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Thread poster: Berni Armstrong

Berni Armstrong  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:49
Member
English
+ ...
Jun 16, 2004

Hi all,

we hope this new forum will prove a valuable resource for families trying to raise their children in a multi-lingual environment. But anyone who is interested in language learning issues are welcome here too!

I suggest that we adopt some established terms here so we can quickly orientate ourselves. I will sign off as:

Berni Dad to Jana (11/11/98 )
OPOL
Dad ENG Mum ESP Street CAT

This gives my relationship to my child, her age, the system we use - OPOL (One Parent One Language) and the languages the child is exposed to.

Other systems include mL@H (minority language at home) BPBL (both parents both languages) etc.

On bilingual families forums I have belonged to it is quite common to refer to the ML (majority language) and the ml (minority language). So in Jana's case this would be ml ENG, ML Cat & ESP - got it?

Hope you find this forum useful,

Berni (co-moderator)
Dad to Jana (11/11/98 )
OPOL
Dad ENG Mum ESP Street CAT




[Edited at 2005-06-07 18:52]


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nothing
Local time: 20:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Help!!! Jun 16, 2004

I am so glad you have started this forum. Maybe someone can help me to solve my problem.

One of my children has a very peculiar behaviour. I have never heard of anything like it. I call her a bilingual alternator: She refuses to speak Spanish when we are in the UK and English when we are in Spain, so if she is spends a long period in one of the countries, she almost forgets how to speak the other language. At the moment her Spanish is worse than what you get from a machine translator (for example, adding an "o" or an "a" at the end of an English word, in the hope that it will become a Spanish word).

I know that she will speak properly again after a couple of weeks in Spain, but it is still a problem when she tries to talk on the phone with members of the family who cannot speak English.

I hope you will have some advice for me.

Yolanda
Mother of Hannah (19-09-93)
OPOL
Dad Eng Mum Spa


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Ron Peek  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:49
German to English
+ ...
Some interesting literature on bilingual families Jun 16, 2004

Dear Berni,

This forum is a very nice idea. I have come across quite an interesting book on this topic, which might be of interest:

The Bilingual Family, Edith Harding & Philip Riley (1986)

It discusses aspects of raising children in a bilingual family and the choices parents have made. Well-written and some case studies as well.

Kind regards,

Ron


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antje.s  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:49
French to German
+ ...
Very good idea Jun 16, 2004

Hello,

it is a really good idea to open a forum like this. I often thought that I would like to exchange experiences with other people living the same situation.

But would it be possible to write topics in other languages than english? My english ist definitely out of use!!!

Cordialement/Herzlichst,
Antje


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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:49
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Very interesting! Jun 16, 2004

Laura Mum to Asaf, Maya, Yael, triplets born on December 4, 1998
OPOL
Dad HEB Mum ITA Street ITA






[Edited at 2004-06-16 10:57]

[Edited at 2004-06-16 13:14]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 15:49
SITE FOUNDER
Thanks, Berni and Monika! Jun 16, 2004

Great idea.

For those who don't know, we have very qualified moderators here in this forum. Berni's Jana is an angel, and she switches easily among three languages. (At least I *think* that was Catalan she spoke at the cafe.) I have yet to meet co-moderator Monika's son, but can guess...

Anyway, thanks for launching this forum!

Henry
Dad to Stephen
OPOL
mom JPN dad ENG street ENG


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Fabiana Papastefani-Pezzoni  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 22:49
Member (2003)
English to Albanian
+ ...
My dream came true Jun 16, 2004

I was dreaming for a forum like that. It is so fun to see how children strugle between languages. Here it is my situation:

Mom: Albanian
Dad: Italian;
Sara (6) and Giorgia (3 and a half) speak a decent albanian and italian.

We are all based in Ukraine now and the kids are going to an international school (British International). But this is not all. They have friends in the class that are from Ukraine and they speak in Ukrainian (or Russian) between each other. Sara and Giorgia would like to participate in their discussions but these poor kids do not want to speak in English even when they play amongst each other so my kids try hard to understand and speak some Russian too. Gee, isn't that difficult? But I came to know that kids just need some time to find the right channels and to store some vocabulary. They do not really care to put the words in the right time in with the right form. All they want is to participate in their world and have fun.

One other thing I have noticed with my kids is the fact that they translate from one language to the other. I mean, when she is speaking in Italian to her dad I can tell they are translating "the text" from Albanian, because they are using the form and the structure we would use in Albanian. Thanks God, my husband speaks Albanian, too. Have you guys noticed that too? Do you kids do the same? I try to correct them but not so much because then they would be fed up of this and would quit speaking one language or the other.

Great forum again and I am glad I can share views like that in such a large forum of mixed mums and dads.

Fabiana


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Fabiana Papastefani-Pezzoni  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 22:49
Member (2003)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Yolanda, not really a problem Jun 16, 2004

nothing wrote:

I am so glad you have started this forum. Maybe someone can help me to solve my problem.

One of my children has a very peculiar behaviour. I have never heard of anything like it. I call her a bilingual alternator: She refuses to speak Spanish when we are in the UK and English when we are in Spain, so if she is spends a long period in one of the countries, she almost forgets how to speak the other language. At the moment her Spanish is worse than what you get from a machine translator (for example, adding an "o" or an "a" at the end of an English word, in the hope that it will become a Spanish word).....

Yolanda
Mother of Hannah (19-09-93)
OPOL
Dad Eng Mum Spa


Dear Yolanda, I would not call this a problem. My kids do the same, they shoot a word in Albanian droping an "o" at the end, since this souns italian to them and they are prity sure they are still speaking Italian. I love it. I also love it when they try to translate. You can see some skills already, even though the specialists say it is still early to pretend to have a correct translation from one language to the other, since this is still a storing period for them...I mean from 0 to almost 7 or 8 years old. In fact, bilingual kids generallt start to speak later then a monolingual kid. They are storing. Besides, they are not just words out there that confuse them and you know it. I know how different Albanian and English (Italian and English, too) are.

So I would suggest you just give him/her time and correct him/her nicely, not every second.

Fabiana

[Edited at 2004-06-16 19:47]


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 21:49
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Brilliant idea Jun 16, 2004

Now we finally have a place to put all those discussions on raising our kids bilingually.

Henry wrote:

Henry
Dad to Stephen
OPOL
mom JPN dad ENG street ENG


Alison (moderator - but not of this forum)
Mum to Mairi (22.9.98), Rhiona (29.6.02) and Lucy (3.3.04)
mLAH and when we're out and about if it doesn't matter if people don't understand us
Dad ENG-US Mum ENG-UK Street ENG and DEU


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Adriana Caraccio Morgan, Dip Trans IOL  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:49
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Thanks! Jun 16, 2004

Hi, all,

Great idea, although my baby is not speaking yet, only in the listening mode...

Adriana, mum of Samuel (7.10.03)
OPOL
dad ENG mum BR PT street BR PT


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:49
English to Italian
great! Jun 16, 2004

I will be bothering you with a few issues very very soon!

Giovanni, dad to Beatrice (12 year old), Matteo (9), Erica (6) and Isabella (3)

Mum = Eng; Dad = Ita; Street = Eng


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Heike Prévot  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:49
French to German
+ ...
Great idea! Jun 16, 2004

Heike
Mother of Noah (26/01/01) and Solveig (17/07/03)
OPOL
Dad FRENCH Mum GERMAN Street FRENCH



[Edited at 2004-06-16 13:24]


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:49
German to English
+ ...
I'm joining in! Jun 16, 2004

Hi,

I'd also like to join in!

I'm Daina, mom to Zinta (4) and Indra (1) - mom LV, dad US EN, street US EN. Both of us speak German, but don't actively teach it to our kids. We used to do OPOL, but are switching to mLAH to the best of my husband's abilities.

I would be particularly interested in hearing from other parents whose kids "refuse" to speak the second language. My husband is very supportive, but it is a constant struggle to get my older daughter to speak Latvian despite the fact that I speak it to her exclusively. She has excellent passive knowledge, but her speaking ability is weak. She does speak it with other kids sometimes.

In any case, I'm not giving up! I don't want her to lose that passive knowledge in the hopes that she might change her mind and start speaking, too. We're going to try to kick-start that with a trip to Latvia in the fall.

Cheers,
Daina


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xxxElena Sgarbo  Identity Verified
Italian to English
+ ...
Launching this forum: great idea :-) Jun 16, 2004

Henry wrote:
Henry
Dad to Stephen
OPOL
mom JPN dad ENG street ENG

Well, Alison, I was wondering the same thing about the name!! (...and started to wonder about the quality of my memory!) Henry, thanks for clarifying that

I think as parents of bilingual kids (or even trilingual, for some people) we all live amusing "language moments". The linguistic pearls that come out of my children's mouths are getting recorded in a Word file: I write them down, so that my kids can read them when they grow up and have a good laugh at their own neologisms and "idiomatic sayings".

One phrase by my then 7 y/o David arised when Dad asked him, in Spanish, to go to the garage and get the rubber plunger (sopapa) for him. David went to the garage and could only see brooms ("escobas"). In Spanish, "to sweep" is "barrer". So David informed my husband:

"Papi, acá no veo sopapas. Lo único que hay son barreras".

"Barreras", by David: tools to "barrer" or sweep (escobas, brooms).
"Barreras", by the dictionary: barriers, tollgates.

So what David indeed said was:

"Dad, I see no plungers here. All I see are tollgates"

Elena
Mom to David (9-7-95), and Andy (10-1-99)
BP ESP, Street ENG

[Edited at 2004-06-16 16:46]


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:49
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Welcome everyone Jun 16, 2004

and thank you Berni and Henry.

I am so excited to have this forum open and I am looking forward to a great learning and sharing time about understanding language development among Multilingual families.

Thanks again everyone,
Monika

Monika Mom to Besmir (Son - 11/29/1998)
BPBL (both parents both languages)
Dad ENG as native; Mum ALB as native; Grandparents at home only ALB; Street ENG



[Edited at 2004-06-16 14:13]


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