We are from Vietnam and speak Vietnamese as mother tongue. Since I adopted OPOL method, I've talked to my son in English almost the time. However, there is some issue when all of our family members as well as local people communicate in Vietnamese. So, I opted to talk to my toddler in first language sometimes, especially when we face other people. Also, my kid sometimes communicate to me in this native language, and I also acknowledged that by "translating" into minority language.
Below are some of my concerns:
Is it fine to talk to my son in local language in such situations?
Is it considered impolite when I communicate to my son in English, which is neither the local language here nor my native language?
Myself I am Spanish and live in Germany, so the ml for my children is Spanish and the ML German. I talk to them all the time in Spanish, even when there are people that do not understand it. If I would switch to German every time there was someone who did not understand Spanish then I would mostly only talk to them in Spanish at home (and even then only when no German friends were over) and I think that would not be enough for the Spanish proficiency I wish for my kids. So I talk to them in Spanish all the time, no matter what. I make a point of explaining it to people that don't know me, whenever I introduce myself for example at a parents reunion in school I explain that I always talk to my kids in Spanish. I would not see a difference where it is your native language or not, I would explain with a smile to people that you want your son to grow up bilingual and therefore you talk to him in English.
When my children started talking and they would use the German word with me, I would always say "Yes, daddy says 'wasser' but mommy says 'agua', can you say 'agua'?"
I think especially in the early years you have to be very careful how much ML you use with them, since it will make it more likely that they talk to you in the ML.
Hi Sanba! I would suggest sticking to the minority language as you reply to your child. Although I am not a parent myself, I run a Mandarin-immersion online class teaching drawing and painting. My students are all Chinese heritage speakers and speak fluent Mandarin. But one day they found out I can speak English when I accidentally answered their question in English. Since then, they started talking to me in English all at once even though I keep on teaching entirely in Mandarin.
I hope my experience helps! And, to your second question, it's totally fine to communicate in ml while it is not your native language or the "official" language of the country!
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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 😍😁
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Adam Beck: Good for you and your daughter, Caro!
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