We are a family of 4 who recently moved to California! We speak English at home but the children (ages 2 and 3.5) are also learning Spanish and Mandarin. My husband lived in Germany and is fluent, but (as he is not a native speaker) we are not trying to pass this on at this time.
Our bilingual journey started when my daughter was born and we were looking for a foreign language speaker as a nanny. We had a preference for Mandarin or Spanish and ended up with a wonderful Spanish speaking nanny.
When my daughter was 2 we also enrolled her in a morning Mandarin immersion preschool. Eventually my son joined her.
After 3 years with our wonderful nanny, we picked up and moved to California! (from North Carolina).
Here we are trying to continue the momentum we picked up in both languages. The kids are enrolled in Spanish immersion preschool 3 mornings per week. We are attending activities, storytimes, and anything else I can find in Mandarin.
The hope is to sent them to a local public immersion school when they reach kindergarten. In this area we have the option of either Spanish or Mandarin.
I'm excited to have stumbled across this community! Can't wait to learn from you all!
I have a family travel blog and recently published a post on our journey towards multilingualism. Please check it out and let me know anything else we can be doing!
That's awesome, Jessica!! I've read of cases like yours where both parents speak the ML with their children, but they find a way for them to learn a 2nd language (in your case, even a third, wow!!) I think it is you who can tell us how you're doing it!! We have to rely on ourselves for enough exposure to our children. It's easier, considered how much time, we, parents, spend with them. But being able to do it by having a 3rd person who speaks the target language or by attending activities in such language seems amazing to me; kudos to you and your family!! Going to read that last entry on your blog.
Jessica, welcome! And thank you for sharing your blog--your post about your efforts to promote language exposure with your children is excellent! I encourage all parents seeking to support a target language that they don't speak (and even those that do) to read it...
Congratulations to you and your husband (and your kids!) on all the success you've experienced so far, and I look forward to your continuing contributions at The Bilingual Zoo. You have a special perspective and a lot of good ideas to offer others, both parents in a similar position and parents providing language input themselves but in need of further strategies for strengthening exposure (which includes just about everyone!).
I send good wishes from sunny Hiroshima, Japan!
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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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
Mayken: Skyping with grandma last night had to be cancelled due to technological problems - I needed to talk my mom through a Skype update and her phone battery died. :-(
Sept 25, 2017 20:45:42 GMT 9
Joanna: sorry Mayken...this is sad but funny as I'm sure many skype Grandparents have the same woes !(mine..) For us this weekend: potty training has led to great quality time reading and chatting, and some pretty hilarious ml questions
Sept 26, 2017 6:20:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Joanna, I can relate! My mother (Grandma) can't seem to get the sound on her computer working so when we Skype, we also have to use the telephone!
Sept 26, 2017 6:36:03 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam, and Joanna, it's good to know we're not alone in this!
Sept 27, 2017 2:46:28 GMT 9
Joanna: Planning a long Christmas minority language visit, so exciting!
Sept 30, 2017 14:46:01 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! Skype is working again on my mom's tablet, meaning we can skype with ml grandma again!
Oct 2, 2017 23:12:24 GMT 9
Mayken: The other day my mom (monolingual ml) called while my daughter and I were out, so Daddy (monolingual ML) answered. My mom was amazed to find out he isn't monolingual ML any more after all, and praised his active ml ability.
Oct 3, 2017 23:28:39 GMT 9
Joanna: For each day my daughter is exposed to other people speaking English (here in France) I put a little star on the calendar...trying to fill it up!
Oct 8, 2017 3:52:17 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice motivating idea, Joanna! And Mayken, thanks for sharing your good news on two fronts!
Oct 9, 2017 7:11:50 GMT 9
Marisa: My daughter won't say number one in Spanish or English, but in German! She loves recognizing the number and saying it out loud... it sounds more like the word 'ice' in English, though, but it's 'eins.' Number 9, however, is 'nueve'. So funny!
Oct 11, 2017 10:33:45 GMT 9
Mayken: My dad's giving Adam's book to his Lithuanian friend's daughter, whose husband is sceptical about their little girl learning German.
Oct 14, 2017 21:10:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, thank you for sharing my book! I hope it can be helpful to them!
Oct 16, 2017 15:57:32 GMT 9
Marisa: Adam, another bilingual monkey is about to be born near me (one of my colleagues is giving birth tomorrow), so I also got her and her husband a copy of your book... this world needs more bilingual kids!
Oct 18, 2017 0:06:43 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Many thanks, Marisa! In my humble opinion, more bilingual kids = more empathy in the world = a more peaceful planet.
Oct 18, 2017 7:33:04 GMT 9