Bilingual babies

Discussion in 'Ask a Mum!' started by daftscotslass, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. daftscotslass

    daftscotslass Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if this is the right place to post this but was wondering if anyone has any advice.

    My OH is Dutch (speaks English like a native as he went to an international school) and we plan to raise our little one to speak both English and Dutch. While all my family-in-law (apart from my 2 year old nephew!) speak English perfectly, I think it's important not to lose that part of the wee one's "heritage" because we're over there so often.

    One of my mum's neighbours has two children - she is German and he is Scottish and I love the fact that both of hers are fluent in both. Brother and sister converse with mum in German, dad in English and speak to each other using both languages interchangeably! Having sat with her for a while and got her advice on "one parent, one language" I'm a bit more confident that it's do-able.

    I'm just wondering how others coped with this and if there's any further reading I could do?
     
  2. purple13

    purple13 Well-Known Member

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    no advice, but OH and i are going to try to raise trog with at least a little spanish - neither of us are fluent but we're both learning as much as we can.

    i read that if your LO is exposed to another language as a baby, it makes it much easier for them to absorb it and develop foreign language skills later in life. so even if we can't speak too much of it, we'll be listening to our cds etc with trog in the hope that he'll develop an ear for it...

    i've got a few friends who are multi-lingual and am so jealous! good luck!!

    :)
     
  3. BEX101

    BEX101 Well-Known Member

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    my nephew was born is switzerland (english parents) they speak english at home but french at nursury, he's only 1 and is allready talking in both. I think if theyre young enough it becomes natural for them.
     
  4. Sammystar

    Sammystar Well-Known Member

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    mine were all born in Switzerland. We speak only English with them at home but they go to a German speaking kindergarten. They also watch some German TV. By the time they reach school age they will be fluent in both languages.

    My brother is married to a French lady and they have two boys. He speaks ony English with them, she speaks only French. It works wonderfully.

    :hug:
     
  5. paradysso

    paradysso Well-Known Member

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    i keep telling my mum to speak hungarian to alana, but she forgets :wall: i wanted alana to be bilingual, im hoping she wont forget with this next one and maybe alana is still able to pick it up.
     
  6. Squiglet

    Squiglet Well-Known Member

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    Well Tia is billigual.. she speaks English, Spanish and Valenciano (local language a bit like Welsh) all fluently and she speaks some Swedish as DH and his family are Swedish speaking Finns. We moved here when she was three and despite her hearing/speech problems, she picked up Spanish in a matter of months.

    We speak English at home, and Spanish/Valenciano are for school as a rule.

    We get massive amounts of Spanglish going around our house, sometimes its really amusing... but DH will do it too with Swedish :roll: And sometimes I am left with having to translate the oddest combinations of words from them both. Because we have a lot of languages floating around in our house, depending on the situation, we tend to flit between them. Can get a bit confusing sometimes, but its amazing how well kids cope with it...

    When the baby is born, she will speak English at home with me and my parents, she will speak Swedish with DH's parents and DH, and as she will be going to a Spanish speaking nursery from 4 months, she will pick up Spanish from there... Although DH also speaks Spanish...

    We also don't have any English TV or radio played in our house... and I think that's a huge factor with getting kids to speak another language. (btw Pokemon is just as crappy in Spanish as it is in English :rotfl: )

    I feel a little sad because I'm the last of the generations on my side of the family that can speak Gaelic... but tbh, the language would never serve any purpose and I'd rather not confuse the situation with a dead language. Plus without the back up of TV/radio etc, it would be near on impossible to make the language stick. Kids pick up vast quantities of vocabulary from the TV...
     
  7. Kylie1007

    Kylie1007 Well-Known Member

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    I'm v jealous! lol! I'm a French teacher and will be teaching Finn some French words but we're not bilingual - it's a great thing to do. I overheard a conversation in the clinic the other day between a mum who was malaysian or thai or something like that and the health visitor. The mum was worried that her toddlers speech was delayed but the HV said not to worry - he's just learning 2 words for everything and it takes time to distinguish what is English and what is not, but in the long run it has huge benefits.
     
  8. tuck

    tuck Well-Known Member

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    I will be speaking only english to Matilda and a couple of english friends will also speak english, apart from that EVERYTHING else will be in greek. I have friends here whose children had no problem with picking up both languages and already Matilda seems to understand some things that I say and some that the greeks and DH say. She may take longer to actually speak though and in the future I will also try and teach her to read and write in english although all the greek children have english lessons here.

    I would just go for it and your child will pick it up as second nature
     
  9. Sherlock

    Sherlock Well-Known Member

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    I've nannied for various families with bilingual children. I spent 18 months with a Dutch-American family who lived in the NL's. The kids were therefore immersed in Dutch culture, heard the language outside and on TV etc. But in the house with their Mum and me they spoke English and with their father Dutch. They would also converse with their mother in Dutch if in the middle of a flow of Dutch. I also learnt Dutch and would use it with them if they wanted.

    They watched both Dutch and English speaking TV also. Videos, music, songs/singalong, rhymes and so on. Both languages.

    I think if you live here in the UK and your LO is going to hear English spoken outside the home and at school etc its important to use Dutch as much as possible at home. Your OH should stick to Dutch only and if you converse in it also it'd be good on occasion. If your LO hears you both using it and switching between languages they soon pick everything up. Don't worry if they get a few words mixed up between languages, it gets easier.

    Duch story books would be good for bedtime, simple stuff like Jip and Janneke (sp) and celebrating Dutch traditions as well as British.

    Its actually easier with kids for them to pick up and learn 2 languages side by side than we think. To them its normal and they don't suffer from the embarrasment factor that so many (British) adults do about speaking a foreign language.

    A child needs to hear both languages around them in day to day life. Don't be afraid if they don't seem to understand all the words in a Dutch film or kids programme, they will get enough of it and learn. It can be a fun thing for both of you if you are a non Dutch speaker as you can learn together.

    I speak/read/write Dutch still and may even use it around the house with Baby. Although my Hubby is Australian it'd be nice for our child to grow up hearing another langauge. They soak it up like sponges and then learning other languages later on is so much easier.
     
  10. valentine

    valentine Well-Known Member

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    Gaelic's not a dead language Squiglet!
     
  11. daftscotslass

    daftscotslass Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone. I think it would be good motivation for me to improve my spoken Dutch, too. I understand most of it and can get by fine without speaking English when I'm over there. Though, usually, when I speak Dutch in NL they speak back to me in English with a look along the lines of "How cute, you're trying to speak our language, now stop mutilating it and let me speak English to you!" :rotfl:

    While the baby won't be watching much TV, we'll get a lot of Dutch books and I'll try and read (much to daddy's amusement) some of them. :D
     
  12. Squiglet

    Squiglet Well-Known Member

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    not quite yet :wink:
     
  13. Bee

    Bee Well-Known Member

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    quite a lot of schools in scotland are bringing in back into the curriculum and some have already done so successfully. It won't vanish in Scotland I don't think ;)
     

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