Yesterday I went to the park with Clara. She is one year old and she doesn't speak yet. I always talk to her in my non-native English and now whenever we meet someone I always tell her "say hi, Clara", people answer her back "hi", and yesterday in the park some kids even started to talk to her in their half English/Spanish language. But my concern is if maybe I should tell her to say "hola" because she is addressing Spanish/Catalan speakers. When she grows up and interacts more, I will tell her things like "tell this boy how old you are" or "tell grandpa what we did yesterday". She may answer back in English and maybe this will be confusing for her.
I had the same fear and came across the problem concern. When my daughter was smaller and I was confronted with that situation, I tended to speak to my daughter in ML so as to unconsciously "guide" her in her answer (when they are so young, it is said that small children don't really distinguish the languages).
Now that my daughter is 4 years old, I don't worry about it anymore, as she is now more conscious of the languages she needs to use. Not so long ago, when dropping her off in class, I told her in ml2 to say "Hello" to her nursery school teacher and she spontaneously said it in ml2 instead of ML. But when her teacher giggled and I reminded her her teacher spoke in ML, my daughter realised she had let it slip in ml2, smiled and repeated it in ML. Being that age, I think that she now understands pretty well the language use. With hindsight, I'm not sure she understood that very well when she was smaller...
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
I'm not sure whether this is the best approach, but I adapt what I say to the person my daughter will be saying it to. For instance, if we are in the street, I will say "say hola!", whereas if we are with someone who speaks English I will say "say hello". The most interesting is when I say: "what do we say?" to prompt her to say "thank you": sometimes she will say it in English, and sometimes in Spanish - it depends on what she has heard most recently, I suppose (funnily enough, that is one word that she rarely says in French, which is no doubt due to her father not insisting on it as much as me!). If she says "thank you" to someone who probably doesn't speak English (say, a taxi driver), I then repeat "that's right, gracias" so that she starts to understand (hopefully) that in different circumstances she should use different languages.
The main thing from my perspective is that I always say "please say" in English. So the "hola" or "gracias" is inserted there in the middle of an English sentence, if that makes sense, and the bulk of the sentence remains English (I realise that mixing languages is generally not recommended, but in this context I feel comfortable with it).
Thanks for your answers. The idea of talking ML to her is not very appealing to me because I have already got used to speaking my non-native English to her and I fear I will start mixing languages. I maybe will tell Clara to say, "Say hola or Say hi", depending on the person she is speaking too. As you both say, when she gets older she will distinguish the languages better. So far when we find kids in the park I keep on speaking to her in English and somehow I repeat what I have told her to the other kids in Catalan and I paraphrase to Clara in English what the kid said. Not sure if it is a good option but somehow I think Clara can get both inputs in Catalan/Spanish and in English and it may be easier for her to get the message because she listens to it twice (she may also get tired of her mother talking like a parrot!).
Amy: First Wednesday at home magic: ml2 bathed home and catching my 5 year old singing along her music player in ml2.... Bilingual bliss! Only you fellow bilingual parents could understand this
Sept 6, 2017 21:05:46 GMT 9
Mayken: Planning to send my daughter to ml school again during the next holidays. But it's ok, she's looking forward to it!
Sept 8, 2017 4:45:12 GMT 9
Mayken: We had our parents meetings with the ml teacher, my daughter will have a lot of work this year! One parent asked "which kids actually do speak ml at home?" Does that mean many of them don't???
Sept 13, 2017 5:02:26 GMT 9
Nellie: Mayken - my daughter is a lot younger than yours (just starting PS), but in her class there are two children with Spanish-speaking parents, but apparently neither of them actually speak it...disappointing!
Sept 13, 2017 6:28:10 GMT 9
Amy: Nellie, these 2 kids might simply be passive bilinguals, and as you know the penny might simply drop one day and they'll start using Spanish...
Sept 13, 2017 17:05:33 GMT 9
Mayken: In our ml class the kids are required to have a high level of ml. In class they only speak ml (this year there's a penalty for speaking ML!). I assumed they all speak ml with the ml parent at home. (I've known those kids for 2 years.)
Sept 13, 2017 23:42:56 GMT 9
Nellie: Yes I'm sure you're right and they are passive bilinguals! And they are young. I certainly hope by your daughter's age that my little one will be speaking ml1 with me - have already seen a lot of progress over the last week! The penny is dropping!
Sept 14, 2017 5:51:52 GMT 9
Patricia: Has anyone encountered studies, or personal accounts, of bilingualism (or multilingualism) playing a role in delayed speech?
Sept 15, 2017 1:31:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Patricia, please complete your Profile (see my "welcome message" for guidance), then post your questions to the forum boards. Thank you.
Sept 15, 2017 6:14:15 GMT 9
Nellie: My daughter came home from school with her first "naughty word" in French (caca boudin)! I guess this means she is now officially integrated!
Sept 22, 2017 5:54:43 GMT 9
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