(Closed) Bilingual baby?

posted 10 years ago in Babies
Post # 17
Member
5496 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2010

We’ll be doing this with our future children. Hubby is Indian (Hindi is native language). We will probably teach the children Hindi and English equally. 🙂

Post # 18
Member
1585 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Fiance and I will be raising our children to be bilingual.  We both speak fluent english and french.  He was born in France and my family is from there.  English, however, was my first language. 

It will be very hard for me not to speak french to our children because we speak about half and half at the house but they say that you are only supposed to speak your mother tounge to your children if you want them to learn the language correctly. They also say that it does not matter what language you speak with your husband as long as you speak only one language to your children.

I will also send my children to the Lycee Francais so they will be proficient in reading and writing.  I never know if they want to go back to France one day.

Post # 19
Member
256 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

I plan on doing this as well; I will speak to our baby in only Spanish and hopefully my husband will only speak in Turkish. I got the idea from a high school Italian teacher who did the same with her children and they didn’t even realize she spoke English until they were over 3 years old. As a bilingual individual myself, I was very glad my parents (who don’t speak English) kept up with correcting me and making sure I spoke ,read and wrote Spanish correctly as so many individuals now don’t have that level of fluency. Even as an adult I find my vocabulary limited if I don’t speak it as often as I used to. It is worth the work to get them acquanted now, and studies have shown the best time to introduce children to new languages is before the age of 7 (if I am not mistaken, it may be earlier). 🙂

Post # 20
Member
638 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2007

This isn’t an option for us because we only speak English – but I love the idea!

I remember in high school my friends had a 3 or 4 year old brother.  At basketball games he turned to his dad and spoke in Spanish, then would talk to us in English. It was amazing to me that he could change so fast and ‘knew’ what language to speak to who!

Post # 21
Member
761 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

We also will one day have bilingual children. My FI’s native language is Swedish and mine is English. We plan on doing what has been mentioned and I think every night from around a year he will read in Swedish to the children to they not only hear it but can see it written. My Swedish is about ten words so I also feel that having the children learn will further along my learning. I will also have our children take a third language in school. My Fiance is also proficient in Norwegian, Danish, and German and would love for our children to be the same but maybe in different languages.

Post # 22
Member
1813 posts
Buzzing bee

wow, I’m so jealous of all of you fluent speakers!  I’m more proficient than hubby at foreign languages, but I am not fluent by any means.  I took spanish 4 in college, but that was years ago, so now I’m nervous that I would confuse the poor kiddo.

Post # 23
Member
674 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I do research on language learning and everything I’ve read and researched suggests that a child can only be raised bi-(multi-)lingual if he/she is immersed in an environment where people are native speakers of the languages in question.

As the OP is not a native speaker of French, and therefore does not have native-like competence in French, her child will not really be bilingual. She might end up teaching her child things that would be judged incorrect by native speakers of French, and most likely, the child will grow up to speak a creole form of French.

If you want to raise a child bilingually you need to make sure they find themselves around native speakers of the second language (e.g. at school, with nannies, in a different country, etc.).

Edit: Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh. I’m just trying to help. Smile

Post # 24
Member
5496 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2010

@Shaunna That totally makes sense to me. Since my Hindi is so bad, I will leave it to the hubby to speak proper Hindi to our future children because I don’t want to butcher the pronunciation while they are learning.

Post # 25
Member
1585 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@Shaunna-  I totally agree!  I speak french fluently inside and out but it was not my first language.  Fiance will be speaking to our kids in French and I will speak to them in English.  Which will be very hard for me but it is the only way to have completely bilingual children.

Post # 26
Member
7081 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2009

We’re doing English and Spanish.  Kids brains are remarkably pliable, and they quickly learn which words go with which language.

I have cousins who occasionally substituted a word when they couldn’t come up with the word in English, but they always seemed to know which language to speak to which people.

Post # 27
Member
70 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I work as a teacher in a dual-language (Spanish/English) early childhood education program. Our students are 1-5 years old and mostly come from Spanish speaking homes. We have two teachers who are native English speakers and two who are native Spanish speakers. It’s amazing how quickly the kids learn who to speak English to and who to speak Spanish to. They absorb everything so quickly and I am constantly amazed by the progress they make in both languages. I’ve studied bilingual education and as greenleafmountain said, I think it’s important to keep the languages separated. Although I do speak Spanish, I almost never speak to the kids in Spanish unless absolutely necessary because I am one of the two native English speakers. 

My mom grew up speaking both languages but lost her Spanish over time so I had to learn Spanish in school. It’s definitely something she regrets.

Teaching a child two languages can definitely be done, but it takes a lot of work and intentionality. Good luck!

Post # 29
Member
3525 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Can I ask why if French is not one of your native languages?

I would honestly hold off until the baby is 2 or 3.

Yes, kids can pick it up really fast. But I have to say with a lot of the kids in my family speech is always a problem because of the different languages.

This is a case of extreme but with my nieces and nephews.
They have Cantonese which the parents speak that to them, my mom speaks fujianese, then the other grandmother speaks another dialect. So they are now exposed to three languages. Once preschool hit there was English. And you find that once that hit English does become their dominant language with some of the other languages speckled in. My niece and nephew (now 7) speak primarily English, can speak Cantonese and understand all the other languages. But it definitely came with it’s price.

My niece went through a good 2 years of speech therapy class. My nephew was not that extreme but there were definite speech problems.

I would say unless the baby had to be bilingual from day one I would avoid it till their speech is more developed.

And yes, I do plan on teaching our kids Cantonese because they have to communicate with my mom! 🙂

Post # 30
Member
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Our plan is to raise our children bilingual. I am a native English speaker and Fiance is a native German speaker. Fi didn’t learn English until moving to the States right before high school despite the fact that his father is American. Most people can’t even tell that English is his second language though.

Intially, Fiance wasn’t interested, but after a trip to Germany he changed his mind. My uncle (an America) married a German woman and they have three children (ages 6,4, and 2). All three of them are spoken to in German by their mother and English by their father and their fluency and understanding of both languages is quite remarkable. There are times when they combine the languages, but they are aware when there are English-speaking only guests over and have the ability to communicate with very little trouble.

It’s cliche to say, but kids really are like sponges. They can handle a lot more than people think.

Post # 31
Member
674 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

View original reply
@FreeRangeMom:

I have read that babies are born with the capacity to learn any language, and that the brain gradually cuts off pathways to aquire new sound patterns as the child ages.

Yes, this is basically true. The consensus in the literature, though, is that no matter how fluent you might think you are in a language there are finer grammatical points that can only be judged by native speakers. I won’t insist on this point, though, as I don’t know exactly how proficient you are.

@Gerbera:

Some of what you say has been demonstrated empirically, i.e., yes, bilingual children tend to be slower at acquiring the languages, might mix things up, etc (understandable since they’ve got more to absorb). However, it has been shown that they do catch up eventually, and actually are much better at picking up additional languages as they grow up.

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