Raquel - you may well be right! It will be interesting to see how she responds to peope’s inevitable comments, in any case! I just hope no one says anything to harm her confidence in English, as I am really working on improving it right now...fingers crossed.
Amy - how incredibly insensitive of that person! I would have been furious. Already, I am worried that when we go back to Australia people will mention her « cute French accent » in front of her. I know they will mean it as a compliment, but I don’t want her to think that she’s not « legitimate » as a native speaker! Hopefully your daughter wasn’t listening to her or will just dismiss her silly comment.
I have been reading everything on this forum regularly but never seem to have two hands free to type!
Anyway, I am taking advantage of being able to for once to give the great news that all of a sudden my daughter has started speaking English! It started at the dinner table and now she is talking English with me about 20% of the time - amazing! It is clearly an effort for her, and she has a cute little accent, but she is making actual sentences and - most of all - she appears to be enjoying it! I have to admit that I really can’t believe it!
I guess the rule about English at the dinner table really helped...! Hopefully it will continue. I feel as though we have passed a major milestone in any case.
Thanks, Marie - I will check those out! I would love a trip to London so this could be a good excuse, haha!
Raquel - although she wasn't speaking ML at all, my daughter was hearing it a lot from her father, conversations between her father and me, and from her part-time nanny in Chile. So although she wouldn't say a word she was certainly getting the exposure! You are certainly right that what seems to make the difference for her is hearing other children...sounds like the day camps are the way to go for both of us!
Oh my goodness, that is such a great idea, Marie! It won’t work for Australia because of her age (these sorts of things start later in Australia), but I could try to have her do one in London in the next year or so if there are short ones available! Do you know where I could find information?
We are going to Australia for almost 3 weeks. I’m starting to feel more positive, as tonight at dinner she was really far more accepting of both her father speaking English and the fact that she was supposed to - she actually made quite an effort! So I’m thinking that all is not lost, haha!
For those with children in a bilingual school (Mayken?), is a homework routine necessary? Helpful? I'm a bit worried about overloading my daughter. She already has such long school days and I have no idea how we would find the time. I already struggle to find the time to read with her (in addition to the bedtime story, which is non-negotiable). So I'm not sure what to do!
With ml1 (English) not progressing in the leaps and bounds I had hoped, I decided to inform everyone that we would speak English at the table. My husband has been very willing - my daughter less so. She got quite agitated at her father speaking in English to her, informed us that her dolls had told her that we were to speak French tonight and English tomorrow...basically, she just refused. I have been trying to make it fun and say that it is practice for when we go to Australia at the end of the year, and she seems to be becoming more open to the idea (especially when we instituted a rule that if papa spoke French by accident, we would make a funny sound!) but she herself is not really making much effort. Well, maybe small ones. I am however persisting and am confident that a breakthrough is about to happen...fingers crossed! I do think the end-of-year trip will be an important milestone. One positive thing is that she likes the Raffi album very much, so while she’s not singing along yet at least she is listening!
Ml2 (Spanish) seems to be going pretty well. I asked the Wednesday afternoon nanny what her level was like these days, as she is now speaking ML to me most of the time, and she said that my daughter only ever speaks ml2 with her! So that’s wonderful! I’m pretty certain she is losing vocabulary to some extent, but that that is due to acquiring ML at a rapid pace - I believe the words are still « there ».
As for ML, well it’s definitely at the level of a normal 3-year-old native now (I think!). She uses very sophisticated expressions and has a large vocabulary. A few grammatical errors (mostly conjugation) which I assume is normal.
So all in all, we are doing « ok but can do better ». I need to continue to increase ml1 exposure in particular. The end of year trip is an excellent motivation!
I resubscribed my daughter to Dot (English) and was planning on resubscribing her to her French magazine (Popi), but now I realise that she has enough French input so I would be better off going with the Spanish version! As she is already 3, I am thinking of trying Caracola instead. The only thing is that there is no one in the house to read it with her! However, I figure I can ask her babysitter to do so...I have to admit that I’m hesitating a bit due to the cost.
I guess all of this will be a lot easier once she learns to read herself, but that’s a few years off!
My real name is quite distinctive (hence why I can’t use it on public fora!), and IMPOSSIBLE for French people to pronounce - it just doesn’t work in French on several levels. Moreover, the moment I say it, they realise that I must not be French (because French names are « regulated ») and immediately ask me where it (and hence, in their minds I) am from. While I appreciate that they are just interested, it is rather frustrating to have the question over and over! So I just always give a shortened version, which could be a Dutch name, and pretend I’m Belgian haha.
Anyway, all that to say that when my kids were born I wanted to have names that were French but wouldn’t cause problems in English. 😀 I don’t mind the specific pronunciation per se (my parents definitely have trouble), but I don’t want to be in the situation where people refuse outright to pronounce them - which is what happens to me!
Undraa - I don't have the time to write much but just to say that just the other day I was at the dentist with my daughter. There was a woman there with her daughter, aged around 4. The woman must have been Eastern European judging by her accent. Anyway, I had such a surprise when I heard her speaking to her daughter in French - and all I could think was "what a shame". I'm sure my reaction is not that uncommon! So perhaps people are indeed staring because they are intrigued and thinking how lucky your kids are, and how wonderful it is that you are speaking in ml to them!
Update - based on the advice here, I purchased a Raffi CD and my daughter seems to enjoy it very much! After every song she says “again” (in ml2, admittedly!), which is a great sign! I’m playing it whenever possible in the hope that the repetition will help and she will start to sing along. I think it’s a little above her level of ml1 right now, but she understands the lyrics at least so that’s something! I’ve also realised that when her father is away is the perfect time for me to play music, as when he is here we are more likely to be having conversations and songs would be a distraction, whereas when he’s away for work (2 or so days per week) there are more moments when she is waiting by herself as I run around trying to get everything organised. So I’m going to try to make the most of those times!
I'm pretty certain that this has been addressed elsewhere but I can't find the thread!
I'm looking for good-quality albums of children's music that I can download via itunes or onto my tablet. I specifically don't want anything that is accompanied by cartoons as otherwise my daughter only wants to watch! Also, what I've been able to find on youtube is too fast (so no chance my daughter can sing along) and/or comes with advertisements...
Well the ml2 workshop at the Instituto Cervantes went very well! My daughter was the youngest of the 6 children, but apparently she participated very well and spoke lots (in ml2). It was her first exposure to « Spanish from Spain », so I was wondering whether the adjustment (different accent, some different grammar and terminology) would prove difficult for her, but apparently not. Just going to the Instituto also revived my own interest in Spanish culture(s), which had taken a bit of a backseat after being in Latin America, so now I am motivated to watch more movies, read books etc - which is great! Of course, Spain is in the news a bit recently too...
I’ve also taken up the suggestions of nursery rhymes - thanks Amy and Marie!
Congratulations on the new arrival! And I would start now with exposure, perhaps Spanish lullabies along with English? Play Spanish music in the background. It will be a lot more difficult for him to learn Spanish than your daughter because he would not be in the same immersive environment, so I would get it in as much as you can.
For example, I would focus on Spanish, English and French last with him if you plan to stay there long term. The reason is because he will learn French guaranteed due to it being the majority language. Also, if he will be in the bilingual section, English will eventually come (they say it takes two years for non-speaking English or in my case French families). So he will eventually learn English at school. This is why if you want him speaking Spanish I would start now with as much as you can. For example with playing Spanish music and singing Spanish songs to him. If you speak Spanish, I would perhaps speak Spanish to him when your daughter is at school and then English when she is home.
I would love to add Spanish to our mix, but unfortunately the school doesn't offer it until later! But I'm just happy with my kids learning French, since I only speak one language, at least they have that opportunity. So interesting to read about your daughter's progress and when the switch of dominate language happened. Does she still get regular exposure from a Spanish-speaking nanny? Does she chat away in Spanish with her?
Thanks for your thoughts, Marie! I think you are right that I need to start early with him. Good idea re the music - my daughter will love that too no doubt! I do speak Spanish but don’t know that I would be comfortable speaking it to him...maybe I should start with reading some books to him in Spanish to get used to it!
As far as my daughter goes, yes, she is still getting regular exposure, on Wednesday afternoons when there is no school, and on Saturdays. Our original plan was to have the babysitter come on Saturday night so that we parents could go out, but now that we won’t be able to go out at night for a few months, we have asked her to come for 5 hours in the afternoon. An added benefit is that the babysitter brings a young girl who is the daughter of a close friend of hers (4 years older than my daughter), who is also Colombian and only recently arrived in Paris, so only speaks Spanish for the moment. This is good for two reasons: first, my daughter is extra excited to have an older girl to play with, and I’m guessing that will help with further fostering her interest in Spanish, and second, I think it is good for my daughter to be exposed to children from different backgrounds. This young girl, who is very sweet, is living in quite precarious circumstances and has none of the material or cultural advantages that my daughter - and all of the children she meets regularly - have. Of course, my daughter is far too young to understand all this, but I’m hoping that somehow this friendship will help her to become a more open-minded person later down the line. It seems to me that this is an advantage of multilingualism that we often forget about - the fact that it can also open us up to meeting people of different social-cultural backgrounds!
Sorry for replying only now Marie - I only just saw your post for some reason!
That is indeed funny about the differences! I actually don't know that much about British schooling other than the basic structure and exams at the later levels. I certainly thought it was more play-based at the lower levels than what you describe!
As for your question, I switched between different schools because we moved countries/states and so I was enrolled wherever was practical or would cause the least interruption to my schooling.
I have been finding it hard to find time to write recently due to the new arrival, but logged in to give a short update! My daughter has now definitively adopted French as her dominant language, although she still speaks to me (not her father) in Spanish about 25 percent of the time. I am not thrilled about the fact that she has started speaking French to her brother...I have tried suggesting that maybe he understands English better, and will keep trying along those lines.
My efforts to maintain her Spanish do seem to be bearing fruit, in the sense that she doesn't seem to have lost understanding at all, and I believe her speaking ability is still pretty good, but I'm aware that we will have to keep working on this (for many years no doubt!). I'm constantly on the look-out for opportunities: next week is school holidays, and my original plan for her care during that time fell through, but I managed to enrol her at the last minute in a week-long "workshop" at the Instituto Cervantes. It is very expensive, so not something we'll be able to afford every holidays, but I figure that when we can, the investment is worth it as hopefully she will meet other Spanish-speaking children there (I just hope they will not all talk in French together!). It will also be good for her to get some exposure to "Spanish Spanish" rather than the Latin American Spanish (which also varies a lot according to the country!).
As for English, she is still not conversing in it fluidly, but does occasionally come out with new words that she's learnt at school, and her teacher tells me that she is making small efforts and certainly understands everything, so that's a start! At the end of the year we will travel to Australia for a few weeks too and I'm expecting that to help. Right now my focus is on making her feel that English is something fun and not just a language that her mother speaks!
Of course, having a new child in the family raises all sorts of questions about how we will also foster his abilities, when the language settings that he will grow up with are a bit different to those his sister has experienced to date. One thing is sure: as Spanish is now a 'part' of our family, he will also have to learn it, so I am going to have to find a way of exposing him to it regularly - I wonder at what age I should start thinking about this?!
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Mayken: When you've been waiting for years to share Harry Potter with your child, and one day she picks up the book and reads the first lines herself: youtu.be/P-L7cp-T4LU
Nov 6, 2017 1:41:36 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wonderful, Mayken! A joyful outcome of the steady patience and persistence through all the days that came before!
Nov 6, 2017 9:34:43 GMT 9
Raquel: Awesome, Mayken!! YAY!!
Nov 8, 2017 18:02:22 GMT 9
Mayken: My 7-year-old, her ML dad and a ml family are going to the Christmas market at a ml school today - and I can't go with them! (Hope that ML dad's presence doesn't stop the kids from speaking ml together.)
Dec 2, 2017 22:12:04 GMT 9
Amy: I'm sure the language balance is heavily in favour of the ml. Don't you worry Mayken. And it's also good that your daughter sees that the ml exists beyond the Mummy sphere. It will give more weight to the ml to hear from another sphere.
Dec 2, 2017 22:51:42 GMT 9
Mayken: In the end, it was my daughter with ML dad and the other girl with ML mom (but who's fluent in ml). The other girl got tired of ml after a while but my girl chatted with people in ml and bought ml books and a snack, all in ml!
Dec 5, 2017 0:29:57 GMT 9
Amy: Not so bad after all then, Mayken
Dec 5, 2017 6:27:24 GMT 9
Mayken: Not bad at all, I just regret I wasn't there with them.
Dec 6, 2017 6:11:36 GMT 9
Amy: As the French have it Mayken: "ce n'est que partie remise!"
Dec 6, 2017 18:47:06 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter wrote her letter to Santa in the ml this weekend, and we'll send it to Santa's address in the ml country, that way she'll get an ml letter back from him! Last item on her wishlist reads "The second Harry Potter book, and more books."
Dec 11, 2017 23:59:38 GMT 9
Adam Beck: More books is always good!
Dec 12, 2017 8:15:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: For Christmas: The Most Beautiful Video You Might Ever See About a Bilingual Familybuff.ly/2nI2yrE
Dec 12, 2017 8:16:04 GMT 9