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 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. Please support The Bilingual Zoo through Adam's Patreon page www.patreon.com/bilingualmonkeys.
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!
Mayken: Adam Beck, thanks for sharing the impressions of your trip to China! I love those duck boats and that doorway! And meeting those kids wanting to speak English with you is so amazing!(I won't enter the giveaway because I'm afraid of winning the chicken claws!)
Feb 6, 2019 0:24:50 GMT 9
Mayken: My friend S asked her bilingual 2.5-year-old daughter: What language do mommy & daddy speak? D: English! S: What language does Grandma speak? D: French! S: What language do the cats speak? D (*thinks, then answers*): Meow!
Feb 7, 2019 0:08:00 GMT 9
Amy: Bless!! how cute is that!!! Reminds me of a similar thing that happened with my youngest when she was 18 months: she said the sound right for every animal but the cow. She kept answering "Lola" because of a famous Spanish nursery rhyme about a cow!
Feb 7, 2019 0:40:09 GMT 9
Alba: My son caught us by surprise when we said thank you (in English) to a waiter in a Mexican restaurant, and he said "gracias" (thank you) to him too in Spanish, also signing it! He was having a blast and there was some Spanish music in the background.
Feb 10, 2019 18:48:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Sounds like a wonderful moment, Alba!
Feb 11, 2019 11:57:53 GMT 9
Alba: Streaming problems: I decided to play some cartoons in ml2 (Hindi) which I knew had been playing in ml2 the day before with his dad. I was studying my son's face to see if he understood, turns out the cartoon was in Polish, not sure why!
Apr 4, 2019 0:44:39 GMT 9
Amy: Cute code switching this morning when my 3 year old told me "I get my pótamo" (she meant her hippo soft toy). This mixing was music to my ears... It means she is truly growing trilingual.
Apr 6, 2019 2:51:35 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Lovely, Amy! Good for you, and good for her! P.S. I like hippos.
Apr 7, 2019 10:32:37 GMT 9
Alba: So funny, Amy! Great to hear I love the word Hypo, every child says it different! My son did something similar when he say "This tocotó", he calls horses "tocotó" based on the noise they made when trotting (tocotó, iiii (neigh)-ok, for a Spanish ear)
Apr 8, 2019 6:52:09 GMT 9
Amy: Cheer Alba and Adam Beck! . I love these "baby" words. They are so cute. I like the "This tocotó" another example of state of the art Spanglish <3
Apr 9, 2019 4:54:05 GMT 9