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, the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, is the author of "Bilingual Success Stories Around the World"; "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability"; "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!"; "28 Bilingual English-Spanish Fairy Tales & Fables"; and the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear".
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.
Caro C.: My daughter, 2yo was rocking her bunny while trying to sing her own way. This was something completely new so I made a video... just s couple of seconds had passed when she clearly says a whole spontaneous sentence in the mL: "this is the music". #EpicWin
Mar 11, 2021 14:08:31 GMT 9
Caro C.: It is just now, many hours later that I came to savour the moment since I had a pretty busy/moved day... so excited about this, something small but meaningful 😍😁
Mar 11, 2021 14:11:43 GMT 9
Mayken: That's so cool, Caro!
Mar 12, 2021 3:37:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Good for you and your daughter, Caro!
Mar 15, 2021 10:59:32 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Instagram Live Interview with Adam Beck Watch the replay at this link: www.instagram.com/p/CNlqDXSH49Y/ Note: The video freezes in the middle, but then unfreezes shortly after that.
Apr 13, 2021 22:08:44 GMT 9
Sara: I haven’t been here in ages. So many different aspects of this community were a great help for me in the beginning of my multiple languages journey. Both professionally and personally. Thank you!
Jun 28, 2021 12:21:34 GMT 9
Adam Beck: You're very welcome, Sara! Your warm feedback is really gratifying to hear! Thanks right back to you!
Jul 2, 2021 15:34:26 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! We had a virtual book launch for Bilingual Success Stories Around the World with many of the parents whose stories are featured in the book, including members of The Bilingual Zoo! Watch the video! youtu.be/hGpHpvfqEjo
Oct 2, 2021 13:04:03 GMT 9