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Old 01-02-2007, 06:53 AM   #1
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Question Anyone raising their kids bilingual?

A few of you might know that I'm German. However, after the first 1.5-2yrs of DD's life I gave up talking in German to her (DH doesn't understand/speak German and since my parents were the only ones I talk German to, English became more and more natural to me, to the point where now I sometimes even have to find the right words in German!..)
Anyway, slowly I'm regretting it as DD doesn't understand any German anymore (maybe 2-3 words, but no sentences) and DS never even heard German..
I'm feeling I'm robbing my kids the chance of learning a 2nd language in the years where it's proven that they absorb it all so quickly..
DH's and my main concern was only always that especially for DD, who'll be ready for school soon, it might confuse her and that she'd focus on English first..
I'm debating to get the language set from MUZZY for German where both kids could still learn it (again) fairly quick and in a playful way.. But I'm not sure..
(DH doesn't really see the 'necessity'.. but somehow for me I feel it would be a great benefit if they'd be able to also speak in MY native tongue, kwim?)

So, are there any mamas out there who raise their kids bilingual? How's your experience?
I'd really appreciate your input!
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:03 AM   #2
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Re: Anyone raising their kids bilingual?

My son just turned a year and isn't really talking yet - but we're a bilingual family (attempting to be trilingual). I'm American and speak English, my husband is Lebanese/Canadian and speaks English/Arabic and we're living in Quebec, Canada and are both trying to learn French. DH knows a little, but I don't know any at all, and Quebec is a French-speaking province. We plan on staying here a while, so we're trying to learn the language to teach our children.

I guess we don't really have much experience yet. DS hears English more than anything, so I'm not sure if he understands much but the basics in Arabic. I cannot speak Arabic but can understand a little.

We're just kinda flying by the seat of our pants with all this.
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:13 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone raising their kids bilingual?

We are not a bilingual family and ha, my LO isn't even due until April but thought I'd put my in. There are several families at my church that are bilingual. I am from Ohio so it is not like there is a whole lot more than English spoken around here. But anyways there are a few little boys who speak both English and Spanish and both of the grandparents attend the church. One set is English speaking the other Spanish speaking. You'll see one of the boys running around playing or whatever and he will go up to his GP's, doesn't matter which set and speak their tongue to them.

All this to say that I don't think they get confused early on I think it only helps them. Kids are amazing at picking up languages and for many of us we could only wish that our parents had taught us a second language when we were young. I think it's a wonderful gift you could give to yor children even if it's not a neccesity. I think it helps them develop better languages skills, even in English.

Sorry so long...just my .
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:18 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone raising their kids bilingual?

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Old 01-02-2007, 07:23 AM   #5
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Re: Anyone raising their kids bilingual?

We are. I am American and DH is originally from Cape Verde (they speak Portuguese there). I speak Portuguese well so I can understand when my son is speaking Portuguese although I mainly speak English and DH mainly speaks Portuguese (so that he is hearing native speakers of the language). My dd is only 8 mos but my son (2.5) speaks both. He definitely leans more toward English but that is what he hears more. He mixes them sometimes but knows who to speak what to if it is someone that only speaks one of the languages. Does that make sense? Not the best description but I think I got my idea across.
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:30 AM   #6
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Re: Anyone raising their kids bilingual?

I am bilingual and have been trying to raise Gavin with French and English, but me too, I've even started losing some of my French ever since I moved to the US... DH won't even take the time for me to teach him, and Cody forgot a lot of what he had learned, so I have no one to speak to on a regular basis... I really do want to start up again with Cody, and also really start with Gavin, so I have no advice I'm sorry lol I can relate though! heh
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:38 AM   #7
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Re: Anyone raising their kids bilingual?

We've been teaching DS Pennsylvania Dutch since he was born. It's a dying language that no one outside of my area really knows but it was a part of my growing up so I want it to be part of my childrens. He has picked up on a few of the words. I think it is a great idea to be bilingual.
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:28 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone raising their kids bilingual?

My son is 1.5 years old and is coming along learning spanglish. Lately he's been saying a new word every day or two and he picks whether to use English or Spanish based and which is easiest to pronounce. For example he says pulpo and not octopus, but shoes rather than zapatos. Even though we speak more Spanish at home than English, he's been picking English for more words. However he understands both languages equally well. Right now he's in Costa Rica for three weeks, so we'll see if he comes back speaking more Spanish.
I've heard lots of theories on teaching multiple languages and the best ways to do it, and like many things, I'd guess there's no one right answer. The one theory that makes the most sense to me is that you should speak with your child in your primary language, or one that you know equally well. The thinking is that if you use a language you don't know too well, your child won't be learning from the full richness of a language, but rather from an abbreviated, vocabulary-poor version and thus may not fully develop his/her language abilities (but most likely will cath up a little later on).
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