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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:38 pm
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Location: Maidstone
I really would like to find out from those with Bilingual kids how they manage it. I think its important to speak more than one language and being bilingual myself I really would like this for my kids and am trying to find ways to get my DD to have an interest in my mother tongue language.

Me and DH speak exclusively in our language all the time and I have noticed we are now almost speaking to our kids exclusively in English. Its been really frustrating trying to get older DD to speak the language, we adopted an approach of speaking to her too in our language but all she does is answer back in English. She completely understands but she just doesnt speak it and wonder how I can get her going?

I have a young toddler and I am a little worried that he will just go the same route as his sister.

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:22 pm 
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Same case here I'm afraid, they don't want to be different from their peers, I have talked to my son from birth in Croatian and he understands it, but because he had some speech problems I did not insist on him answering back in Cr.I was just happy he could speak one language perfectly.

Only the other day he asked me if I could teach him more that he can talk to his grandparents when they call on the phone. I don't know what else to do, I am the only person he hears speaking Croatian on the daily base, no other friends around.

We sometimes watch cartoons in Croatian, but it uses lots of slang (I speak in 'normal' croatian) and sometimes I have to tell him what it is about.

I just wish we were somewhere closer to London to be able to meet with people whose children speak Croatian, I think it helps if they have a friend speaking that other language.


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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:26 pm 
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I have known quite a few kids whose parents brought them up as bilingual, (english + latvian, lithuanian, polish, spanish, german, french, dutch).

It varied hugely as to whether they still bothered to speak the language when they were older - one ended up as a Government ministers in their parents home country, others were very fluent- while others by teenage years could hardly manage a word of the foreign language.


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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:38 pm
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Location: Maidstone
Oh well I feel I am going nowhere with it and I begin to question whats the point. After all where I come from its a Bilingual country and English is still the official language. From some research I did a while ago it seem that being bilungual enhances a third language acquisation. I can talk in 3 languages, read and write fluently in 2 so somehow in my dream lala land I would have wanted this for my kids. Ah well maybe she may learn spanish and french in school which maybe much more useful. :cry:

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 6963
Location: East Kent
I have a friend, born in '68 whose mother is French , but he was brought up speaking only english. I met him in uni when he was doing a degree in French and spent a year working in France, he came back during that year , made a French (very rude, very colloquial) comment to his mum, she slapped him and replied in French. That was 22 years ago, he now lives in France, has 3 bilingual children....

to be able to be be multilingual must be fantastic, another anecdote
( sorry )

I remember going on a coach to Paris from Cheltenham, there was a lovely little girl about 3 years old, who chatted to her mum in pure Gloucestershire all the way to Calais, when immigration officers came onto the coach she spoke to them in French. We arrived in Paris, "Papa" met them and she ran down the coach speaking French to Dad and English to Mum.... how brilliant is that??




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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 8:17 pm 
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OH was brought up bilingual and is still fluent in mother tongue. He spent most of his childhood resenting it as another badge of 'differentness', when all children want is to be the same as everyone else. Now, though, I think he quite likes it and it has had its uses.

On my teacher training course, which you must bear in mind was a long, long time ago, we were taught that some children would flourish with bilingualism and others would struggle, and that this would be fairly well correlated with their IQ. I have encountered children who did indeed struggle to master good grammatical English - whether as a direct result of being bilingual was unclear. On the whole though, it is an enormous asset, though probably more in terms of cultural richness than aptitude for other languages, unless they are from the same 'family' (eg Spanish/Italian/French; Russian/other Slavonic languages). My own lot hate being spoken to in foreign languages while we are in this country, and hate being spoken to in English when we are abroad!


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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 8:29 pm 
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I have two children living next door to me (strangely enough :lol: ) who have an English father and French mother. Their mother has spoken to them exclusively in French all their lives (now aged 2 and 6) and they are both fluent in French and English. It's lovely to hear them chattering away in French to their mummy and then turn to us in the next breath and speak fluent English.

Their mummy speaks 5 languages!!

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 9:26 pm 
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Some friend's children are biligual dutch and english. Their parents tend to speak their own language each to them. They have also had a 50:50 split of DVD's and books in both languages around the house. When they were little they were often baffled as to why I could not read the bedtime story they had chosen, not understanding that I couldn't read dutch! The younger would also often change language mid sentance and then look at me oddly when i didn't answer him.
Now they are older, and having moved back to Holland, we regularly get requests for Harry Potter novels ect. in English and the children are encouraged to watch films in English.


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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:36 pm 
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My wife only speaks to ours in her mother tongue - so both mine are bilingual. They went through the stage of responding in English - but this changed.

Oh and she says that this gives the children a significant learning advantage (I can't remember why but will ask).

As a spin off of our bilingual family environment - I now know enough to argue ...but not win and can understand but not speak much - my wife has explained that these are the perfect characteristics of a husband :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 8:49 am 
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I have two bilingual children (7 and 4), my husband only speaks his mother tongue to them, although I am English I speak my husband's language fluently so we speak it together, so my children are constantly listening to it at home, although they answer my husband in English a lot of the time when we are here, when we go to visit relatives of my husband they have no problem making the change from English to my husbands mother tongue they often insist I stop speaking to them in English too.
My best advice is to plod on speaking to them in your mother tongue dont worry too much if they answer in English.
My eldest daughter was born abroad and lived there until she was 4, while I have always spoken to her in English she used to answer me in my husband's language. When we moved to England it took her literally two weeks to become completely fluent in English (it was all in her head but she had never needed to use it before)


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