Location: Originally from Virginia, USA but living in the Netherlands
Question for bilingual moms/mums...
How do you do it?
Or more specifically, I have a question but am not sure how to phrase it, so I'll just explain my issue and ask what you do in your situation...
English is my native language, but we live in the Netherlands where DH and everyone else speaks Dutch (which I'm also fluent in). I speak English to my LO but I'm the ONLY one he hears it from (and he's in daycare 3 days a week). When we visit friends/family, I also speak Dutch with them. I'm beginning to wonder if this is going to negatively impact LO's English if he hears me speaking Dutch. At home, DH speaks to me in Dutch and I respond in English, but when we're out I just use Dutch (but if I'm speaking to DS directly, I use English)
SO, my question is... what would you do? Or what DO you do if you're in a similar situation? Do/would you just speak English full time (even to friends/family)? Would you repeat sentences in both languages (since some of our F&F don't speak/understand English very well)? Or just continue as I am?
I'm really concerned he doesn't hear enough English But I don't know if I'm just worrying too much or not.
My boys are only tiny and so far it probably doesn't matter what we speak to them. I am however determined to talk to them in German when OH isn't around so that they learn my mother tongue as well.
But from my own childhood experience I can tell you that my brother and I learnt to speak fluent French by just going to stay on holiday every year with my paternal grandparents who lived in France. No one else spoke French to us except them and many of our cousins but those too we only saw on vacation. So I would definitely keep talking English to your little one. I think that since it is his mummy who speaks to him in English, it will be plenty and he won't be confused but rather think it is a son/mother thing xxx
It seems that your LO is hearing plenty of english as it is I would not worry about it. Even if he only speaks dutch initially it makes a massive difference being in contact with another language at such an early age. Eventually he will pick it up I am sure!
Both my husband and I speak english together but we both have different mother tongue. We try to speak our own mother tongue whenever possible but it is not easy so we rely a lot of on the grandparents when they come and visit as it is much more 'natural' for them to communicate in their language with our daughter. I am sure in time she will benefit from all this but we take it quite relaxed
I think if you're speaking English to him, that's fine. I wouldn't worry too much about speaking it when with other people. My OH is French and he's the only person who speaks French to Louis on a daily basis but when we went to France recently it was so funny seeing DS's face really studying his family chattering about 100 miles an hour in French! xx
We do the exact same as you. We live in Italy so LO hears Italian from everyone except me. I speak in English to LO and DH and certain friends who like to speak English. I worry too about LO not hearing enough English. I think at the moment it's fine as she's with me most of the time but as she gets older I think it might be a problem. I'm planning to arrange play dates with other English speaking kids and I'll let her watch TV or DVDs in English. We also speak on Skype regularly with family so that will help too. I wish I could send her to a bilingual school but we can't afford it and there aren't any anywhere near us anyway. I'm trying not to worry about it too much yet but we'll just wait and see how it goes.
We're in almost the exact same situation, except we live in Belgium, not the Netherlands.
I only speak English to LO and OH speaks to him in Dutch.
As I spend the majority of time with LO I'm hoping it'll be enough so that he learns English fluently from me.
We read him the same stories, but in our respective languages, hopefully so he can link it in his mind the different languages.
I think he'll learn English slower when he's at school compared to Dutch, but he'll still be learning it. I think if he has trouble later, I'll instruct him in Dutch and then repeat it in English too.
My MIL has bilingual parents and she said she easily picked up both languages, and addressed each parent in their mother tongue without difficulty, despite her father only speaking French.
I think what your doing is fine I've read that if you want your child to be bilingual each parent should speak a diffeent language so he gets used to both. I only speak English to our LO and OH speaks mostly Vietnamese in hopes he'll be able to pick up both. He predominantly hears English though, unless we spend the day with OHs family, then its mosts Viet but that's only once every few weeks. (hopefully it works so ill have my own personal translator when we're around OHs family )
I believe that this should be fine too. My OH is Italian and speaks to her solely in Italian, She is otherwise almost completely surrounded by English, at 14 months though she can respond to both languages in the same way... It's amazing.
Sounds like the exact same situation I'm in! Haven't really thought too deeply about it though.. at least not yet since my baby girl is only 3½ months old.
I'm an American living in Germany. My husband speaks German with me (and a bit of English thrown in, although I don't realize it anymore) and I respond in English (most of the time ). Then again I do throw some random German words/phrases in every now and then as well. Husband's family only speaks German so the 1-2 times a week we see them it's all German of course.
To be honest, it doesn't really worry me. She hears English enough from me and we have her on the waiting list already for a bilingual kindergarten so I'm sure she'll be fluent in both languages. Is there that option in your area, a bilingual kindergarten? I'd check online anyway. There are more around than you'd probably think!
Sorry I can't offer you much advice now but I'd say keep doing what you're doing! It's amazing how quickly and smoothly such young children learn languages. I'm sure he'll understand and speak English just fine if he's hearing it from you on a daily basis.
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