So, I am currently a stay at home mom. My husband is the minority language speaker but works full time so he has 2-3 hours at night with the kids and all weekends. I am not fluent in Swiss German but understand a lot and have a lot of vocabulary.
I was thinking since I am home the most and my son is 4 & his English is very advanced that I could somehow start supporting the work my husband does in the second language. I thought I could start by introducing more and more vocabulary and saying short sentences that I am sure are grammatically correct. I know OPOL is the best model but frankly, they don't get enough exposure as it is.
Does anyone have a good strategy for doing this? I was thinking to find a preschool foreign language teacher's guide with lesson plans to get ideas on simple ways to introduce more and more Swiss German into my son's day. Right now I do a lot of repeating the same sentence or question but in Swiss German.
If anyone has good links, examples of what you have done with success, etc. I would much appreciate it!
Swiss/American family trying to succesfully raise our children speaking English and Swiss German.
I know OPOL is the best model but frankly, they don't get enough exposure as it is.
Allow me to debunk the OPOL myth. For some families it works great; something around 75% success rate according to a study Adam discusses in his book. For others it doesn't...and that includes me. OPOL only managed to get my eldest daughter to be a passive trilingual (which did not suit our aim). We switched to ml@h 18 months ago and within 6 months of the switch my daughter was a fully active trilingual. When I read Adam's book just after this switch, I discovered that according to that very same study he discusses, ml@h has a higher success rate (somewhere around 82%). So it's not all about the OPOL, it also depends on each one's personal circumstances.
Does anyone have a good strategy for doing this? I was thinking to find a preschool foreign language teacher's guide with lesson plans to get ideas on simple ways to introduce more and more Swiss German into my son's day.
As to strategies, here are a few ideas (if I remember correctly when you introduced yourself you said your son didn't seem to understand the ml much, whereas your eldest is a passive bilingual): - arrange a ml reading time every day - try to use very visual books to start with so your son can associate the pictures with what he hears - flash card games (excellent for vocabulary development) - a 20 minute a day ml playtime with some simple board games - simple (an appealing) exercise sheets/activity book - depends on your son. My eldest likes the odd activity book with dot-to-dot, letters, colouring-in, etc. If your son likes this kind of thing, maybe you could set a daily ml homework time (not long, 15min maybe. Just to get him used to learning the ml). - playing ml nursery rhymes - kids love them and are fab to develop vocabulary. Maybe start with ones on Youtube so the video can help him get the gist of the song. - you could teach him to count in the ml on the way to school. - I do that with my 5 year old. She is learning to count to 100 at school. So we taught her in her 2 mls on the school-run. - sing ml nursery rhymes on the school run - I do that with both of my girls. The eldest learnt the ml alphabets like that too.
Hope these ideas can help.
Good luck! The key to success is to always be proactive, and seeing how eager you are, I'm sure you'll make it.
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
I agree with everything Amy says. We also use ml@h because my husband is the native speaker of ml and isn't home long enough to provide enough exposure for my son to become fluent. I am a non-native speaker but feel confident that my son will get enough exposure over time from other sources to counteract any errors I am making. I read Adam's book as well as several other sources citing research which makes me feel confident about this approach.
I think the obvious starting place for you is to read to your son every day as this will help you make sure the language is correct, it will improve your knowledge of the language and it is also the most effective way for any parent to help their child's language development whether they are monoligual or multilingual.
Secondly, listen to and learn children's rhymes and songs as they are a rich source of language and are also very effective at helping a child learn.
I think if you do these two things every day you will already start to notice a difference. Adam's book, blog posts and this forum can help you take it even further once you feel ready to do that.
Hi Kristin! Here's another parent following the ml@h strategy. Both my husband and I are non-natives of our ml. Because his level is lower than mine, in the beginning I feared his speaking to our daughter in the ml would do more damage than good. I now think that if it wasn't because he does, our daughter would be a passive bilingual, even though I spend more time with our children than my husband does. My daughter has learned some of her dad's mistakes, but she's corrected most over time. I think it's only a matter of time before both our children see that their dad (and their mom, with my mistakes) are the only people who say things this or that way, and they learn to speak like everyone else does (the right way). In these cases, I think quantity is more important than quality, especially when they're little.
As Adam always says, it all comes to exposure and need. If you double the exposure -and the need-, things can only get better.
Thank all of you for replying. I appreciate the input. We are steadily plodding along and I can already see a change in our son's comprehension. I am doing a Pimsleur course right now to get up to par to be able to put more and more Swiss German in their everyday interactions. I find it so fun and interesting that now I am speaking it in the home, it has give our 7 year old the confidence to do so as well. I guess maybe she thinks how bad can it be, listen to her! LOL.
Swiss/American family trying to succesfully raise our children speaking English and Swiss German.
Yes, my husband knows very little of our ml, but his consistency in using the few phrases he does and his gradual acquisition of more phrases he uses I suspect really have helped our son see the ml not just as "mom's language" but rather one that we all use when we can and none of us shy away from.
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