My son is now 14 months old and definitely showing bilingual language comprehension. My husband and I knew he understood some things, but it can be hard to tell during these early months. But we just came back from a 2 week visit with the relatives in the ml, and my son took to it like, well, being home! He doesn't speak words yet (just banana, "nanana"), but he was very verbal, understood commands, picked up the meaning of new words, probably even some new cultural differences. It definitely gave us a strong message that we are doing a good job. Now, when I say my baby is bilingual, I can brush off those "yeah, right" looks!
My husband spends about 2 days per week alone with him while I have to go out working, plus other interaction all week. (This is an improvement from the very early months, when I was doing most of the caretaking and speaking in ML.) He tries to read to him in Spanish every day and is very playful and funny with him. I figure, my son is going to adore him so much, it will color his desire to keep Spanish in his life.
Our son is very isolated from social interactions, however, other than us. So, the influence of the ML is limited. I speak to him in ML when we are alone, but ml when the three of us are together. My efforts to find other parents and kids in the ml have not panned out yet. That is my big goal. That may never happen and the contingency plan will just be to increase other forms of home exposure. I am also considering home schooling for a while.
Native English Mom, fluent in Spanish; Native Spanish Dad
Ilyssa, it sounds like you and your family are enjoying some early success! Keep up these good efforts, day by day, and your son will no doubt continue to make very satisfying progress. And I don't think you need to be concerned if Spanish gets a head start over English. In fact, a head start in the minority language can be a distinct advantage for the long run because it enables that language to develop a firm foundation before the majority language becomes more dominant through school and the community.
I look forward to seeing your updates here, and reading more good news about your budding bilingual boy!
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.
Mayken: Adam Beck, I've found another advantage to bilingualism: when one of your national sports teams is eliminated from an competition, you can still cheer on your other sports team!
Jun 28, 2018 5:25:39 GMT 9
Amy: Allez les Bleus! ("Go the Blues" - what French fans shout to their national team)
Jun 28, 2018 5:36:55 GMT 9
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