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: 40 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 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.
What's on your mind right now? Just type and hit "Enter" to share it here!
Wojtek: Adam, will you be watching in a few hours the football match between our national teams?
Jun 28, 2018 20:27:10 GMT 9
Mayken: Happy birthday to two bilingual monkeys: Adam Beck's daughter Lulu (14) and mine (8).🎂
Jun 29, 2018 23:10:16 GMT 9
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