My daughter has a classmate whose parents are both French (ML) but who raise their daughters bilingual French-German. The older girl (now 8) sounds like a German child to me when she speaks German. When I first heard about it I thought that was pretty crazy, but they are very committed, and clearly, it's working.
It's important to encourage parents to do this if they feel up to it.
As I mentioned on the post, it was natural to me, but then when people started to question it I wondered if I was doing something wrong. Now 5 years later I have no regrets and my 8-month-old baby is on the same path.
Consistency is key. In the beginning I realized how poor my baby vocabulary was. I had no idea how to say diaper, pacifier...but I learned on the go.
That's my story too! Me and my wife are Polish native speakers. My daughter Lucy communicates with me only in English. However, we started when she was 18 months old. It was I think the last moment for such a change. She didn't speak Polish at that time, that's why I think she wasn't reluctant to her daddy's crazy idea...
At the very beginning she was looking at me like a dog...which sometimes turns its head with no understanding but I saw in her face that her brain was analyzing every new word coming into her little ears.
It is tough anyway... Who knows where we will be in 3 years.
P.S. The advantage of her now being 3 and a half is, for sure, her ability to speak English with me. At the beginning it was a monologue but now I am more confident in the presence of others to speak English with her. That's cool.
It can be natural at the beginning but then people's comments can start making it feel odd. To me, the hardest is other people's comments about my nationality not being that of ml2 or that I am confusing my daughter. Even a doctor told me to quit speaking ml2 as it might be the cause of my daughter's pronunciation (which in fact--after a speech therapist's assessment--turns out to be fine).
But the best reward is when our kids start to talk in ml. And even better than that was the day when I had a friend quietly laughing at our trilingual efforts, and saw his jaw drop in disbelief as my daughter turned up chatting away perfectly in ml2. Karma can be so sweet when it comes round.
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
Mario, thank you for sharing the link to your article. Your experience and advice are very encouraging, and I'm sure there are many parents out there who will be heartened by your story. I enjoyed reading it!
And thanks, too, for the "bonus" of seeing your cute bilingual kids!
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.
I am trying to raise my children bilingual in French while learning the language. At first I was worried about accents as well. But I quickly learned my daughter was able to distinguish between a native French accent and my accent lol. She understood at age four, which was the correct way to pronounce (not mama's way) and would follow what she heard from French nanny, cartoons, music etc. I just practiced and taught her basics and vocabulary.
Now she is in French school, taught one week in French and one week in English, which makes it much easier! Anyone who hears her speak French says she sounds like a native French speaker and are amazed. That is always their first comment after she speaks French. We are still early in this language learning adventure. I am very lucky to have the school to help us progress. Well done for keep up with the English. Your children will thank you. I always wished my parents did the same for me!
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Amy: Right you are Mayken!
Mar 28, 2018 1:43:20 GMT 9
Marisa: Way to go, Mayken! That's the (bilingual) spirit
Mar 29, 2018 0:55:54 GMT 9
Kristin T.: Will check out your podcast interview on my next run!
Mar 30, 2018 23:24:37 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter brought home her ml report card (she gets a separate one from the regular report card at her bilingual school), and it's straight A's! (Better than her marks in ML on the main report card.) I'm so proud!!!
Mar 31, 2018 6:10:44 GMT 9
Amy: Gratuliere (Congratulations) Mayken!!
Mar 31, 2018 16:54:17 GMT 9
Mayken: Thank you, Amy! As a reward, we allowed her to purchase a big item from her Christmas money--a Playmobil house, with which she now plays in ml!
Apr 4, 2018 3:37:31 GMT 9
Amy: Reward all the way round . Bilingual education can be a virtuous circle
Apr 4, 2018 5:26:18 GMT 9
Nellie: What great news, Mayken!
Apr 5, 2018 4:36:26 GMT 9
Raquel: I totally missed this. Congratulations, Mayken!! You have reason to be proud
Apr 10, 2018 20:08:02 GMT 9
Mayken: Thanks everyone! Today my daughter helped a classmate finish her ml homework just before school - all in ml. (My daughter had finished hers the day before at home.)
Apr 11, 2018 3:58:56 GMT 9
Raquel: I'm so sorry to hear about your mother's passing, Adam. She sounds like an amazing woman. Sending you a big hug from Madrid.
Apr 12, 2018 18:16:38 GMT 9
Marie: I am sorry to hear about your mother Adam. Thinking of you and your family.
Apr 13, 2018 4:25:21 GMT 9
Jana: What a beautiful tribute you wrote to your mother. Sending condolences from the SF Bay Area!
Apr 14, 2018 5:34:03 GMT 9
Kristin T.: I enjoyed reading your post about your mother. Those were some amazing photos to cherish forever. I am sorry for your loss. I know it's ever the more painful having been an expat so long. Take care & be kind to yourself.
Apr 16, 2018 2:24:35 GMT 9
Nellie: I'm so sorry to read about your mother Adam. She sounds like an incredible woman. Your friends across the world are thinking of you and your family!
Apr 17, 2018 0:50:25 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Thank you, everyone, for your warm expressions of sympathy on the loss of my mother. Your friendship and support has meant a lot to me at this challenging time.
Apr 17, 2018 7:44:14 GMT 9