My name is Olivia and I live in the United States. I don't actually have any children yet, but when I do, I want them to be able to speak, read, and write fluently in Spanish. Spanish is not my mother tongue, and my husband doesn't speak it at all. I speak it, but not as well as I wish I did. I also read and write it, and I am trying to build up a large library of Spanish books for my home.
I came across the Bilingual Zoo when I was searching online to see if it was feasible to raise a bilingual child in my non-native language. It looks like there are ways to do it, but I will have to enlist many helpers. I will probably implement the "time and place" method and hire a nanny or babysitter who speaks Spanish. I will start looking for bilingual school options. The local library has a Spanish storytime a couple of days each week, so that is one resource I will definitely plan on using. I also attend a local church in Spanish.
I have enjoyed following different threads and posts as a guest, and I look forward to being an "official zookeeper."
Welcome, Olivia!! You remind me of myself when I was looking for information on how to do all this 'raising-a-bilingual-child thing'. Good for you, being prepared for it before it all begins. If there's any way I can help with anything Spanish, let me know. Looking forward to hearing from you around the forum.
Posts: 21 Country (residing now): US Country (originally from): Spain Children, Ages: Girl, born in March 2016 Majority Language: English Minority Language(s): Spanish, German, and hopefully French some day!
Hi Olivia! I think it's great idea to consider raising your future kids bilingual (that's my goal with my little one!). Having someone who spends time with the kids and talks to them in Spanish seems like a very good starting point to me. When they grow older, you could also try online chatting with other 'friends from the zoo,' or anyone you know that have kids the same age as yours (in case you don't know many Spanish-speaking people in your area), so it'd be like a 'play date' but in cyberspace. You might want to wait until they're a little bit older (I can't make my own daughter stay in front of the screen to speak to her cousins, aunt, uncles, and grandparents for more that 5 seconds, ha, ha; they all live in Spain), but I'm confident this will change in the future, and she'll be able to talk to them regularly.
My own crazy goal is to raise my 16-month-old daughter trilingual (English -we live in the US-, Spanish, and German), so I managed to find someone who is a native speaker of German and who volunteered to spend time with her, several times a week, and read her books, (try to teach) her some words, etc. I'm sure it won't hurt! Therefore, I share your concerns about trying to raise a kid fluent in a language that isn't spoken at home. Not sure how it's going to turn out, but I'm determined to try.
Wish you the best in your future bilingual efforts!
Olivia, welcome! I applaud the fact that you're thinking ahead and considering effective ways to achieve your bilingual aim. Careful forethought is a significant part of success so, even before you have your first child, you're already making good progress!
I hope this forum, as well as my blog and my book, can be a helpful part of your planning. As a non-native speaker wishing to strengthen your language ability, you may also be interested in these two books...
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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Raquel: I love it, Mayken! What a sweet lady. I would have listened in and not asked, hehe. Did you use it to show your daughter how useful the ml can be?
Dec 21, 2017 20:35:38 GMT 9
Mayken: Raquel, my daughter loved it - both the coincidence, and that this lady was learning our language!
Dec 24, 2017 22:25:47 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Happy New Year to you all! Let's make 2018 a really good year!
Dec 31, 2017 7:04:50 GMT 9
Joanna: Packing to go home from Canada...luggage scale reading 23 kg of minority language books!
Dec 31, 2017 23:48:06 GMT 9
Amy: Happy new year to all! . May 2018 bring you every success in your bilingual endeavours!
Jan 1, 2018 23:08:58 GMT 9
Mayken: Happy new year to everyone! I shared a little New Year's Eve story in the Snack Bar.
Jan 5, 2018 5:08:21 GMT 9
Mayken: 7yo wrote her Christmas letter in the ml and sent it to Santa's address in our ml country. This week she received his reply - and was somewhat offended that he replied in the ML
Jan 5, 2018 21:47:21 GMT 9
Adam Beck: That's very cute, Mayken!
Jan 6, 2018 7:57:09 GMT 9
Amy: Oh no Mayken!! I'd also feel very gutted in her shoes! Hope he made up for it by spoiling her on Xmas!
Jan 7, 2018 1:12:53 GMT 9
Mayken: He totally did, Amy! Especially her most important wish - the second illustrated Harry Potter (in ml, of course).
Jan 9, 2018 0:06:05 GMT 9
Raquel: Happy 2018!! How come Santa replied in the wrong language? That's weird.
Jan 9, 2018 19:26:41 GMT 9
Mayken: Raquel, he gets letters from all over the world at that German address, and I guess the reply is in the language that matches the country fo the child's return address. Next time she'll use my mom's address (if she still wants to write to Santa then).
Jan 10, 2018 0:38:19 GMT 9
Raquel: Mayken, I just was surprised that, reading a letter in a certain language, they would reply in a different one. But if it's an standarized letter, then it makes total sense.
Jan 10, 2018 21:42:23 GMT 9
Mayken: It is. Our local ML Santa, to whom my daughter wrote the year before (in ml) replied in ML too but started the letter with her name. But then he's serving a town of 37,000 people only.
Jan 10, 2018 23:18:32 GMT 9
Raquel: Makes sense, Mayken. Thanks for explaining.
Jan 11, 2018 22:31:51 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter called me out twice this week for using the wrong language with her. The second time it was only one work (number of a métro line).
Jan 12, 2018 0:16:39 GMT 9