment.
Ya things will really fall naturally into place. I think that is one of the biggest things I have learned so far in parenting. All the stress and planning and what ifs that run through your head will just be vaporized by that little human. The take away being, don't stress! Things will absolutely work themselves out in a natural way. After all, after your son is born the earth will still only rotate once per day.
And the best part is that it's super fun!
Happy dad to 2 funny Czech/American boys, and creator of littlelexicon.com. An obsessed maker of things.
Posts: 1,052 Country (residing now): France Country (originally from): Germany Children, Ages: Girl, 9½ Majority Language: French Minority Language(s): German (and learning English now) Member is Online
I'm with the others, Ally. Don't worry, it'll come naturally. I hadn't been speaking much German since moving to France so speaking in German to the baby in my belly took some getting used to, but once she was there, no problem at all!
Marisa: "Victory moment:" My almost 4-year-old daughter told me yesterday in the ml (rough translation): "mom, there's something wrong with the cartoons, can you fix it, please?"... she was accidentally watching TV in the ML! So I gladly obliged
Jan 18, 2020 4:15:02 GMT 9
Amy: Awww bless her, Marisa!!! That was so cute!! <3
Jan 18, 2020 5:25:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Marisa, give that little minority language lover a big hug from me!
Jan 18, 2020 8:04:49 GMT 9
Mayken: We're at Harry Potter Book Night at the English bookshop in Paris. The activities are all in French but my daughter teamed up for the treasure hunt with a girl who also speaks ouf ml German!
Feb 8, 2020 3:50:49 GMT 9