I am about to (any day now...tick tock tick tock) have my first child and my German husband and I intend to raise him to be bilingual and biliterate in German and English.
Our challenge is this: we will be living in the US for about a year, with English as the ML (majority language) and German as the ml (minority language), and are then looking to move to Germany, at which time the language roles will switch!
Our family scenario is this: my husband is a native German speaker and is fluent in English (and Spanish). I am a native (American) English speaker and a beginner-level German speaker. We both work from home so we hope this will allow us to use the two languages as often as possible.
I just finished reading Adam's book and my husband is reading it as I type. I found it very helpful both in principle and practice; there are a lot of tools and techniques I look forward to trying.
My main question for Adam (and anyone else who has insight) is this: should my husband exclusively use German and I English while living in the US for that first year?
And, upon living in Germany, should we both exclusively use English in the home so that the massive influence of German (his family doesn't speak English and he'll likely attend a German school) doesn't prevail over English?
I guess there isn't an exact answer or formula but just wanting some insight on our situation and how you think it might best be handled! Thank you so much for the book and this space to share thoughts.
Jessica, welcome! And CONGRATULATIONS to you and your husband on the impending debut of your first child! Feel free to share a photo at the New Babies board, if you like!
About your circumstances, as you suggested, there really isn't a "right" answer, but here are my thoughts...
Since both of you are at home, and can potentially provide strong input in both languages, I would agree that starting with the "one person, one language" approach would probably serve the family well (and not only for the baby's sake, but hearing your husband speak German regularly will aid your own growing acquisition of that language).
I would add, too, that just in case your plans change and you end up staying longer in the U.S., the fact that your husband is speaking German to the child--rather than English--would grow even more significant. If he starts by speaking English, and you remain in the U.S., shifting gears to German could then become more problematic.
Assuming you do move to Germany in a year or so, you may choose to modify your approach so both parents are using only English at home or, in fact, you could simply continue on more or less the same course, with you speaking English and your husband speaking German--though he might start using some English with the child, too. It really depends on the circumstances at that time, but if you can continue providing ample English input yourself, a full-on switch by your husband may not be necessary. And it's also true that German schooling and society lend good support to the acquisition of English so this is another important factor in your favor. (In Japan, for instance, English is taught poorly in the schools and not used very widely in society. )
So it sounds to me like your new baby has a very bright bilingual--even multilingual--future ahead of him! (And I hope my work can continue to be a source of support to you as time goes by! Warm thanks to you both for reading my book!)
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.
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Adam Beck: Mayken, she'll be trilingual before you know it! (I recommend "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish"!)
Jun 3, 2017 7:16:29 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam, that was what I thought would be the easiest, but she disagreed!
Jun 4, 2017 18:43:54 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, the text of "Hop on Pop" may be easier to read, but I love the creative craziness of the "One Fish" book.
Jun 4, 2017 21:12:09 GMT 9
Mayken: My 6yo is off on a 5-day class trip in ML. I made sure the activity book for the trip and one of her reading books are in ml. Also, ml grandma will send her a letter, and she has a postcard she's to write to ml grandma.
Jun 5, 2017 23:16:12 GMT 9
Mayken: 6yo's teacher asked parents to write 2 letters, one the kids gets from the teacher today, the other we're to send by mail. I mailed my ml letter today.
Jun 7, 2017 0:25:14 GMT 9
Amy: My 1 year old is starting to talk and has been using 2 new ml1 words since last Sunday <3
Jun 8, 2017 5:27:04 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Amy, sounds like fun times for you both!
Jun 8, 2017 6:06:59 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay Amy! - I'm curious about the letter my 6-year-old wrote us during her class trip (teacher-supervised activity). Will there be ml in it? I hope it arrives before she comes back!
Jun 8, 2017 18:56:16 GMT 9
Joanna: My workshop is planned for Saturday, thanks for your replies...I'll post after. My daughter was singing along to our "theme song" so I have renewed hope
Jun 9, 2017 14:18:39 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter's letter from her class trip arrived - she wrote one message in ML to Dad and another in ml to me. Her first letter in ml without a ml person to help her!
Jun 11, 2017 18:40:08 GMT 9
Nellie: Congrats Mayken, Amy and Joanna!
Jun 12, 2017 10:12:42 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wonderful, Mayken! Those letters are instant keepsakes that I'm sure will be read again many years from now...
Jun 12, 2017 14:57:15 GMT 9
Amy: Joanna, how did Saturday go? Mayken, enjoy this beautiful keepsake
Jun 12, 2017 20:36:29 GMT 9
Joanna: It went really well! I'll make a good post soon with details
Jun 15, 2017 14:04:30 GMT 9
Amy: Looking forward to it Joanna!
Jun 16, 2017 1:39:43 GMT 9
Mayken: My mom got a lovely postcard in ml too from my 6-year-old daughter on her field trip! Another precious keepsake! (OK, I prepared the card with address and stamp ahead of time, but she did the writing all by herself.)
Jun 19, 2017 23:28:01 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW VIDEO AT BILINGUAL MONKEYS TV! Your Child Wants to Be Bilingualhttps://youtu.be/C2uQhIZPp80 (And please subscribe to my growing YouTube channel!)
Jun 21, 2017 8:49:35 GMT 9
Mayken: Our ml section will have a flea market stand at the school fair with used books, games, DVDs and CDs for sale. I donated 2 games, promised my daughter she could choose something. (Proceeds are for the school's ml section.) Love the idea!
Jun 22, 2017 23:23:00 GMT 9