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 popular non-fiction book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide.
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Amy: Agnese, it is simply because they never had the opportunity to be acquainted so closely to that language. Just smile and keep going. Over time (even if this may seem long), the comments will fade. Don't show your son you are embarrassed by your ml.
Jul 16, 2018 3:56:41 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Agnese, I strongly second Amy's advice! Stay strong and continue speaking Italian!
Jul 18, 2018 6:22:37 GMT 9
Adam Beck: And Agnese, keep in mind that, above all, the highest priority is your bilingual aim, not the other passing concerns that are part of this experience (for us all). Don't let these distract you from the greater goal.
Jul 18, 2018 6:24:49 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you! After this setback I feel stronger than ever! The same day of the incident I ordered plenty of books in the ml on Amazon and I'm reading every day new research on bilingualism and bilingual education. I'm ready to defend my goal! Thanks
Jul 19, 2018 18:37:58 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you for the suggestion!
Jul 21, 2018 15:40:43 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter met some inversed ML/ml kids today who live in our ml country. Their parents probably weren't thrilled they found n ML (for them) friend in their ml country. I'm sorry...a little bit.
Aug 7, 2018 2:07:34 GMT 9
Amy: Looks like the 3 weeks in ml1 country paid off: my ML mother reports my youngest would only speak ml1 to her! Lol Not sure ML childminder will be so happy when she returns... loool!
Aug 25, 2018 0:38:50 GMT 9
Mayken: Sounds like fun times ahead, Amy! Keep us posted.
Aug 27, 2018 23:15:08 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! Something Strange Happened 2 Days After We Moved into Our New House (And Its Significance to Change and Transformation on the Bilingual Journey)buff.ly/2ww8WDD
Aug 31, 2018 10:30:39 GMT 9
Amy: Happiest bilingual mum in the world : the new lady who conducts activities in ml2 with my eldest just assessed her level as pretty much equivalent to that of a native ml2 child! After that awful back-to-school start, this is like music to my ears.
Sept 6, 2018 0:00:13 GMT 9
Wojtek: I've been thinking for a long time to write an update and hopefully, I will do it one day. My brother married a Russian woman. That was nice to see that my 5-year-old daughter could play with her and speak English together!
Sept 7, 2018 21:37:25 GMT 9
Wojtek: After some time, she ran up and told me: "She is speaking English!"
Sept 7, 2018 21:38:31 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice to hear your happy news, Wojtek! And congratulations to your brother and his bride! It sounds like they may have a bilingual child in their future, too! Cheers to you all!
Sept 7, 2018 21:58:17 GMT 9