Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Bilingual child: not excluding the other parent
Thread poster: Annac
Annac
Italian to English
+ ...
Nov 18, 2005

Hello everyone,
I started reading some of the posts and realised that there are many of us out there!! I'm expecting my first child in feb. and I absolutely want him to be bilingual (English-Italian): I'm an American who lives in Italy and married to an Italian who does not speak much English (just basics). I've decided to go with OPOL (one parent one language) but what should I do when my husband is home? When I am alone with the baby I will speak, read, sing in English, but when I speak to him?? Won't that confuse the baby? Thanks for all the advice.
Anna


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Garaemma  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:42
Italian to English
+ ...
Bilingual children Nov 18, 2005

Annac,
I would advise you to always speak English with the child when he or she arrives as it is so much easier for children to speak more than one language within my family I am English and my husband is an Italian and the children more or less are bilingual. I speak English to my children and my husband speaks Italian and when we are speaking between ourselves my husband and I we speak Italian and the children have never had any problems understanding the conversations that take place which is good as they have both English and Italian family members.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Walsh  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:42
Member (2004)
Italian to English
. Nov 18, 2005

My daughter is 2 1/2 and I never speak Italian to her and try to avoid speaking Italian around her. I even try to speak English to her little friends. The parents love it.
Actually, I'm obsessed with the language issue and wonder how it will end up. Most of the words she uses are English and you can hear her throw English words in her baby talk. I notice that when she speaks to other children (baby talk of course)she uses English words and the other children just look at her wondering what she's trying to say. That's one of my concerns. Will that cause her problems in the future? Perhaps. Who knows?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 23:42
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
I'm one Nov 18, 2005

Short history:
I'm an only child. My father was a sailor and after a three-day honeymoon he said Bye to my mother and was gone; she was left alone in a town near Toronto, surrounded by English - newspapers, TV, radio, neighbours, etc.

I came along and voila! Someone for her to converse with in her own language.

In my early years I went to French school, had French friends and spoke French with my Mum; we moved to Quebec and my English languished, but only for a few years. Ask anyone; you'd never know it now, to hear me speak English, that at age 10 I had limited knowledge of this language. I now hold a BA in English and spent a couple of my post-graduate years living in the UK.

Kids' brains are phenomenal, like sponges. Fill them up when they're little, and by the time they're adolescents, the basics will be there and they will be able to sort it out.

In my case, when Dad was around, we spoke English in deference to him, but speaking to my Mum in English is really strange

Now with my own two, I will have a conversation with my 5-yr old daughter in French, and my little interpreter will turn to her (unilingual Anglo) Dad and parrot everything into English for his benefit. It's wonderful to see.

Best of luck
Nancy


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Garaemma  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:42
Italian to English
+ ...
Bilingual child Nov 19, 2005

I also had a lot of people saying to me in the beginning are you sure with two languages maybe the child will get mixed up, but I held out and I found that the children started speaking a bit later than the other children but then when they started speaking with two or three word sentences then they were starting to speak with the two languages and they say that it is a lot easier for them to learn more than one language and now I must say my oldest who is 11 years old is completely bi-lingual and as i say sometimes she listens to our conversations and for example we were talking the other day and her father went out of the room and she repeated what we had talked about so there are no problems there. I must also say that it is also important to always speak your own language with the children as they say if you don`t then the children might pick up words that are wrong or not pronounced properly.
hope this helps.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

baroni  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:42
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
It works! Nov 19, 2005

I have always spoken Italian to my son (5):He started to speak very early (as he was 1 year old) and from the beginnig he distinguished German and Italian perfectly.

Something very funny: He des not want my mother to try to communicate in German with my mother-in-law and vice versa. Every granny has one language!

He is perfectly bilingual: he speaks Italian with me, my relatives, the Italian teacher etc..., and "Austrian dialect" with my husband, the Austrian relatives, friends etc...

Your husband will also improve his English!

Good luck


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Annac
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to everyone! Nov 19, 2005

Your experiences all helped me a great deal! I guess my husband is just going to have to start speaking a little more English! He already complains because I always watch TV in English and exclude him, hopefully in the future the majority of the family we'll be English speakers! Currently we live in a small town in southern Italy so the opportunitie for my child to speak in ENglish will be quite limited. Its a diffult challenge but we'll find the solution!
Good bye to everyone
Annac


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Roberta Anderson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:42
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
from the "excluded" parent perspective Nov 20, 2005

We live in Italy, my husband is German and I'm Italian.
When we met, married and started up a family, I did not understand a single word of German, and he did not understand Italian. We communicated in English, in which we are both fluent.

When Baby 1 came, followed shortly by Baby 2 (18 months apart), we adopted the OPOL strategy, which inevitably excluded each other...
After a great deal of "what was that?", I gradually started to understand more and more German, and his Italian also rapidly improved.

So I can now follow any conversation between children and father, to which I contribute in Italian, and viceversa. And no-one is excluded any more!

[We used to speak English to each other, then - not to exclude the children as they grew and could take part in our conversations - we started to use our respective language. Since we live in Italy, his Italian has progressed more rapidly than my German, so we now mainly use Italian also when talking to each other.]

Roberta

[Edited at 2005-11-20 09:36]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
PatPat
Local time: 01:42
English to Portuguese
+ ...
kids can deal with several languages Nov 22, 2005

I was a trilingual child (Portuguese-French-English) who then learned some more languages. Years ago, when studying psychology in college,my thesis was in language development in polyglot children. The whole knowledge base agrees that you have language has to be context-based, i.e. OPOL, maybe one more language outside the home. Now, my French husband and I live in the US. Ideally, I speak Portuguese to him, his daddy speaks French, and he gets English from being outside the house (and will get some from school starting next year). The problem is that the grandparents come at different times, we travel to one country then the next,and I have a tendency to mix languages even in the same sentence. So his development is faster in one language around the time when he hears more of it, then in another when that one takes center stage. No one has yet noticed any delay in language development, quite the contrary. I really believe that they deal very well with many languages, as long as it's made clear that things can be said in different ways to different people or in different situations, as opposed to there just being a mish-mash of sounds. Now let's see if that holds trua a few years from now.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:42
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Bilingual: one more point Nov 23, 2005

All the above comments support the OPOL approach, and they are right.
There is one other important issue: if you delay it, you are not starting off to make him/her bilingual. It will become more and more difficult to acheve it as time goes by. A three years old can throw a terrible tantrum every time when you try to speak English, if you left it that late.
So don't hesitate.
In any case, there will be more Italian input, as you live there. It is up to you to make sure of the English side.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
editt
English to Polish
isn't there a threat? Dec 9, 2005

Hello,
being at college I was told that if a child is exposed to many languages (including three) it may appear harmful for him. Some day he may speak a mixture of all of the languages. But reading all the posts I notice that you greatly approve of being multilingual. Are there any difficulties in being exposed to many lgs or even reaserch that confirms my hitherto existing idea? Or maybe it is a matter of organization and defined methodology of approaching the child?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
PatPat
Local time: 01:42
English to Portuguese
+ ...
many languages may enhance learning capacity Dec 14, 2005

The idea of "organization and defined methodology" is an interesting concept when it comes to raising a child - you may have that in mind, but in practical terms, they both go out the window very quickly. I was raised with three languages from the start,and do tend to mix, often in the same phrase, but only with others who speak the same languages. I have absolutely no problems speaking or writing in one language alone.
Most of the knowledge on raising polyglot kids says it's ok, and I know many, many cases that have turned out well. In fact, I'd say that most kids who learn two or more languages from the start use language better than their monoglot peers. They may not have learned the names of verb tenses, or rules and exceptions to their declinations, but they speak, read and write well, in general. Their vocabulary is often much more varied, and their ability to learn more languages is greater than that of single-language children. Some evidence also shows that they are able to grasp other sophisticated concepts, such as drawn diagrams, etc., earlier than others.
Some polyglots do mangle grammar and assassinate spelling, and when they do so in one language, they will usually do likewise in others (and continue to do so wel into adulthood). I would be willing to bet that statistically, this occurs less frequently than among children learning a single language .

Having said all that, the obvious problem with this research is that bilingual/polyglot kids tend to be exposed to a whole set of other variables that would tend to positively influence learning, such as socioeconomic factors, family influence, travel, etc.
As to confusion, I have never seen it last. I worry about my own son, as he hears 3-4 languages daily, and has stories read to him in French or Portuguese from books written in English (bad idea, but hard not to do). He takes it in stride, identifies letters, and I suppose we will stop doing it when he identifies words. Unless everyone in their circle mixes languages (and I know I'm sometimes guilty of that), they pick up on the fact that some people say things in different ways. At the preschool level, a bilingual child may seem to have trouble. I remember one who gave the example "pomme" (apple, in French)when asked for a word starting with the letter A. But they learn, and learn well.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nadia-Anastasia Fahmi  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 06:42
Member (2004)
English to Greek
+ ...
4-languages... Dec 24, 2005

I myself grew in a family that spoke actually 5 languages: Greek and English on my mother's side and French, Italian and Arabic on my father's (since both my parents came from mixed marriages - that was a common occurance in Egypt).

At the time (53 years ago) no one really thought about how to go about this with the children. Every one spoke the language they knew and we (the children just picked up languages along the way - some well, some not so well).

Speaking for myself, my mother and father had English as their common language. So, it was Greek with mom, Arabic with the maids and French with dad, and English when mom and dad were both present. Also, Greek with mom's family and Italian and Arabic with Dad's family.

When, we left Egypt and went to Lybia the use of Arabic (a different dialect was added) and Italian increased since Libya was an Italian colony for many years (in Cyreanaica). Then we moved to Tripolitania which had an abundance of Americans (from the famous Wheelis airbase) and English nationals. So, there I mastered further English (both US and UK).

And finally, we came to Greece. So, Greek is now the language I use most, but English is still the language I think, fell and express myself best, with Italian, French and Arabic reserved for phone call and visits to relatives.

My sister on the other hand, who was fully bi-lingual by the age of 5, when she came to Greece refused to speak English again because her friends made fun of her. Languages were not really something people cared for in Greece in the '60s. Unfortunately!! And although she had private English and French lessons (plus the fact that Dad passed away early) she never mastered any other language besides Greek.

So, I guess this all shows that apart from OPOL another factor is environment, plus the child's psychology.

But, in any case, you bi-lingual parents should teach your mother tongue to your children in any way possible and acceptable by the child.

My two cents... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Galina F
United States
Local time: 23:42
English to Russian
+ ...
Thank you all so much Dec 30, 2005

I was wondering, getting married to a wonderful American, how I will deal with this issue.
Thank you for telling about your experience and encouraging words.
I guess I'll need some discipline for not forgetting Russian in America and teaching kids (if I have any) Russian. But it's worth of it.
Happy New Year:)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Carolyn Brice  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 15:42
French to English
+ ...
Psychology and environment are definitely factors Jan 4, 2006

I am from a French mother and New-Zealander father, and grew up in various countries including the UK, Germany, Kuwait and back to UK. To cut a long story short, I have always spoken French with my mother, English with my father, spoke fluent German at the age of 5, learned to read and write in French, but then completed most of my education in English, and then went on to study German and Russian at university. Oh, and I am now living in Greece and speak fluent Greek.

Today, I am perfectly bilingual in French and English, although my English is stronger in terms of writing. This is not the case for my younger sisters, who speak accented and grammatically incorrect French. But I believe this is because they have always attended English speaking schools, and have spent most of their childhoods in the UK, whereas I was old enough to remember each of the countries we lived in. Also, they have no interest in language, reading and such. Especially the middle one was very sensitive to teasing etc, so this could also be a factor. Another factor of course is that my parents' common language is English.

All in all, character and environment are factors, but most of all, I believe continuity is important. I think that as long as each parent speaks and sticks to their own language, being bilingual shouldn't be a problem. Now, when the time comes for me to have kids here in Greece with a Greek Dad, that's going to be another story...


[Edited at 2006-01-04 17:55]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


There is no moderator assigned specifically to this forum.
To report site rules violations or get help, please contact site staff »


Bilingual child: not excluding the other parent

Advanced search






Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »
Across v6.3
Translation Toolkit and Sales Potential under One Roof

Apart from features that enable you to translate more efficiently, the new Across Translator Edition v6.3 comprises your crossMarket membership. The new online network for Across users assists you in exploring new sales potential and generating revenue.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs