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.
Mayken: My 7-year-old, her ML dad and a ml family are going to the Christmas market at a ml school today - and I can't go with them! (Hope that ML dad's presence doesn't stop the kids from speaking ml together.)
Dec 2, 2017 22:12:04 GMT 9
Amy: I'm sure the language balance is heavily in favour of the ml. Don't you worry Mayken. And it's also good that your daughter sees that the ml exists beyond the Mummy sphere. It will give more weight to the ml to hear from another sphere.
Dec 2, 2017 22:51:42 GMT 9
Mayken: In the end, it was my daughter with ML dad and the other girl with ML mom (but who's fluent in ml). The other girl got tired of ml after a while but my girl chatted with people in ml and bought ml books and a snack, all in ml!
Dec 5, 2017 0:29:57 GMT 9
Amy: Not so bad after all then, Mayken
Dec 5, 2017 6:27:24 GMT 9
Mayken: Not bad at all, I just regret I wasn't there with them.
Dec 6, 2017 6:11:36 GMT 9
Amy: As the French have it Mayken: "ce n'est que partie remise!"
Dec 6, 2017 18:47:06 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter wrote her letter to Santa in the ml this weekend, and we'll send it to Santa's address in the ml country, that way she'll get an ml letter back from him! Last item on her wishlist reads "The second Harry Potter book, and more books."
Dec 11, 2017 23:59:38 GMT 9
Adam Beck: More books is always good!
Dec 12, 2017 8:15:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: For Christmas: The Most Beautiful Video You Might Ever See About a Bilingual Familybuff.ly/2nI2yrE
Dec 12, 2017 8:16:04 GMT 9