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Bringing up our child to be bilingual

Discussion in 'Employment' started by David, May 21, 2009.

  1. Bringing up our child to be bilingual


    I am look for help and information into bringing up a child in Italy to be bilingual. (Italian and English)

    I know that this may sound like a daft question so i'll explain a little bit of the background.

    My wife is Italian and i am English and we have been living in Italy for just over a month. My wife is pregnant and we know that we have a baby girl on the way and due in November.

    I oviously want our daughter to be bilingual. In fact this is a must as half of our parents our Britsh and the other half are Italian.

    We live in Italy so our childs first language will of course be Italian but she must understand English too as she will need to communicate with my side of the family in England.

    I was thinking that my wife will speak to her only in Italian and i will speak to her only in English that way she should learn to understand that when a question is asked to respond in the correct language.

    Has anyone been through similar experiences? If so, what can you suggest?

    I do have sky Italia tv where i can change the language on most channels so this should also help but i'm not too keen to have our child spending hours a day in from of the tv.

    Any ideas and suggestions welcome.
  2. David, it is so much easier to start when they're young. I don't think you'll have a problem. I found two links for you that should give you some ideas. If you want more, do a google search for 'how to teach a child to be bilingual' and numerous things will pop up.

    Site One

    Site Two
  3. Thank you Orrymain for those links.

    They certainly are helpful and confirm the things that need to be done. I guess we are fortunate as myself and my wife speak both languages.

    Your correct of course in regards to starting as young as possible.

    I was interested in this particular part of the article:

    'Two- and 3-year-olds are not only increasing their vocabularies, they're starting to recognize the speech patterns they've been hearing since birth. The earlier you introduce a second language, the easier it will be for your child to pick up its unique sounds. The ability to hear different phonetic pronunciations is sharpest before age 3'
  4. David, had a similar experience with my nephew, his father is german his mother is english. Children really do pick it up easily. They taught my nehew basic items then phrases. worked fine
  5. Yes, I sure it will be easy enough. It's always nice to hear from people that have been through the same experiences.
  6. it's easy, you actually don't have to teach them anything. they just pick up the language while they're growing up.
  7. We have the same situation. I am German and my husband is English.

    Our kids are used to listen to both languages and they do both very well.

    When they were younger we used to read them fairy tales in both languages and we explained what they did not understand.
  8. David, I don't have personal experience, but in addition to those links I sent, I actually have seen some TV shows discussing the subject, and it's the same thing. Children, babies, learn bilingual languages naturally and easily. It's actually much hard for us to learn a second language as we get older. I've forgotten the reason now, but there is a scientific reason for it, something about how we process things.

    For those who know Italian, I made a post with a translation request that's actually for a story I'm writing. No one's offered to help yet, so if you haven't gone to the translation section yet, please do. It's just a few simple lines about turkeys actually.

  9. Yeah, i know exactly what you mean. I'm still trying to get to grips with the lingo myself! I understand well in every day talk, my problem is the written grammer.

    Thanks for all the info in this thread. has been very useful. If anyone has anything to add that has not been mentioned, feel free to add it.
  10. I'll try to help you if i can Orrymain regarding the translations but i need the help from my wife as she is Italian. I shall have a look at the weekend for you unless someone else gets there first.
  11. I am single so i dont have any experience but i am a teacher. I think you have to train your child at early stage so that it will be easier for him and for you.
  12. Well if they are somewhat young, they would eventually learn Italian form there school mates, it's normal that as they would grow old they would really learn how to speak Italian.
  13. I am Portuguese and I was taught both. I always spoke Portuguese with my parents, but with my older sister it was always English. She taught me the English language and she taught me how to write in cursive also as a child, so I knew it before learning it in school. I was exposed to both and I was able to learn them both. There are alot of learning games that you can play with your child. They will be learning and it makes it easier.
  14. Children will always pick up languages quicker than adults, some things you can do is buy them italian books and make them watch certain things in Italian also speak to them in that language it you can.
  15. Re: Bringing up our child to be bilingual

    I think that it is right to bring up a child to be bilingual so that they could communicate better with other nations. Besides English is the general language of the world.
  16. Re: Bringing up our child to be bilingual

    I think that bringing up a child to know as many languages as possible is a good thing. Children are able to learn language a lot quicker than adults so this is a good thing.
  17. Re: Bringing up our child to be bilingual

    Thanks for all those replies. Our little one is doing really well with both languages. I speak in English with her and my wife speaks in Italian.
  18. Re: Bringing up our child to be bilingual

    It has been awhile since I've been able to make it over to the forum, but I have actually wondered how things were going for you, David. I am truly glad your child is doing well.
  19. Re: Bringing up our child to be bilingual

    Thanks Orrymain, Good to see you back here again.
  20. Re: Bringing up our child to be bilingual

    Thanks, David. Yeah, it has been a while. Life happens, as they say, and I have had a lot of things to deal with it. I do love to surf and visit favorite forums like this one when I can, though.

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