I'm Agnese. I'm from Italy and I've lived in Spain since 2007. Last September my first son was born. I'm starting the adventure of raising a bilingual child. I'd really like him to be proficient in both languages.
My situation (linguistically speaking) is not the best. My son will attend a ML school (no ml institutions in my city or region) and in a couple of months I'll go back to work and he'll be with his ML grandmother. I'm the major source of input and Italian is not a really common foreign language in Spain (only language courses and materials for adults, not for babies). Fortunately enough, my husband speaks and understands Italian very well, so we're making the effort to speak as much Italian at home as possible (we used to speak Spanish). But unfortunately, I have to speak Spanish with my in-laws and friends and I'm kind of embarrassed to speak Italian to my child in presence of Spanish-speaking people.
I'm reading Adam's book and receiving such a great inspiration and advice for this long adventure.
If you speak the ml at home (ml@home technique), you'll see in Adam's book that it is a technique with a very high success rate according to a research study he analyses. We switched to it 18 months ago to replace OPOL, which did not work well for my eldest daughter.
The key is to keep the Italian strong at home and whereever possible limit the influence of the ML by putting more emphasis on the ml (e.g.: avoid ML media, favour ml media).
If I may say so, don't feel embarrassed about using your ml in public with your child: as he grows he is likely to pick up on this and root for ML instead. I used to be like you, until I realised that my eldest daughter who refused to use her mls felt embarrassed because I felt so too. Assume your educational choice (and there is nothing to be embarrassed about: it's your mother tongue! )
The bilingual journey is full of these trials and challenges. Though they might feel disheartening and frustrating at first, you will learn to live with them and to handle them as best as you can. Brace yourself, there will be a lot of difficult times, especially until your son starts to speak. But trust me from my own experience, the moment they start speaking in ml, it is simply magical and you forget all your frustrations.
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
Agnese, welcome! Considering the challenges that lie ahead, with heavy majority language input from his grandmother and from schooling, it's important that you and your husband make the most of these first few formative years by providing as much minority language exposure as possible.
Tagging onto Amy's helpful response, a close look at these links may help strengthen your resolve to use Italian in public, too...
I would also encourage you to take active advantage of the proximity between Spain and Italy and make travel a high priority so that your son can spend regular time there, too. Such immersion experiences will enable him to soak up both the language and culture and will help offset the heavier influence of the majority language back at home. This is a powerful factor in your favor.
And I'm happy to hear that my book is providing some encouragement to you! Please enjoy the rest of it!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the book "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability", praised worldwide by parents and experts in the field. Available at Amazon amzn.to/22XKuCt, the global Amazon sites, and other booksellers.
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Raquel: I love it, Mayken! What a sweet lady. I would have listened in and not asked, hehe. Did you use it to show your daughter how useful the ml can be?
Dec 21, 2017 20:35:38 GMT 9
Mayken: Raquel, my daughter loved it - both the coincidence, and that this lady was learning our language!
Dec 24, 2017 22:25:47 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Happy New Year to you all! Let's make 2018 a really good year!
Dec 31, 2017 7:04:50 GMT 9
Joanna: Packing to go home from Canada...luggage scale reading 23 kg of minority language books!
Dec 31, 2017 23:48:06 GMT 9
Amy: Happy new year to all! . May 2018 bring you every success in your bilingual endeavours!
Jan 1, 2018 23:08:58 GMT 9
Mayken: Happy new year to everyone! I shared a little New Year's Eve story in the Snack Bar.
Jan 5, 2018 5:08:21 GMT 9
Mayken: 7yo wrote her Christmas letter in the ml and sent it to Santa's address in our ml country. This week she received his reply - and was somewhat offended that he replied in the ML
Jan 5, 2018 21:47:21 GMT 9
Adam Beck: That's very cute, Mayken!
Jan 6, 2018 7:57:09 GMT 9
Amy: Oh no Mayken!! I'd also feel very gutted in her shoes! Hope he made up for it by spoiling her on Xmas!
Jan 7, 2018 1:12:53 GMT 9
Mayken: He totally did, Amy! Especially her most important wish - the second illustrated Harry Potter (in ml, of course).
Jan 9, 2018 0:06:05 GMT 9
Raquel: Happy 2018!! How come Santa replied in the wrong language? That's weird.
Jan 9, 2018 19:26:41 GMT 9
Mayken: Raquel, he gets letters from all over the world at that German address, and I guess the reply is in the language that matches the country fo the child's return address. Next time she'll use my mom's address (if she still wants to write to Santa then).
Jan 10, 2018 0:38:19 GMT 9
Raquel: Mayken, I just was surprised that, reading a letter in a certain language, they would reply in a different one. But if it's an standarized letter, then it makes total sense.
Jan 10, 2018 21:42:23 GMT 9
Mayken: It is. Our local ML Santa, to whom my daughter wrote the year before (in ml) replied in ML too but started the letter with her name. But then he's serving a town of 37,000 people only.
Jan 10, 2018 23:18:32 GMT 9
Raquel: Makes sense, Mayken. Thanks for explaining.
Jan 11, 2018 22:31:51 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter called me out twice this week for using the wrong language with her. The second time it was only one work (number of a métro line).
Jan 12, 2018 0:16:39 GMT 9