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Old 12-26-2008, 11:23 AM   #11
stephanie777e
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Re: Which language to teach in?

Here is what my husband and I have talked about, but our baby isn't even born yet, due May 2009. Background info: I'm American and live in El Salvador, but was a Spanish teacher in the US, therefore I speak fluent Spanish. My husband used to teach English as foreign language classes here in El Salvador before going to the US to get his masters, therefore is fluent in both English and Spanish as well. My family, in TX, doesn't speak Spanish, and my husband's family barely speaks English.

We have decide to introduce both languages from both parents. When we're alone in the house, without any extended family around, I will probably speak English to our child. But, when other Spanish-speakers are around, we will speak Spanish. I plan to teach our baby words/vocabulary in Spanish and in English, pretty much forever. However, depending on where we live when child is ready for school, whatever language they learn grammatically will be determined on the type of school she (and other kids to come later) attends.

Since I have teaching experience in Spanish and know the grammar, I can teach Spanish at home if child(ren) attend English-focused school. I can do the other if child(ren) attend Spanish-focused school.

The point of all this is that, whether or not you know the grammar and vocabulary of the other language(s) you want to introduce, you always have the option of focusing on what YOU can teach your child, especially if you're the primary educator and not a school or your spouse. And, child(ren) can learn other skills at school or with other parents, or at an another institution.

Another idea: look for programs that kids can enroll in during their breaks from school where they can learn other skills- other languages, computer skills, etc. (My husband's mom put him in classes for every major break from the school year and he took classes on karate, piano, English, computer, etc. and he's very thankful to have been exposed to all those things.)

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Old 12-29-2008, 12:32 AM   #12
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Re: Which language to teach in?

For us it is simple. With our DD, DH spoke and still does speak Swedish to her she was fluent by about the time she was three I just spoke English to her and again she was fluent by about age three. When she turned 4 DH began to speak to her in German and still Swedish. She is very good in German now too at just over 5 years old. Sometimes she will answer in English but knows the languages are all different now. We have done the same with our son. And, funny not only is he saying many words in Swedish and English but has also said some words in German too (as he hears DH say) and he is only 16mths!

At some point I think it's around 3 ish and 4 or later for some kids, they realize that the languages are separate and you can say... "Nana speaks English only so talk english" etc...
My cousin did this the same way with her DH with their DD and she is fluent in Italian/English and French! She learned English grammar in school and she later in high school learned Italian written grammar in the USA and speaks all three languages.

Children learn languages quickly early on. We live in the USA but travel often to Sweden. Our DD knows to speak Swedish to the family there (even though they really all speak English as do many of the friends and family and people do there as they learn it in school early.) I remember she would combined languages like "Can I have weiber zeichenstift bitte" ...but at some point she clearly separated all three languages with no issues. We live in the USA so she will learn English grammar in school.

On another note. Only in the USA it seems do we wait to teach another language to our kids (in the schools system). I feel as does DH that it was best for our children to speak English/Swedish and German fluently and when they go to school they can learn another language there if they want. The human brain learns languages best early on. sorry so long
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Last edited by skyericsson; 01-06-2009 at 03:37 AM.
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