We travelled to the countryside to see our in-laws over the weekend. I noticed my kids were playing more closely together and my younger son is being more verbal. Nobody understands how he speaks expect me and his older brother, though, because he was mixing the two languages in one sentence. He even makes up a new word merging the two sometimes. For example: Mig sheesh nu= Me pee now. Sheesh however is a childish version of a noun for "pee" in ml. Mig khooloo idii nu=Me food eat now. Khooloo idii is ml and "Mig Nu" is "me now" in ML. I understand this might freak some people out, but for us bilinguals this is normal.
That's cute, Undraa. My son is doing the same when he doesn't know the word in the other language; he'll say as much as he can in the language he knows that person speaks and then add the rest in the other language. He'll sometimes also do it if he has a preference for that word in the other language. I know it may sound weird to some people, but it's part of the process and I think it's beautiful!!
I would like to share a book that's now a big hit with my 4 year old. This is a book called "Maps" authored by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski. It has illustrations of the world, their culture, flags, natural resources, cultural and historical heritages etc. My son can look at this book and talk about the book with me for hours if he can (and with his dad in ML when I'm not around). He can now remember the flags of different countries and shows interest in countries he wants to go to and things he wants to try and see. It's beautiful and makes me happy.
The first week of visiting our ml country is going very busy with lots of adventures.
my 4 year old: His ml is blossoming and he is surprising everybody. He is playing with my teenage nephew, who is almost all the time with us. We went to a summer camp where he also found a friend, a 7-year- old ml boy who he played with and had loads of fun. He lacks vocabulary sometimes but he is very brave and just talking with enthusiasm with everybody.
my 2 year old: He is slightly confused. He is speaking mostly ML. When he understands what we say then he replies in ml though. When he does not understand anything he just says no in ML. I don't think he fully understands the concept of languages and countries yet.
We bought a few more books and got some more as a present from grandparents where we read every evening.
I have lots of activities planned for us in order to bathe my kids in ml, that mostly involve playing with other kids.
This first week sounds promising, Undraa! Do not worry about them. Your eldest will pick things up quickly. As for your youngest, he is going to get used to it and pick up the language, too. It might be a bit rough but the best language training is total immersion! I personally survived it, starting overnight in an English school when I didn't speak a word of English! Do not worry, just give him time. I'm sure these holidays in the ml country will have transformed him by the end of the trip!
Activities with their peers is the best you could do! Just sit back and observe...
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
He is speaking ml with my family 100%. He speaks ml to me 80% of the time. Other times when he is very tired or angry he speaks ML to me and I respond in ml. I accept it based on the situation, otherwise I tell him "Can you say it in ml please?" Then he switches to ml or asks me "How do you say it mommy?"
my 2 year old:
My younger son copies everything, especially his brother. Because of that, my mother noticed that he is starting to speak more ml than at the beginning of the trip.
Here are some noticeable improvements and changes after we came back from vacation.
4 year old:
I can see he really missed the ML and home. We rearranged his room in order to make his new ml books more visible and easily accessible to him. He tries to speak ML to all of us but as soon as I request him to speak ml to me he switches back with no problem. He also wants to watch ML TV which I kindly refuse. I let him watch only ml TV.
2 year old:
He is speaking more voluntarily in both languages with two- to three-word sentences. He speaks in ML to daddy and to his brother and in ml to me. He still uses ML words when he does not know the ml version. So I fix it when he does that but it is definitely less than it is used to be.
Our evening routine is much longer now because I have to spend time reading to each child. They both want full stories and interactions now. It's not a problem now when it's summer but we will have to go to bed earlier after September.
All in all, our trip to the ml country was a success. They not only improved in ml but actually enjoyed being there with my family and friends and bonded with them, which made me very happy. I had a lot of compliments on their language development at home where I also felt a little proud.
These developments are really positive news! Don't worry about your eldest going all ML, it's a normal reaction showing his happiness about returning home, as anyone would.
It's funny because I happened to have posted this very morning on my eldest having the same reaction but with the ml after a week of ML staying at her grandma's.
My guess is that had he been on a ML holiday your son would probably had enjoyed returning home to find his ml things. So really, I would say not to worry too much about it. The long-term benefits of your ml trip far outweigh this reaction of ML fondness upon returning home.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and make the most of it to boost their ml. And stay proud of all the amazing achievements you and your family have got so far!
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
This is a wrap on phase 1 of our bilingual journey and I would like to make a summary of it.
1) Age 2 is the year the kids start speaking. Both of my kids' first words were in the ML, even though I have been reading and speaking to them from day 1 and I have been the main caregiver.
2) DO NOT STOP SPEAKING the ml. I am the only exposure to the language.
3) DO NOT STOP READING. This is the only chance they get to learn new vocabulary and gain insight into the ml culture.
4) At age 3, their language development goes to the next level. My son started to like telling. Telling about his dreams, telling what happened, telling stories he read and heard. He also started speaking much faster. During all this he still was not speaking in the ml to my expectation. This is the time I started seeking out other ml-speaking people in my area, hoping to get more exposure and support. I was trying to meet up with ml-speaking children weekly for two hours. This has helped my children understand that 1) there are other people who speak the ml 2) learning the ml is something we have to do. I started writing a blog at the same time and attempted to grow the meet-up into a regular thing. I had to stop after a year as it started to stress me a little, though. There were advantages and disadvantages to meeting other ml speakers. One advantage was I realised I was doing much better with the bilingual journey compared to the others in my area. It was good to have a chance to compare myself, as I was a little lost about where I was in this as my kids were not showing any results in the ml. A disadvantage was I realised that I can't really rely on other ml-speaking people in my area as it wasn't as important to them as it was to me.
5) Age 4 is the age of evolution. My son really started speaking the ml the way I expected him to. Because he started showing results, he stopped questioning why we are doing this.
6) He still speaks with an accent, makes grammatical errors and stammers because of the lack of vocabulary.
7) The only way I can help them advance their ml is to keep speaking and keep reading. My 4-year-old son really needs to learn to read chapter books asap. I'm afraid he will give up his enthusiasm in ml otherwise.
8) There are many other things I can do to help add resources to this. I can try them all depending on my situation, but I need to keep the ones that are working and let go of the things that are not, in order to avoid stress both to myself and to my kids.
Thus, I am entering the new school year with a new phase in our bilingual journey, with new goals in mind.
Undraa, thank you for sharing this summary. Your hard-earned advice is very wise and will no doubt be helpful and encouraging to every parent who feels like they're struggling to maintain support for the minority language during the important early years.
As always, daily persistence and long-term perseverance are the twin keys to success and I think the positive progress that you describe with your own children is a reflection of the fact that your efforts are a shining example of this persistence and perseverance.
Despite the difficulties, we go on, day by day, as best we can, and when we do--when we continue moving forward with our efforts rather than getting derailed by discouragement--growing success is virtually guaranteed.
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.
Thank you for your comment and encouragement, Adam.
It was hard for my kids to return to daycare after a long vacation. While I am walking my kids to kindergarten every morning, I manage to have long fun conversations in the ml. My 4-year-old is chatty and his brother is parroting what we say. It is quite enjoyable.
My two-year-old is starting to enjoy "My First 100 Words" book a lot. He wants me to sit next to him while he is naming everything in the book in ml! He does the same with his daddy in ML when I'm not around.
He was speaking in his dream last night. And it was in the ml!
Funny story: We have a ml alphabet poster at home. My husband and kids were looking at it last night. If you translate the word "alphabet" we call it "tsagaan tolgoi" which literally means "white head". (not sure why) My husband asked me what does "Tsagaan tolgoi" mean, I said "alphabet". "Nooo, it means white head" my son insisted. I had to explain to him why some things cannot be translated literally, but I was very proud of his confidence in the ml!
My 2 year old:
He says: "I want water" to me in the ml then looks at daddy and tells him "I am drinking water, daddy" in ML. This is how he talks right now, and I am over the moon.
I am trying to revive the captive reading tactics and put up some posters this weekend. I think I need to put up a lot more everywhere in order to make this effective.
My kids continue speaking to me in ml. We were invited to a birthday party yesterday where other ml speakers were present. They were very impressed by my kids' progress as my kids were responding to their questions in ml.
I also hang out one-to-one with my younger son as he needed to see a doctor. He was very "chatty" with me, in ml. It's very cute.
We are all back to our everyday lives and it becomes harder again. If summer was two steps forward, now we went one step backward after the kids are back to kindergarten.
4 year old:
He is speaking a lot of ML again including to me. I kindly remind him to speak in ml. He sometimes corrects himself though, "woops mommy I was just speaking in Danish, uhoh now I am speaking in Mongolian again, haha." The good news is my husband is going to travel for two weeks from tomorrow. That means we can have a true ml only home. (sorry, hubby)
2 year old:
He is actually speaking both languages without knowing. I play with him and read to him more than before (at least I try) after the vacation. I think this helps.
They are allowed to watch 1 hour of ml TV in the evening followed by me either playing or singing some rhymes together and reading, a book for each child.
What's on your mind right now? Just type and hit "Enter" to share it here!
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
Agnese: Thank you for the suggestion!
Jul 21, 2018 15:40:43 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter met some inversed ML/ml kids today who live in our ml country. Their parents probably weren't thrilled they found n ML (for them) friend in their ml country. I'm sorry...a little bit.
Aug 7, 2018 2:07:34 GMT 9
Amy: Looks like the 3 weeks in ml1 country paid off: my ML mother reports my youngest would only speak ml1 to her! Lol Not sure ML childminder will be so happy when she returns... loool!
Aug 25, 2018 0:38:50 GMT 9
Mayken: Sounds like fun times ahead, Amy! Keep us posted.
Aug 27, 2018 23:15:08 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! Something Strange Happened 2 Days After We Moved into Our New House (And Its Significance to Change and Transformation on the Bilingual Journey)buff.ly/2ww8WDD
Aug 31, 2018 10:30:39 GMT 9
Amy: Happiest bilingual mum in the world : the new lady who conducts activities in ml2 with my eldest just assessed her level as pretty much equivalent to that of a native ml2 child! After that awful back-to-school start, this is like music to my ears.
Sept 6, 2018 0:00:13 GMT 9
Wojtek: I've been thinking for a long time to write an update and hopefully, I will do it one day. My brother married a Russian woman. That was nice to see that my 5-year-old daughter could play with her and speak English together!
Sept 7, 2018 21:37:25 GMT 9
Wojtek: After some time, she ran up and told me: "She is speaking English!"
Sept 7, 2018 21:38:31 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice to hear your happy news, Wojtek! And congratulations to your brother and his bride! It sounds like they may have a bilingual child in their future, too! Cheers to you all!
Sept 7, 2018 21:58:17 GMT 9