Raising children bilingually

192 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi everybody,

I have just registered, because I am reading Toytown for several months now and I think it is a great way to communicate and also to get support. But there is of course another reason why I registered. I would like to hear your opinion about the following: I am pregnant and I am thinking about raising my baby bilingually although I am not a native speaker, as you may have noticed. So what do you think?

 

I am of course very interested in meeting other mums-to-be who are native speaker in order to improve my english. So anyone out there who is interested?

 

Thanks,

Isabell

 

Related topic: Raising bilingual kids

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Posted

Surely that's a lifestyle choice they should make? ^_^

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Posted

Sounds like a good idea. I don't see why any kid would grow up to say "man I wish I didn't speak two languages"

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Posted

How many lifestyle choices do small kids make JOB? I think this one might be the parents call, and an excellent idea it is too.

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Posted

Missing the joke per-chance?

 

It's ok.

 

Joking aside. It is a great idea.

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Posted

I'm with JOB's first post. Wait till the kid is old enough to be able to speak and then hit it with: "You are wanting the English, or?" If the kid looks horrified at such a construction, they're ready!

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Posted

Well, it's a bit harder if you're not a native speaker, but it's certainly worth the effort. I think you'd have to be pretty consistent about speaking English (or whichever language you're thinking of) from the start, though. Kids understand what you're saying long before they can speak.

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Posted

My son's mum and i are German and English respectively and have brought our son up with us each speaking our respective mother tongues to him so he is not inflicted with my horrific German grammatical mistakes and he has grown up with a perfect understanding of both languages, it's an excellent option in my view.

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Posted

Raising a child bilingually is hard but most definitely worth it. While admirable in principle, trying to raise your child in a language other than your own mother tongue, unless you are near perfect, does not seem to be a very good idea.

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Posted

Why not? Surely not perfect English is still a good start to not knowing any?

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Posted

Mistakes you learn as a child, especially in the area of languages, will stay with you for a long time. Your mother tongue is also the basis for your learning of other languages.

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Posted

Yeti, beg to differ here, growing up in a house where my mother speaks hardly any hindi and mine is fluent. In fact we only spoke English at home since that was the language mum and dad could communicate in properly. So it should not be that difficult and while learning german, there were somethings that I understood easily due to my knowledge of english and others due to hindi.

 

I think it all is a bit subjective.

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Posted

 

Mistakes you learn as a child, especially in the area of languages, will stay with you for a long time. Your mother tongue is also the basis for your learning of other languages.

Not really true - on both accounts. Though I will give a bit more credit to the first argument due to the way the brain develops as regards language acquisition.

Basically, the younger you are when you learn a second language, the closer together the areas in your brain are that control the different languages. Up to the age of about 6 the second (and or third, fourth ...) language is concentrated in the same area as the first. After puberty any language learned is learned in a totally different part of the brain. Only then is the mother tongue a basis for learning other languages because it is the reference for this other part of the brain.

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Posted

I don't think it's good to raise your kid in a non-native language. better let him/her go to bilingual playgroups/kindergarten have an English speaking nanny, make her listen English CDs etc. I know several kids of croatians (both parents croatian), whose mothers thought it would be better to raise them German-Croatian, (the mothers speak fairly well, but with the typical errors of non-natives), the kids picked up their mistakes and at the end it's much harder to get out the mistakes they learned from their parents compared to learning the language at kindergarten or playgroups from native speakers. children pick up a language very fast at a young age.

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Posted

Arshoo, happy New Year to you by the way.

 

You only spoke english at home, so english was your mother tongue, you learned hindi at school probably. Did your mom try to teach you hindi or did she leave it to your peers and the school system to do that ?

 

@DDBug:

 

You may be right, I made that statement based on what I think or have seen rather than any scientific or professional background. I just think that learning a language badly as your mother language is not a great start as those mistakes are harder to correct than a badly learnt second or third language. Interesting about the later languages being learnt in a different way.

Edit: a german friend who grew up in Ireland with both german parents speaking only german at home speaks excellent German but with the idiosyncracies which he picked up from his parents and which almost every speaker of a language has.

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Posted

I support Yeti on this one and that is exactly why i never spoke to my son in German when he was growing up, i do now but that isn't going to affect his learned grammar.

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Posted

We moved to Germany 9 Years ago, my boy is 10 now, he went through German Kinder Garten, and he is in German School, on the whole we speak English to him.

 

My wife is Ukranian but a Russian speaker, This year without any pushing he is trying to pick bits up in Russian as well. Kids dont realise it, its like a switch, you have to do it while they are young, especially if you intend to stay here.

 

Point of warning, in the first years of talking, he was slower than all the other German kids.

 

Regards

 

MG

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Posted

Happy New Year indeed!!! :D

 

Yup, english was spoken at home, mother teaching hindi :lol: (sorry mum if you read this!) no way, picked it up at school and from kids around, course dad was fluent.

 

For info, sanskrit (hindi is based on that, could speak it too but since school its out of me head a lot) grammer and german grammer are identical. Der, Die, Das and all the associated forms for Du, Sie, Wie etc etc

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Posted

Parents spoke english and swore in spanish. I think it is a great idea to raise kids bilingually but I dont have any kids so maybe my 2 cents isnt worth that much. After moving to spain I really regretted not speaking spanish for 12 years. So I say go for it and stick with it. As the world becomes even smaller with technology eliminating boundries it would be to their benefit if they have a head start.

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