Posts: 7 Country (residing now): United States Country (originally from): United States Children, Ages: Asher, 5 years and Jude, 3 years Majority Language: American English Minority Language(s): Afrikaans
We currently operate in OPOL mode in our home. I speak the ML and my husband the ml to the kids. But to each other we speak ML (mostly because I can only understand children's level instructions in the ml). It's causing some friction, as it's apparent my kids need to see the ml spoken by their father even in my presence (otherwise they also try to respond to him in the ML like I do), but he gets frustrated if he goes solo in ml and I constantly misunderstand him, lol. So, do I need to take some lessons and tough it out till I understand more or are there creative ways other couples have dealt with their interpersonal relationship in the bilingual swirl?
Gosh that's a hard one - although it's nice that your children want their father to speak in the ml! If you can work on your own mastery of the ml, I think that would be a great role model for your children! Or maybe define key ml 'moments' such as mealtimes - when you will all speak ml together! Watching you make mistakes and learn will no doubt be fun for your kids and boost their own confidence too.
Jennifer, yes, this can be a challenging situation, with a number of considerations, but it's nevertheless true--as you've noted--that the more your husband uses the majority language in the children's presence, the more their need to use the minority language with him will likely be undermined. As Nellie suggested, I would encourage you to support your family's minority language aim as best you can by learning this language, too, and helping to fortify the minority language environment of your home in further ways, as possible. (Maybe you and your husband could brainstorm ideas for shoring up exposure and need for the minority language, which are the two "core conditions" for progress and success.)
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular 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. Please support The Bilingual Zoo through Adam's Patreon page www.patreon.com/bilingualmonkeys.
It's great that you are willing to find a solution, it can only help their minority language...and yours too! How have things changed since your post? I understand it must be difficult, my husband's English isn't perfect, but he manages to speak in English to our daughter, and I often speak in English to him (with varying levels of success as proved by my embarassingly long thread on the ups and downs!).
I think this is a really important post you've made, and hope others can share the way they communicate around the children, in public, and out of earshot of the children...it's a big factor for success I think.
English speaking Canadian Mom, French speaking Dad, transitioning to minority language at home (English) with our daughter in France. Our daughter is doing great with English:)
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Mayken: Calling all Paris-area Zookeepers - if you're free in the afternoon of September 14 and want to meet our Head Keeper Adam and other Paris-area zookeepers, get in touch with me via private message!
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Sara: Loving speaking Italian and Spanish with my two whilst living in Australia. Thank you Adam! and other parents for all the Inspo! I am currently writing a report for my masters and it's all about EAL/D learners so I am using great content covered here.
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Amy: Buena suerte (good luck) with your masters Sara! Glad we can inspire you
Oct 12, 2019 21:44:18 GMT 9
Amy: Adam Beck hearing about typhoon in Japan. Hope you and your family are safe.
Oct 14, 2019 4:12:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Amy, western Japan, where we live, was spared, but the typhoon hit central and eastern Japan very hard. Thank you for thinking of us. I'm thinking of you and your family, along with everyone I met during my trip! (And I can picture you now, too!)
Oct 14, 2019 11:09:23 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Sara, cheers from Japan to Australia! I wish you all the best with your efforts at home and for your report!
Oct 14, 2019 11:11:22 GMT 9
Mayken: Last night, I couldn't think of the ml word for puffin, and my daughter beat me to it, in a cute way: It's Papageitaucher (literally parrot diver) but she said Tauchpapagei (diving parrot).
Oct 14, 2019 23:11:32 GMT 9
Amy: It's a relief to hear you're all safe Adam Beck! Mayken, I loved that cute story and I love how your ml structures its words, it is always so much fun and interesting.
Oct 15, 2019 4:00:34 GMT 9
Nellie: So glad to hear you and your family are safe Adam.
Oct 16, 2019 4:35:04 GMT 9