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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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
Mayken: Victor's flashcards look amazing! I hope I'll win the giveaway - if not, I'll purchase a set for Christmas for sure. Thanks Adam for sharing these gems with us!
Sept 26, 2018 23:32:30 GMT 9
Marisa: Adam, I second Mayken's enthusiasm and gratitude for your posting about Victor's flashcards, they look amazing, thank you so much for the post! I already bought one set
Sept 30, 2018 10:25:51 GMT 9