I found Adam's blog very helpful, posted a comment and he invited me to participate in this forum.
I am Brazilian and my husband is Dutch. We have a 2-year-old boy (he just turned 2) and live in Brazil. We always used the method "one parent-one language." My husband always talks to him in Dutch and he is the only source of the language here. I speak Portuguese to our son.
At the moment our son speaks very good Portuguese and nothing of Dutch (but he understands it).
We need to improve the two most important things for him learn Dutch: hours of exposure and need. I exchanged some ideas with Adam before, but now we need to really concentrate on that task.
I know we have a big challenge, but I still hope it is possible!
Is there anybody here in a similar situation? Anybody who has been through that and could change the situation?
Karin, welcome! Yes, those two "core conditions"--exposure and need--must be effectively met in order for your son to actively use Dutch. I don't know how much time your husband is able to spend with your son, nor how much Portuguese he uses around him, but the more exposure to Dutch he can provide and the more he can consciously control his use of Portuguese, the more progress you'll likely make in nurturing your son's Dutch side.
But how to do this, how to shape our lives to meet these conditions on an ongoing basis, can be very challenging and may require some extraordinary efforts. If fostering active ability in Dutch is an important goal for you and your husband, then make this the highest priority you can and take every action realistically possible to strengthen your son's exposure and his need.
Karin, I wish you the best and I look forward to hearing what happens!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular non-fiction book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide.
Welcome Karin! Can you speak or understand Dutch? While I'm all for OPOL, there might be ways you could help with exposure...meals in Dutch, or certain days could be Dutch days at home...
Does your husband read to your son? Do you allow your son to watch TV or movies in Portuguese? If so, it would probably help to only allow certain types of entertainment to be in Dutch...even in the car you could keep the radio mainly turned off unless you are playing Dutch audio books or music (this is a challenge for me in France).
It would also help of course to find other Dutch speakers to help out. An example is the group Internations, its free, online and groups together expats all over the world. You can probably find some Dutch speakers in Brazil who are members.
I did some googling and it looks like a fairly challenging ml-ML combo! Good luck!
English speaking Canadian Mom, French speaking Dad, happily transitioning to minority language at home (English) with our baby daughter in France.
We are also doing OPOL and I am the only source of Danish. My daughter is 18 months and her language is only just starting to come out, but so far it is a mixture of Danish and English words. For us it is also a family goal that she learns to speak Danish fluently and here are a few things we do almost every day.
- Read 2-4 books in ml as well as look in picture books and point to words/talk about the pictures - Watch a children's program in ml. Either a DVD or from Youtube. (She doesn't EVER watch anything in English) - Use homemade flashcards to talk about and point to and repeat words. - Talk to relatives on Skype (once or twice a week).
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