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).
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Wojtek: Adam, will you be watching in a few hours the football match between our national teams?
Jun 28, 2018 20:27:10 GMT 9
Mayken: Happy birthday to two bilingual monkeys: Adam Beck's daughter Lulu (14) and mine (8).🎂
Jun 29, 2018 23:10:16 GMT 9
Amy: Happy birthday to your 2 bilingual monkeys Mayken and Adam Beck !
Jun 30, 2018 5:15:05 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, that's true, but in our case, the U.S. didn't make it to the World Cup this time! Japan has gone through, but they'll probably get knocked out very soon...
Jun 30, 2018 7:22:16 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wojtek, Poland won! I was disappointed, though, to see Japan hold the ball at the end of the game because they only wanted to go through to the next round. I understand why they did that but I wish they had played harder...
Jun 30, 2018 7:24:42 GMT 9
Wojtek: Well, it suited both teams to slow down the ball. However, it was really unexpected and peculiar
Jul 1, 2018 1:16:27 GMT 9
Mayken: On the train from Cologne to my hometown, I saw a boy about 9/10 and his older sister. She was fluent in German but spoke French with a slight accent, he spoke only French. They were visiting their grandparents. I was intrigued but didn't ask.
Jul 1, 2018 22:06:55 GMT 9
Wojtek: Does anyone know an online English speech language therapist? I thought that it could be a good idea to get my girl evaluated in her ml...
Jul 6, 2018 4:02:38 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! My 8-year-old daughter passed her ml swim test today! After swimming & diving, the pool attendant asked her to recite the swimming/safety rules (our recent captive reading), and she knew them all!
Jul 6, 2018 21:28:23 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! Bilingual Lives: Ana Cristina Gluck, Author and Publisher of Multilingual Books for Children (with a Book Giveaway!) buff.ly/2ziSQ4J
Jul 7, 2018 11:28:32 GMT 9
Agnese: First words. What to expect? My son is 10 months old. He's still babbling, but I've noticed some different sounds depending on the situation. I wonder if he'll start saying his first words in the next weeks (or months, who knows?). What should I expect?
Jul 11, 2018 0:30:24 GMT 9
Amy: Don't expect anything Agnese. Just let it happen, and then what he says will hit you like a train. It's an amazing moment. Just live it and don't overthink it. Whatever he says, in whatever language it is, it is a magical moment.
Jul 11, 2018 5:11:14 GMT 9
Agnese: I've recently found a further (annoying) challenge: when I speak ml (Italian) to my child (10m) in front of ML acquaintances, they are making jokes about what I said (mostly accent, similar unrelated words...). What do you think is the best way to act?
Jul 15, 2018 13:04:11 GMT 9
Amy: Agnese, it is simply because they never had the opportunity to be acquainted so closely to that language. Just smile and keep going. Over time (even if this may seem long), the comments will fade. Don't show your son you are embarrassed by your ml.
Jul 16, 2018 3:56:41 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Agnese, I strongly second Amy's advice! Stay strong and continue speaking Italian!
Jul 18, 2018 6:22:37 GMT 9
Adam Beck: And Agnese, keep in mind that, above all, the highest priority is your bilingual aim, not the other passing concerns that are part of this experience (for us all). Don't let these distract you from the greater goal.
Jul 18, 2018 6:24:49 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you! After this setback I feel stronger than ever! The same day of the incident I ordered plenty of books in the ml on Amazon and I'm reading every day new research on bilingualism and bilingual education. I'm ready to defend my goal! Thanks
Jul 19, 2018 18:37:58 GMT 9