I'm only using ml with my son but don't know what to do when he interacts with other kids... Should I talk with them in majority language but translate everything in minority language? (Feels heavy and artificial.) I have also tried to just keep using minority language with everyone when I know the other parent doesn't mind. But as they get older, we won't have a rich role playing game if the other child doesn't understand me... Or do I just use majority language with everyone?
When I am outdoors in ML or ml1 country I speak ml2 to my daughters if I am addressing them directly. However, if I am talking to them and the other child I speak in ML/ml1. I never translate. As you put it, it feels heavy and artificial.
If I had the chance to have a little ml2 speaker playing with my daughters, I'd have a different approach and I wouldn't hesitate and speak in ml2 to them.
The reason I always go for the community language is simply so as not to make the other child uneasy (some could simply run off if they aren't used to a foreign language) and embarrass my child by feeling different. Young children hate being different from other kids so I wouldn't want to make my daughter feel uneasy about being bilingual by inflicting our ml on a ML kid and making them run off.
With a ml2 I'd have a different approach, I'd speak in ml2 so they would feel they have something special in common.
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
I'm in the fortunate position that half the kids in my daughter's year (2 classes) at school are either bilingual French-English or French-German (our ml, French being the ML). Some are even trilingual with yet another language spoken at home. As a result, all the kids are used to part of the parents speaking something other than French with our kids. (Makes things easier as compared to the days when my daughter was in ML preschool.) What I usually do is that I speak ml with my daughter and ML with the other kids (unless of course they are bilingual with our ml), and sometimes I'll repeat in ml, like "Don't go behind those bushes" in ML to all, and then in ml to my daughter "Got it? I don't want you to go behind those bushes."
However, my daughter just made friends with a ML kid in our apartment complex. (We moved there not long ago.) I might have to recalibrate my approach there, but so far he's only asked what language we're speaking.
Wait and see, I guess. I'll follow this thread to see what other zookeepers suggest.
If I am addressing my kids directly then I stick to ml. If I feel that my son is feeling awkward or that I might be rude then I say it first in ML then say it again in ml or vice versa depending on who is involved in the conversation. It feels heavy and artificial at times BUT, to me, that is better than compromising my ml. However, it always feels very awkward speaking ml in public. I get looks from other people all the time. I have now developed thicker skin than at the beginning and it is becoming more natural but I am still very aware of the awkwardness.
I speak ml in public. I find it especially helpful in crowded spaces like the playground because she can easily distinguish what I'm saying from the cacophony of other parents. However, if say, a child comes up to us and starts a conversation - asking about a toy she has or what not - I will speak to her in ML because the conversation at hand is in ML. I do the same occasionally in the presence of my husband who does not speak ml. If we're all at the dinner table we're all speaking ML because otherwise he wouldn't be able to follow along in the conversation. In other instances, like the three of us are out and about and I am speaking directly to my daughter, I'll use ml. My 2-year-old seems to have mastered code switching in so far as she will speak to me in ml and to my husband in ML BUT, will respond to me in ML when I address her in ML and in ml when I address her in it.
We live in a diverse city with lots of other bilingual families so she's always hearing other people speak in different languages and we've yet to encounter parents or children that are opposed to the idea. The children sometimes come up to me and ask me what language I'm speaking to her but that's about it.
That's a very good question that I have been thinking about a lot!
To me it has been natural to speak ml with my children, even when there are ML speakers around. Until I have been "attacked" by one child and his mother (ML speakers). They find it very impolite to use language that everybody doesn't understand. Somehow I understand it, too. But I don't want other people to define what language I use with my child!!! I mean, when I say to him "Come here, I need to clean your nose" or something like that! Those are normal things that a mother speaks with her child. And I feel very uncomfortable if I suddenly use another language with my kids than usual! So I have continued to use ml with my kids and explained it again and again to this child + mother. But they are not happy with it. Well I try not to care... Or sometimes I repeat what I said in ML, so that they can understand.
Of course, when I say something to all children, I say it in ML. Or if I say something that involves the others.
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Nellie: Adam - will watch the video as soon as I can (living circumstances not permitting right now - we are still in temp accommodation and I can't turn on volume) - looking forward to it!
Sept 22, 2017 5:56:44 GMT 9
Mayken: Skyping with grandma last night had to be cancelled due to technological problems - I needed to talk my mom through a Skype update and her phone battery died. :-(
Sept 25, 2017 20:45:42 GMT 9
Joanna: sorry Mayken...this is sad but funny as I'm sure many skype Grandparents have the same woes !(mine..) For us this weekend: potty training has led to great quality time reading and chatting, and some pretty hilarious ml questions
Sept 26, 2017 6:20:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Joanna, I can relate! My mother (Grandma) can't seem to get the sound on her computer working so when we Skype, we also have to use the telephone!
Sept 26, 2017 6:36:03 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam, and Joanna, it's good to know we're not alone in this!
Sept 27, 2017 2:46:28 GMT 9
Joanna: Planning a long Christmas minority language visit, so exciting!
Sept 30, 2017 14:46:01 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! Skype is working again on my mom's tablet, meaning we can skype with ml grandma again!
Oct 2, 2017 23:12:24 GMT 9
Mayken: The other day my mom (monolingual ml) called while my daughter and I were out, so Daddy (monolingual ML) answered. My mom was amazed to find out he isn't monolingual ML any more after all, and praised his active ml ability.
Oct 3, 2017 23:28:39 GMT 9
Joanna: For each day my daughter is exposed to other people speaking English (here in France) I put a little star on the calendar...trying to fill it up!
Oct 8, 2017 3:52:17 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice motivating idea, Joanna! And Mayken, thanks for sharing your good news on two fronts!
Oct 9, 2017 7:11:50 GMT 9
Marisa: My daughter won't say number one in Spanish or English, but in German! She loves recognizing the number and saying it out loud... it sounds more like the word 'ice' in English, though, but it's 'eins.' Number 9, however, is 'nueve'. So funny!
Oct 11, 2017 10:33:45 GMT 9
Mayken: My dad's giving Adam's book to his Lithuanian friend's daughter, whose husband is sceptical about their little girl learning German.
Oct 14, 2017 21:10:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, thank you for sharing my book! I hope it can be helpful to them!
Oct 16, 2017 15:57:32 GMT 9
Marisa: Adam, another bilingual monkey is about to be born near me (one of my colleagues is giving birth tomorrow), so I also got her and her husband a copy of your book... this world needs more bilingual kids!
Oct 18, 2017 0:06:43 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Many thanks, Marisa! In my humble opinion, more bilingual kids = more empathy in the world = a more peaceful planet.
Oct 18, 2017 7:33:04 GMT 9