I have a 1 year old little girl who I would love to raise bilingual. My partner and I are both Hungarians and we live in Australia. She's really starting to form her first words and because I'm so committed to raise her to be fluent in Hungarian I'm a bit confused as to which language I should use with her when we are with others. We see a lot of Australian babies and families and she's about to start daycare too, not to mention a few children's programs on TV here and there, so English is getting in more and more. Currently 99% of her books that we have are in Hungarian but I cheat and translate whatever's in English anyway. We read and sing a lot and we Skype with our extended family once a week. But when we're out and about I feel awkward speaking to her in my ml. This is probably because we both decided to only use English when someone is with us who doesn't understand. I'm sure you all know what my concern is... I'd be interested to hear everyone's experience. How do you go about this? The last thing I'd want to do is confuse her.
The other way around - I only read in Hungarian, and most of her books are actually Hungarian. But the few I bought or take out from the library here are obviously in English. These I just read as if they were Hungarian.
We don't use any English at home except when we're out or we have friends over. If there is even just one person with us who doesn't speak Hungarian we use English if that makes sense?
Virag, thanks for clarifying that bit--sorry, it was my misunderstanding.
Since it sounds like an ample amount of exposure to Hungarian is being provided by both you and your husband--and that input will continue throughout childhood--I don't think using English when with others, or around others, will end up undercutting your bilingual goal. And I wouldn't worry that this could "confuse" her and somehow have a negative impact on this process.
That said, if you can make a distinction between speaking English to others but continuing to speak Hungarian to your daughter, to the extent possible, then I think this would probably help "condition" her to respond to you in Hungarian, when she begins speaking more actively. The more you use English with her during these first couple of years, the more you could potentially undercut her "need" to use Hungarian with you. But again, because both you and your husband are Hungarian speakers, and Hungarian is largely used at home, this doesn't feel like a significant risk. If daycare in English will start this year, that setting will fuel her development in English, too, and she won't necessarily need English input from you. In this case, I expect both languages would grow well by simply focusing on Hungarian within the family and allowing English to be acquired from school and the community.
Virag, your family sounds well positioned for bilingual success, and I look forward to hearing good news from you as time goes by.
For further thoughts on this issue, from many more parents out there, see this blog post at Bilingual Monkeys and this thread at The Bilingual Zoo...
Mayken: My girl and I are going to see her ml grandma in our ml country for the Easter weekend. (And buy more books!)
Apr 13, 2017 4:35:53 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, I hope you two have a fun, book-happy weekend!
Apr 13, 2017 5:23:08 GMT 9
Mayken: On the train from Paris to Cologne we sat next to another ml mother and daughter from our school! Only noticed when almost in Cologne. It's a small ML-ml world!
Apr 13, 2017 21:40:37 GMT 9
Amy: Got fleeting impression during Skype call with daughter on holiday at grandparents' in ml1 country, that her ml1 pronunciation has improved! She even seemed more confident speaking in ml2!
Apr 14, 2017 23:12:48 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Amy, you and your kids are both doing so well! Keep up your wonderful efforts!
Apr 15, 2017 21:26:50 GMT 9
Mayken: During the traditional German Easter fire, my daughter met her friend from her school day in the ml school! So many birds with one stone! (Sorry for the birds ;))
Apr 16, 2017 18:51:11 GMT 9