Here is our bilingual baby (possibly trilingual!) He's already 3 months old and we had our first visit from the in-laws at the weekend. We are mostly speaking to him in Norwegian (ml1) but his dad also sometimes speaks to him in Sami (ml2) and I use some English (ML) when I don't know the words in Norwegian. I'm pleased at how much I've been able to speak to him in Norwegian and how natural it feels. I'm trying to use songs and books already and that's been a good way to boost my language. I think it will be hard as everyone else we meet only speaks English and so he is going to hear me speaking English the majority of the time. I could be listening to more Norwegian radio but it's far too tempting to watch TV and listen to the radio in English as my language skills aren't quite good enough to understand everything in Norwegian. It was great having the in-laws here and, although they mostly speak Sami, I did pick up some Norwegian baby phrases too. I was really pleased that they also brought us three lovely Sami children's books as it is hard to get hold of them. My husband and I are continuing to try and switch from speaking English to each other to using Norwegian all the time but that is tough as it slows down the conversation so much and I need so much repetition. And with the sleep deprivation and busyness of looking after a new baby it's extremely mentally taxing! Overall we're off to a good start so we'll try to keep going a day at a time.
Congratulations on your handsome little man! Special times are coming ahead!
The first few months as a parent are trying. Don't pressure yourself. Just take your time, try to push yourself a little extra mile week after week to speak more Norwegian with your partner and slowly, before you know it, the habit will sink in. And as tiredness slowly moves out and you recover mental strength, you will be able to walk over to the final stretch of your challenge and switch completely to ml@h.
As to Norwegian media, start little by little: maybe 10min a day, and go increasing this span as you grow more comfortable or/and less tired. Choose a time of the day when you are less tired and have more time to yourself to sit with a good cup of tea and listen.
All my best wishes to you and your beautiful family.
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
I echo everything Amy says. Just wanted to say also that I have a Norwegian colleague whose children follow some internet-based programme run by the Norwegian government to foster language sklls among children with Norwegian heritage living abroad. I guess it is for much older chidlren but good to know it exists!
Alison, congratulations to you and your husband! We're happy to help welcome your sweet son into the world!
It's true, the first few months can be very tiring so, while it's good to do what you can with the minority languages, please don't pressure yourself too much. Just move forward at a sane and steady pace, day by day. And above all, savor this precious time with your son--he'll be 10 years old (like my son) before you know it!
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: Happy birthday to your 2 bilingual monkeys Mayken and Adam Beck !
Jun 30, 2018 5:15:05 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, that's true, but in our case, the U.S. didn't make it to the World Cup this time! Japan has gone through, but they'll probably get knocked out very soon...
Jun 30, 2018 7:22:16 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wojtek, Poland won! I was disappointed, though, to see Japan hold the ball at the end of the game because they only wanted to go through to the next round. I understand why they did that but I wish they had played harder...
Jun 30, 2018 7:24:42 GMT 9
Wojtek: Well, it suited both teams to slow down the ball. However, it was really unexpected and peculiar
Jul 1, 2018 1:16:27 GMT 9
Mayken: On the train from Cologne to my hometown, I saw a boy about 9/10 and his older sister. She was fluent in German but spoke French with a slight accent, he spoke only French. They were visiting their grandparents. I was intrigued but didn't ask.
Jul 1, 2018 22:06:55 GMT 9
Wojtek: Does anyone know an online English speech language therapist? I thought that it could be a good idea to get my girl evaluated in her ml...
Jul 6, 2018 4:02:38 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! My 8-year-old daughter passed her ml swim test today! After swimming & diving, the pool attendant asked her to recite the swimming/safety rules (our recent captive reading), and she knew them all!
Jul 6, 2018 21:28:23 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! Bilingual Lives: Ana Cristina Gluck, Author and Publisher of Multilingual Books for Children (with a Book Giveaway!) buff.ly/2ziSQ4J
Jul 7, 2018 11:28:32 GMT 9
Agnese: First words. What to expect? My son is 10 months old. He's still babbling, but I've noticed some different sounds depending on the situation. I wonder if he'll start saying his first words in the next weeks (or months, who knows?). What should I expect?
Jul 11, 2018 0:30:24 GMT 9
Amy: Don't expect anything Agnese. Just let it happen, and then what he says will hit you like a train. It's an amazing moment. Just live it and don't overthink it. Whatever he says, in whatever language it is, it is a magical moment.
Jul 11, 2018 5:11:14 GMT 9
Agnese: I've recently found a further (annoying) challenge: when I speak ml (Italian) to my child (10m) in front of ML acquaintances, they are making jokes about what I said (mostly accent, similar unrelated words...). What do you think is the best way to act?
Jul 15, 2018 13:04:11 GMT 9
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