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.)
**My new book, "28 Bilingual English-Spanish Fairy Tales & Fables", is now available at booksellers worldwide!** Adam Beck is the author of the popular nonfiction books "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability" and "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!" (illustrated by Pavel Goldaev) as well as the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear" (illustrated by Simon Farrow).
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:) recently our son was born.
Najwa: My eldest sings and verbalizes his figures/cars stories in an invented language that has English sounds and Italian accent. Is it his way to disconnect from his multilingual world?
Nov 27, 2020 18:27:01 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Najwa, it's hard to respond to your question without knowing the full details of the situation. I suggest starting a thread at a suitable board and offering as much information about these circumstances as you can.
Dec 1, 2020 20:54:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! And let us hope that 2021 is a much better year for the whole world!
Dec 24, 2020 9:00:27 GMT 9
Marisa: Merry Christmas to you, Adam, and to everyone! I also hope 2021 is better than this year we're about to end. It shouldn't be too difficult, right?
Dec 26, 2020 1:03:58 GMT 9
Amy: Happy Christmas Adam and Zoo Keepers! May you all enjoy some quality time with you loved ones. Stay safe.
Dec 26, 2020 22:37:02 GMT 9