Hi! I am super excited to join this forum. I discovered Bilingual Monkeys and Adam Beck several years ago but got distracted with a lot of other things going on in our lives. I wish I had started applying his techniques several years ago but better late than never. My husband is from Mexico so fluent in Spanish with decent English ability but only speaks Spanish with our family etc. I am from Canada but my first language is English. (My dad's first language is French). I am fluent in Spanish (as a learned second language). I am determined that our children will speak (and write and read) both Spanish and English 100% fluently and I have exerted considerable effort to try to ensure this, but it is proving more difficult than I anticipated: Both our boys (3.5 years old and 2 years old) have excellent Spanish comprehension but prefer to respond in English rather than Spanish. Any advice to help our children overcome this tendency would be sooooooo appreciated. Thank you!!
I think we need more information to be able to help you, like:
- What's your language setup? Who speaks what to your kids? What language do you and your husband speak to each other? Who spends more time with the kids?
- What other people are in your kids' life and what languages do they speak? Do they attend school? What language is spoken there?
- What are the efforts you mentioned you've made so that your kids speak Spanish?
Sorry about all the questions, but in order to help you out we (or at least I) need to know what your situation is and where there's room for improvement.
Having difficulties along the way is par for the course, so don't worry about it. It's all about keeping at it, making adjustments along the way and finding out what works best for your family. This really is a trial-error process. This being said by someone whose kids are 6 and 3 (soon to be 7 and 4) and just made a major change in our language setup.
Katie, welcome! As Raquel mentioned, if you can offer more details about your situation and your experience, I think we can offer more effective feedback. If the children's ability in the minority language is currently more passive, there are apparently some shortcomings in the two "core conditions" of exposure and need. My guess is that you've been pursuing your bilingual aim with the use of OPOL: for the most part, your husband is using Spanish while you're using English. This could account for those shortcomings in exposure and need. Since you also have ability in Spanish--and I doubt your boys will have any real difficulty acquiring good English--you might consider shifting toward both you and your husband using Spanish more consistently at home ([email protected] = minority language at home). By reshaping the basic circumstances in this way, in order to put more emphasis on Spanish and less emphasis on English (at least for the time being, until their Spanish is stronger), I expect you would be effectively addressing the apparent lack of exposure and need and this would gradually result in your sons using Spanish more actively.
And Katie, as your kids are still small, your timing is fine, in terms of now strengthening your strategy and your efforts.
Adam Beck, the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, is the author of "Bilingual Success Stories Around the World"; "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability"; "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!"; "28 Bilingual English-Spanish Fairy Tales & Fables"; and the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear".
Caro C.: My daughter, 2yo was rocking her bunny while trying to sing her own way. This was something completely new so I made a video... just s couple of seconds had passed when she clearly says a whole spontaneous sentence in the mL: "this is the music". #EpicWin
Mar 11, 2021 14:08:31 GMT 9
Caro C.: It is just now, many hours later that I came to savour the moment since I had a pretty busy/moved day... so excited about this, something small but meaningful 😍😁
Mar 11, 2021 14:11:43 GMT 9
Mayken: That's so cool, Caro!
Mar 12, 2021 3:37:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Good for you and your daughter, Caro!
Mar 15, 2021 10:59:32 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Instagram Live Interview with Adam Beck Watch the replay at this link: www.instagram.com/p/CNlqDXSH49Y/ Note: The video freezes in the middle, but then unfreezes shortly after that.
Apr 13, 2021 22:08:44 GMT 9
Sara: I haven’t been here in ages. So many different aspects of this community were a great help for me in the beginning of my multiple languages journey. Both professionally and personally. Thank you!
Jun 28, 2021 12:21:34 GMT 9
Adam Beck: You're very welcome, Sara! Your warm feedback is really gratifying to hear! Thanks right back to you!
Jul 2, 2021 15:34:26 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! We had a virtual book launch for Bilingual Success Stories Around the World with many of the parents whose stories are featured in the book, including members of The Bilingual Zoo! Watch the video! youtu.be/hGpHpvfqEjo
Oct 2, 2021 13:04:03 GMT 9