Hi Tracey!! Thanks for the tip on where to find more things in English!! Hubby and I used to always watch movies in English, but with the little one being too little for movies we can't take both. The only time I can take my daughter is when she's off school and her brother isn't, which means a morning on a weekday, when there are no movies in English to be watched. *rolls eyes* Not to mention that most movies in the original version are for adults, not for children. I haven't heard about the paper you mention, but I'll google it. My husband will think I'm even crazier than he already thinks I am if I start taking the kids to English speaking health professionals, lol. As far as bookstores go, I must confess I order most of ours online.
Well, if you come to Madrid, please let me know!! If not, let's talk after the summer holidays and find a way to get together! If I forget to PM you in September -my brain is fried-, please remind me!
3 languages; lucky kid! I think you have a lot of things on your side: the fact that you grew up -if only in the beginning- speaking your ml, having access to family who speak that language, and living in a city where 2 languages are spoken.
That's a tough one! I agree that creating need is hard, especially when you're on your own speaking a minority language while our children are surrounded by the ML everywhere else. All that comes to mind is looking for activities in Russian or other Russian-speaking children or families in your area, which I bet you've already done.
I can see why she would resist speaking a ml when her command of the ML is so good; not being able to communicate as well as you'd like is very frustating!!
Amy has suggested some fun ideas you could try, if you feel they could work, and I'm sure others will be able to share what worked for them. All I can say is, stay strong and keep at it; this is a roller coaster and it has lots of ups and downs.
I can only echo what others have said before: read Adam's book to help you decide what strategy would work for your family and help you along the way.
I think it doesn't matter that your husband misuses and makes up words... He's always spoken Spanish to his parents, so he'll be just fine. And so will you, as you don't need to know every single word you'll need today; you'll learn them along the way. If there's any way I can help with Spanish baby vocabulary -or any other kind- send me a PM and I'll be happy to help if I can.
Welcome, Olivia!! You remind me of myself when I was looking for information on how to do all this 'raising-a-bilingual-child thing'. Good for you, being prepared for it before it all begins. If there's any way I can help with anything Spanish, let me know. Looking forward to hearing from you around the forum.
Sounds like we found the exact same articles regarding the "you can't hurt them" idea, at least early on.
Did you read anything saying it could hurt them if we keep speaking in our second language when they're older?
I'm going to look at the book suggested here and perhaps come back to you as a resource once we start in!
Sure, I'd love to help in any way I can, but I think you'll have most of your questions answered when you read this book and more.
Do both you and your partner speak the ml to your daughter?
Would love to hear any tips and tricks you've found success with. Thanks!
I feel like we're still playing it by ear, but what we did from the beginning and worked (you may want to read Amy's post on "kicking the ML out of their home") was have all their things at home in the minority language: no toys, books, songs, TV or anything else in the ML. We don't even use Spanish words when we don't know an English word; we either say it in a different way or tell them mommy/daddy has to look for the right word, and we look it up (I love the Wordreference app on my cell). We also had a native speaker come home once a week for exposure to a real person -not just TV- who speaks English natively. If you can find playgroups (we couldn't) or any activities in the ml, that would be good too.
I'd also love to hear all about your journey, what you're planning on doing, etc... Just because we've been doing this a bit longer doesn't mean we can't learn from you too.
Thanks, Tracey!! Maybe one day we can meet halfway. Just say the word! Hope you do get to visit the UK next year; the timing would be perfect for your youngest, as it seems to be around the time they turn 2 when they make a lot of language progress.
As far as English activities in Madrid, it's true that there are quite a few, but I feel my daughter gets bored when we go and doesn't participate much; these are activities for children learning English at school as a second language, so I can see why she loses interest very quickly.
Thanks, Adam. I'm an awful writer, but if I can come up with something post-able, provided something worth telling happens this summer, I'll be happy to share it with all of you.
Mayken, it sounds like you guys are making the most of your trip to "ml country", as you call it. I can't tell you how envious I am -in a good way- that you have family and friends in your ml country so that your daughter isn't a tourist, but can really be immersed in life over there. Enjoy your time there!!
Hi and welcome! Well, Amy has already told you the basics, so let me just add that I'm also one of those non-native parents and looking for information online and reading articles saying it was okay for non-native parents to raise their children bilingual in their 2nd -or 3rd, 4th...- helped get me on board. I knew someone who had done it already, but she could easily pass as a native speaker, which made me think it wasn't an option for me. It was my husband who insisted we could do it -he even got on board even though his command of the ml was even more lacking-. That was when I googled it and found different articles saying it could only benefit the child to go ahead and speak our 2nd language to our children, and here we are, 4 years and lots of concerns, plans, worrying, ups and downs... later, with a daughter whose ml is better than her ML -not for long, though- and a baby who's too little to speak yet.
It's a lot of work, but if it matters to you, you'll make it happen.
I was so sorry to hear this didn't work out, Amy. From what I'm reading in here, it looks like getting in is nearly impossible.
Don't we moms always blame ourselves for anything that goes wrong in our children's lives? I know I do! But of course you're not to blame for this, and don't you ever think such a thing. Your daughters are very fortunate to have parents like you and their dad who are going above and beyond to make sure they speak 3 languages, no less!! Think of all the ideas you're coming up with to get them to speak both mls and all the time, thought and effort you put into it. If anything, you're an inspiration for us all.
I know it's hard when something doesn't go the way we planned, but I know you'll come up with an alternative that will work even better for your family. Hang in there, Amy!!
I occasionally hear 'young French people' code-switching between French and English and it has always come across as very pretentious to me, sort of as though they are showing off, which is probably why I wouldn't do it in more than a very limited way in public.
It sounds the same way here, which is why I never do it with anyone that isn't family or a close friend. But I find it stressful when I'm talking and trying to come up with the right Spanish word -while thinking of the English one- before I have to say it. It makes me sound dumb when I don't.
On the other hand, when I'm speaking Spanish and don't know a word, I often 'make one up' based on the French word.
Right there with you. I think we all do this, don't we? Don't you often get it right even though you're making that word up? French and Spanish are very similar.
I can SO relate to what you're saying here, Shangzhu. I feel the most comfortable when I can use both Spanish and English in the same conversation.
My first language is Spanish hands down, so it's easier for me to speak in this language, but even easier to speak Spanish and then add some English words and expressions here and there. This is exactly what I do when speaking with family or friends who speak both languages. With my husband, when the children are present, I sometimes speak in one language and sometimes in the other, just because it feels easier.
I believe I think and talk to myself in English more than I do in Spanish. My guess is, this happens because my brain knows that's the language I need to practice.
I tend to speak to children (and animals) in English, because that's the language I speak with my own kids, so it's what comes naturally. It would be easier to speak Spanish, I'd be less limited language-wise, but it feels unnatural, so I always end up speaking English to little children, even to those who only speak Spanish. Isn't that crazy?
Finally, there are things I've done or discussed more in one language, so it's easier for me to do in it. Most things are easier in Spanish, but things like giving instructions -especially about how to do anything online-, I'd rather do in English.
Amy, re point 1, at least you remember in the other 2 languages! If I think I'm going crazy with just 2 languages, I can't imagine what it must be like with 3!! The other day I was speaking English and couldn't remember one word in English that I knew was pretty much the same in both languages, so, in order to remember, I had to stop, think in Spanish so that I could remember the word, then say its English equivalent. It's like Spanish and English are in separate folders in my brain and I need to close one in order to open the other one and search for what I need.
As everyone already pointed out, this process has its ups and downs. The ups are very encouraging but the downs always have you wondering whether you're doing something wrong and how to get back on track.
Amy made a good point when she said that children always go for the easiest option. If I can speak just one language, why bother speaking two? Our children do the same: my daughter only spoke in the ml between the age of 2 and 3 because she didn't feel the need to use the ML, even though she understood it. She's also called me "mamá" in the ML a few times, just to see my reaction. I ignored it and she went back to calling me "mommy".
Hope this "down" is over soon and your daughter goes back to using more words in the ml.
Tracey, I hope you can get your husband on board (pun not intended) and travel to the UK with your children.
We'll be going abroad with our children for the first time (to the UK, in fact) this summer and I confess I'm a little nervous, but mostly excited. Hubby and I used to travel a lot before having children, but haven't left the country these past years. Plus, travelling with children will be nothing like it was by ourselves, so we still feel like newbies at it. We don't have the -great- advantage of having any friends or family over there, so we're on our own to decide where to go, find activities for them, etc... Our main goal is getting our eldest to play with other children in English, which we don't have that much control over, so I hope it works out. We'll only be there for 9-10 days, but it's a start. I'll let you know how it goes.
For the moment she doesn't dare use ML at home because she knows how cross I get about it if she does. She is scared of the language police. She has already picked on the only ML word her baby sister uses and boy she enjoyed teasing about it. We have insisted on her showing the ml example to her baby sister. But knowing my eldest's mischievous character, I am cautious...
Oh, I see!! So you're not afraid she'll follow her sister's lead, but that she will use it as an excuse to cheat herself.
We are travelling back to ml1 country for 3 weeks. It is the longest we will have stayed there so far. Brilliant for the girls. We skyped my mother-in-law and she is already looking at summer classes at the local Culture House (like my eldest had last year) to see if there is anything interesting to enrol my eldest on. My husband already planned a few days away just him and me, leaving the girls with their grandparents... doubly-brilliant for the girls!
That's awesome! And I bet it'll be good for you and your husband too. You're lucky to have family abroad who can help you find activities for them and can provide this kind of immersion. What I would give to have it! If there's any way I can help, let me know!
Beyond their ml they will also be entirely immersed in their minority culture...and this is priceless. I feel that if they feel their minority identity they will also develop the need and will of mastering their ml. And if they do, if they bring it home after the holidays, then it will annihilate the power struggle to respect our ml@h rule.
Good point!! I know my interest in languages started when travelling around Europe and wanting to play with other children who sometimes spoke English, but sometimes didn't. It created that "need" for me. But feeling that a certain language is part of who you are would definitely create a greater need to learn it.
Good to know, Nellie!! Thanks for sharing that piece of information!
Tracey, reading your post I was thinking your daughter would be bored to death in an academy class with children her age who are learning the basics while she already speaks the language. So, how about a personal tutor? Do you think it would help?
Very true. My daughter looooves the idea of watching TV, but when she does, she gets tired of it after a little while. It's like treats, which she's always asking for, but when she does, she gets one gummy or some chips and is happy with that. She doesn't take after her mom at all; when I got my hands on treats at her age, I didn't stop until someone told me to.
It's harder for you, Undraa, since you're the only one speaking the ml at home. We also put them to bed separately, but their dad is also speaking the ml to them. The problem for me is when I'm alone with them, which is about 3-4 hours a day on school days. Before, with my eldest, I could devote all of my time to playing with her. Now, with 2 children, they get half as much exposure to the ml from me.
I very much doubt your eldest will think she should do what her baby sister does, Amy. We tell older siblings that they're big and need to help the little ones learn and they see how many more things they can do that the little ones can't. My guess is your eldest will see it as her little sister not knowing -yet- that "we don't speak in the ML at home". You're lucky she only speaks in the mls to her little sister. I've caught my daughter speaking in the ML to her brother in the presence of other family members, when she speaks in the ML with everyone but mom and dad. I reminded her we only speak in the ml with her baby brother because "he's learning" and she needs to help him learn. She's made the connection children-ML.
My little one is already attending nursery school, so I'm also afraid of what will happen when he starts speaking, especially if he says things in the ML. My daughter is used to code-switching when spoken to in one language. It amuses my dad that if he speaks to her in the ml she'll answer in this language and if he speaks in the ML she'll answer in that one instead. I'm counting on summer holidays and all the ml we can provide during this time. Once we go back to school, we don't have that much control over their languages.
(And from my daughter's recent comment to her Dad that he should speak in ml2 because "Mummy wants everybody to speak ml2" betrays my daughter's impression of the language police. )
Awww. This means nothing, though. She may just have noticed that you like it when she speaks the ml2, just like you like it when she's nice to others or cleans up after herself. I doubt your daughter thinks of you as anything like "the language police". If she felt it's something imposed, would she bother speaking in the ml? I don't think so
I also reject ML telly when kids are around (had to ask my hubby to cut out the sound when watching a sports game... Poor man has to put up with the language police, too! ***sigh***
Not at all! It's in his best interest too, as he also wants his children to speak both mls. We all have to make sacrifices every now and then.
You are right, with 3-4h a day, it is near impossible to do many activities with small kids (they are already sooooooo slow just doing the most basic morning/evening routines). Hence the advantage of an all ml home (as my situation allows) providing daily exposure during those few hours without having to cram activities into an already packed schedule!
So true! We make the most of the time we have; that's what matters.
I am also really really worried about the baby brother starting to speak soon. It is going to be tough until we find our routine.
Same here! Mine are the same age as yours (born in 2013 and 2016), so I know the feeling. I don't know you, but ever since my son started sleeping less and playing more, I feel like my time with them has been cut in half: I can only really talk with one of them at a time. Like yesterday, I was trying to teach my son to get down from the couch feet first, and my daughter was making a puzzle and asking for help every now and then. They have different needs, so there aren't activities they can both do at this point.
Being her only source of the ml ought to be hard! But it sounds like you're doing great. She's only 16 months old and she's already saying some words in Spanish and you can tell she understands you. I can't wait for my 12-month-old son to get to that point where I can tell he understands and he's saying a few words!!
The only thing I can say is keep trying to find more things to do in Spanish -your ml-. I've looked for activities in our ml a lot of times, and I sometimes found new interesting activities. And if you can't find them, there's always the option -if you can- of starting one yourself!!
My son is also more interested in biting books than in reading them. We always read my daughter a bedtime story (I sometimes read to her during her play time after school, too). I've tried reading to my son during the day but, although he'll sometimes touch the pages (it's mostly touchy-feely books) or enjoy passing pages, it usually ends with him leaving to play with something else. Oh well! I know one day he'll be interested, so I'll keep trying until then.
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Mayken: Welcome back, Adam! We kept the zoo running while you were away and even swept up the monkey droppings!
Aug 2, 2017 18:26:12 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Well done, Mayken! Many thanks! (I was afraid I would be overwhelmed by the monkey droppings.)
Aug 3, 2017 6:18:08 GMT 9
Amy: My turn to disappear for a few weeks! Off to ml1 country with very high expectations as to the benefits of ml1 family bonding and ml1 exposure for my 2 girls! Have a lovely month of August everybody ! xxx
Aug 6, 2017 4:58:35 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Amy, have a really fun and fruitful time!
Aug 6, 2017 6:30:06 GMT 9
Nellie: Welcome back Adam and have a great time Amy!
Aug 9, 2017 5:37:45 GMT 9
Ahmet: Hey Adam! Thank you very much for writing such a nice book. I've read it , took lots and lots of notes. It's full of precious information about raising a bilingual kid. It helped me a lot and still keeps me on my way. goo.gl/photos/oPyfKffApeWPB9eU
Aug 11, 2017 7:34:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Ahmet, I loved seeing this photo of my book! Thanks so much! Would you mind if I shared it? And I'd be really grateful if you would leave a review at Amazon or elsewhere online.
Aug 11, 2017 8:54:39 GMT 9
Ahmet: Hi Adam, of course you may share the photo. By the way I already left a review at Goodreads and Amazon and I will continue to share info about your book.
Aug 13, 2017 17:34:53 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Ahmet, thanks a lot for your support!
Aug 13, 2017 18:14:01 GMT 9
Mayken: Our German elementary school dictionary (Grundschul-Duden) arrived today. After reading "how to look up words" together, my daughter is in love with it and asks me for words for her to look up!
Aug 24, 2017 4:16:33 GMT 9