I'm Daniela, I'm Italian and I live in the south of Italy with my family.
My husband is American but bilingual because his parents are Italian emigrated to USA when they were children.
I have a degree in translation and interpreting (English and Spanish).
We have a wonderful boy, David. He is 15 months. We decided to speak only English with him because my parents and the rest of the community speak Italian.
My husband's sisters with their children live in Rome and his parents are 45 minutes by car, so we don't see them often.
Sometimes it's hard for me to stay consistent...especially when I'm angry or in a hurry, ehmmmm!!!
A few weeks ago David started kindergarten and the psychologist of the school told me to speak in Italian when we're at school, because she thinks that the baby could use English to create barrier with the others...I guess that the teachers feel cut out from the conversation, even though I always translate what I'm saying to David!
I'm happy to be part of this group, because sometimes I really need somebody to help me with all the doubts about bilingualism, and why not...a little support!
This is a good place to come with your questions and doubts. We've all been there, or still are, even though our individual situations vary. (For me, 45 minutes by car to visit family would be great. My family is 12 hours by car.)
I have a question about your situation at school: Do you stay there with David, or do you drop him off? Because if you just drop him off, I don't really see a reason why you should stop speaking English to him. If you stay longer, or all day, however, the situation would be different.
Daniela, welcome! It sounds like you and your family are off to a strong start on your bilingual journey! (I imagine it will eventually become trilingual, since you're proficient in Spanish, too.)
Since you and your husband are both using English with your son, the odds of success are very good. I don't know the details of the situation at the school, but you may want to discuss this with them to clearly convey your point of view. Because the basic conditions for bilingualism seem quite favorable, I don't expect this situation will be an obstacle, but it's true that you and your husband should strive to be as consistent as you realistically can about your use of English around David.
I send best wishes from Japan to Italy and look forward to hearing good news from you as time goes by!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the book "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability", praised worldwide by parents and experts in the field. Available at Amazon amzn.to/22XKuCt, the global Amazon sites, and other booksellers.
I was allowed to stay with him only for 1 hour the first three days (one month ago).
Now that he knows the teachers and his friends I simply drop him off in the morning, say goodbye, kiss him and go away (I speak English with him).
When I go back at 2:30 I ask the teachers how did the day go, and obviously while we're there together I say something to David (always in English). For example, I ask him if he ate or played...simple things, but when doing so I repeat the sentence in Italian so the teachers don't feel excluded.
Uff... I really don't know what to do.
I don't want to create problems with the teachers, but at the same time I don't think that the simple sentences I say to my son can bother them so much!
I can't see how speaking English to your son during that short a time could be harmful, but if the kindergarten people fear that it might, it could be a good idea to use the tactics that another "keeper" (I think it was Reina) uses when people comment about her speaking a foreign language in public with her children: She explains to them that she is speaking the minority language with her children so that they will be able to communicate with their grandparents, and might even ask them how they would feel if their grandchildren (this only works if the people she's talking to are grandparent-aged, for others, you'd have to adapt it accordingly) could not communicate with them.
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Raquel: I love it, Mayken! What a sweet lady. I would have listened in and not asked, hehe. Did you use it to show your daughter how useful the ml can be?
Dec 21, 2017 20:35:38 GMT 9
Mayken: Raquel, my daughter loved it - both the coincidence, and that this lady was learning our language!
Dec 24, 2017 22:25:47 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Happy New Year to you all! Let's make 2018 a really good year!
Dec 31, 2017 7:04:50 GMT 9
Joanna: Packing to go home from Canada...luggage scale reading 23 kg of minority language books!
Dec 31, 2017 23:48:06 GMT 9
Amy: Happy new year to all! . May 2018 bring you every success in your bilingual endeavours!
Jan 1, 2018 23:08:58 GMT 9
Mayken: Happy new year to everyone! I shared a little New Year's Eve story in the Snack Bar.
Jan 5, 2018 5:08:21 GMT 9
Mayken: 7yo wrote her Christmas letter in the ml and sent it to Santa's address in our ml country. This week she received his reply - and was somewhat offended that he replied in the ML
Jan 5, 2018 21:47:21 GMT 9
Adam Beck: That's very cute, Mayken!
Jan 6, 2018 7:57:09 GMT 9
Amy: Oh no Mayken!! I'd also feel very gutted in her shoes! Hope he made up for it by spoiling her on Xmas!
Jan 7, 2018 1:12:53 GMT 9
Mayken: He totally did, Amy! Especially her most important wish - the second illustrated Harry Potter (in ml, of course).
Jan 9, 2018 0:06:05 GMT 9
Raquel: Happy 2018!! How come Santa replied in the wrong language? That's weird.
Jan 9, 2018 19:26:41 GMT 9
Mayken: Raquel, he gets letters from all over the world at that German address, and I guess the reply is in the language that matches the country fo the child's return address. Next time she'll use my mom's address (if she still wants to write to Santa then).
Jan 10, 2018 0:38:19 GMT 9
Raquel: Mayken, I just was surprised that, reading a letter in a certain language, they would reply in a different one. But if it's an standarized letter, then it makes total sense.
Jan 10, 2018 21:42:23 GMT 9
Mayken: It is. Our local ML Santa, to whom my daughter wrote the year before (in ml) replied in ML too but started the letter with her name. But then he's serving a town of 37,000 people only.
Jan 10, 2018 23:18:32 GMT 9
Raquel: Makes sense, Mayken. Thanks for explaining.
Jan 11, 2018 22:31:51 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter called me out twice this week for using the wrong language with her. The second time it was only one work (number of a métro line).
Jan 12, 2018 0:16:39 GMT 9