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 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 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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Nellie: Adam - will watch the video as soon as I can (living circumstances not permitting right now - we are still in temp accommodation and I can't turn on volume) - looking forward to it!
Sept 22, 2017 5:56:44 GMT 9
Mayken: Skyping with grandma last night had to be cancelled due to technological problems - I needed to talk my mom through a Skype update and her phone battery died. :-(
Sept 25, 2017 20:45:42 GMT 9
Joanna: sorry Mayken...this is sad but funny as I'm sure many skype Grandparents have the same woes !(mine..) For us this weekend: potty training has led to great quality time reading and chatting, and some pretty hilarious ml questions
Sept 26, 2017 6:20:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Joanna, I can relate! My mother (Grandma) can't seem to get the sound on her computer working so when we Skype, we also have to use the telephone!
Sept 26, 2017 6:36:03 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam, and Joanna, it's good to know we're not alone in this!
Sept 27, 2017 2:46:28 GMT 9
Joanna: Planning a long Christmas minority language visit, so exciting!
Sept 30, 2017 14:46:01 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! Skype is working again on my mom's tablet, meaning we can skype with ml grandma again!
Oct 2, 2017 23:12:24 GMT 9
Mayken: The other day my mom (monolingual ml) called while my daughter and I were out, so Daddy (monolingual ML) answered. My mom was amazed to find out he isn't monolingual ML any more after all, and praised his active ml ability.
Oct 3, 2017 23:28:39 GMT 9
Joanna: For each day my daughter is exposed to other people speaking English (here in France) I put a little star on the calendar...trying to fill it up!
Oct 8, 2017 3:52:17 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice motivating idea, Joanna! And Mayken, thanks for sharing your good news on two fronts!
Oct 9, 2017 7:11:50 GMT 9
Marisa: My daughter won't say number one in Spanish or English, but in German! She loves recognizing the number and saying it out loud... it sounds more like the word 'ice' in English, though, but it's 'eins.' Number 9, however, is 'nueve'. So funny!
Oct 11, 2017 10:33:45 GMT 9
Mayken: My dad's giving Adam's book to his Lithuanian friend's daughter, whose husband is sceptical about their little girl learning German.
Oct 14, 2017 21:10:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, thank you for sharing my book! I hope it can be helpful to them!
Oct 16, 2017 15:57:32 GMT 9
Marisa: Adam, another bilingual monkey is about to be born near me (one of my colleagues is giving birth tomorrow), so I also got her and her husband a copy of your book... this world needs more bilingual kids!
Oct 18, 2017 0:06:43 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Many thanks, Marisa! In my humble opinion, more bilingual kids = more empathy in the world = a more peaceful planet.
Oct 18, 2017 7:33:04 GMT 9