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Bringing up our child to be bilingual

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

  1. Hi All,

    A bit late but I just want to share. I am from the Philippines and as some of you may know, there are several major languages and hundreds of dialects in this small country. My parents speak very different languages, none of which are Filipino and English (the official languages). I grew up speaking my mum's language, hearing bits & pieces of my father's language. I learnt both English and Filipino in school. I'm 29 now and I

    speak, understand but not write in either of my parent's languages;
    speak, understand and write in both Filipino and English, although I must say, because I use it more often and because it was the medium of instruction during the years I spent at school, I have a far better command of English than I have of Filipino.

    Long-winded but yeah, my point is, practice and exposure is definitely the best way to learn and/or gain fluency in any language. You'll forget/lose it if you don't use it.
  2. I wish my parents would have spoken to me more in Italian! We lived in the states when I was little, but both my parents speak Italian fluently. However, they we worried I'd stick out in school if I spoke two languages. They worried I'd get confused and mix the two. Looking back they realize that would have been a good thing. With my own children I spoke to them in both Italian and English, after several years of having to learn Italian on my own. They have both picked up on it extremely well, so they can talk to our cousins in Italy and to our cousins in the states. Being consistent in speaking both is the best practice.
  3. I don't have personal experience but you both might want to speak to her in both languages-eventually set up days to switch off between Italian and English. A division such as you're suggesting might have unintended effects.
  4. I am curious to hear how things are going now. I do think it could have negative effects to divide how the language by parent. I am very curious about writing and reading in both languages too. Speaking, I believe, is easiest to teach but in a situation where one language might be favored over the other it could be difficult to teach reading and writing in both languages.
  5. Bringing up a child to be bilingual is pretty difficult, especially if you're tired as a parent.

    My friends have a cute baby, just a few months old. They always said that they will teach him to be bilingual but they NEVER talk to him in Italian. All the baby hears is the parent's mother language and I think this is wrong.

    If you can manage to talk to your baby in 2 languages, go for it. My cousin speaks 3 languages almost perfectly! His mom (my aunt) talked to him in one language when they were at school or at relatives or with people in general, one language when they were alone and the third language I'm not sure when they spoke it, I rarely could hear them talk in german!

    Bottom line, if you keep up the good work, your child will learn to be bilingual in no time!

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