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Poll: Do you raise your children bilingually/trilingually?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:30
SITE STAFF
Jun 5, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you raise your children bilingually/trilingually?".

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


 

Barbara Turchetto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:30
Member (2008)
German to Italian
+ ...
I don't Jun 5, 2009

Well, my son is seventeen, so it's a bit too late for that!
Anyway, when I was expecting him I thought about it but I decided to raise him "monolingually" since I am Italian, my husband is Italian, we live in Italy and even though I think I have quite a good knowledge of German, it is not MY language and the relationship between mother and son is too important and unique to express what you feel using a language you don't completely master.
No problem! He is studying English and German, he likes languages and that's enough for me!
Bye!
have a nice weekend!


 

Sonja Kroll  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:30
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
No, Jun 5, 2009

we can't, nothing but German natives around here. (We used to employ English as secret language, but unfortunately my elder daughter knows too many of the interesting terms by now.)
But I'm not too sorry about it. They're still busy exploring our own vast word pool after all (well be fair - I am the busy one, being their thesaurus).


 

Andrea Flaßbeck  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:30
English to German
+ ...
I do Jun 5, 2009

Or let's say I'm trying. They just don't want to answer in my native languageicon_rolleyes.gif (which is Hungarian, and I guess that's part of the problem because that language is ... challenging). They know I understand them perfectly well when they talk German, so why waste effort talking in a tongue twister language...

 

David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Jun 5, 2009

Both my daughters were born and raised in the US, but their first language was Spanish, which they heard almost exclusively until they started school. We were fortunate enough to have a bilingual school with a dual immersion program, which helped to encourage the use of both languages.

It was fascinating watching them acquire language. Now that they are teens, one is completely bilingual and continues to study Spanish, and though she lacks vocabulary, she is able to converse and get around in places like Uruguay on her own without any trouble at all. The other has lost interest, but she can speak with some hesitation and understands almost anything you say to her.


 

Donatella Cesca  Identity Verified
Bangladesh
Local time: 13:30
English to Italian
+ ...
Definitely yes Jun 5, 2009

We are raising our two daughters trilingually (Italian-Bengali-English) and so far they have responded quite well. The elder one is 8 and the small one 4 and they are learning the three languages simultaneously in the most natural way. Despite they are learning Italian from me only as the Italian community here in Bangladesh is very small and opportunity to speak the language very few, I am quite proud of their knowledge of Italian and of the unique relationship between me and them. Everybody body in our respective families are very supportive and this also counts a lot. Between the small one and me there is a very close relationship and this also reflects in her language: her Italian is much better than her sister's at her age.

 

Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 17:30
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
No Jun 5, 2009

No. Even though I'm German and my husband is English we're raising our son (and soon to be two sons) monolingually in English. English is my dominant language and speaking German to him doesn't come naturally to me, and I can't express what I want to say as well as in English, so I'm not even trying anymore.

But I envy people who do manage to raise proficient bilingual children, as I'm sure it'll be advantageous for them in the future.

[Edited at 2009-06-05 19:46 GMT]


 

bookwormkt
Local time: 08:30
French to English
+ ...
No. Jun 5, 2009

I speak French fluently, but realised when I tried to speak French all the time to my first child that I didn't know much French baby vocabulary! Also, my first child had dreadful colic and I was exhausted for about the first 6 months of his life!

We travel a lot in France and francophone countries. 1 of my children speaks and understands French quite well (for her age), 1 speaks reasonable French and the other 2 will ask for food!! My husband speaks very little French, but can make locals laugh by shouting 'Pâté!' at ducksicon_smile.gif

I would like to spend some time living and working in France in the next few years. Maybe the rest of the family will get to grips more with French then.


 

Rachel McRoberts (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, but I hope to. Jun 5, 2009

I do not have children, but if I do I hope to raise them bilingual. My partner is a native Farsi speaker, and I am learning. It would be fabulous to raise them English-Farsi bilingual. Although I would love to raise them speaking Spanish, I doubt it would happen without moving to a primarily Spanish-speaking place. (Which I would also love, but that is another story!)

In the end, though, I think I would be happy to have children with a healthy respect (and hopefully a love) for other languages and cultures.


 

Interlangue (X)
Angola
Local time: 09:30
English to French
+ ...
No Jun 5, 2009

We raised our son in French only but he was exposed to other languages: grand-parents, friends, TV, holidays. My husband and I would use English "when the boy does not need to understand" but it did not last long before he knew what we were talking about...

 

Catherine Shepherd  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
I will... Jun 5, 2009

... when I have them - I will speak English and my husband will speak Spanish. I was raised bilingually (British family living in Spain), and I would definitely like my kids to have a similar experience.

However, I only got married 2 months ago so give me some timeicon_wink.gif


 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:30
Member (2009)
French to English
No but... Jun 5, 2009

My daughter has been in a Spanish Immersion program since she was 3. She is 6 now and, at least in a school environment, will speak in complete sentences in Spanish. I am incredibly proud of her.

The interesting thing is that I studied Spanish throughout elementary and high school in a non-immersive program and only reached a low intermediate level. Then I studied French in high school and college and am now a French > English translator. I believe that the background which I had in Spanish was the main reason which I was able to succeed at all in French at such a relatively late date. I graduated from college at the age of 36.

This has given me the firm belief that studying any second language when young is a good idea. Your child can figure out which language(s) hold their interest later.


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 01:30
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Other Jun 5, 2009

I answered other because I can't really say that I succeeded in raising them bilingually.

When my daughter was little, I spoke Dutch to her all the time but she was a very outgoing child and pretty soon she was having Canadian friends over to play. Of course they all spoke English together and I spoke English to them as a group. Therefore my son, who was born a few years later, did not get those few years of speaking only Dutch.

My children are grown now. My daughter can speak Dutch quite well, albeit with an accent, especially after spending a few days with Dutch relatives. My son understands it very well, and could probably speak it if his life depended on it, but far from fluent.


 

Liliana Galiano
Argentina
Local time: 04:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
I would Jun 5, 2009

I don't have children but if I had I'd surely raise them at least trilingually, it'd be a great asset and contribution to their education.

Regards,


Liliana


 

Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:30
French to English
No Jun 5, 2009

My husband and I are both native speakers of US English living in the US. All my other languages are school acquired - I don't have anything like a native proficiency in them - and my husband has no other languages. However, my son has enjoyed learning languages in school. Just to be different he chose German instead of French in middle and high school, and Chinese instead of Japanese in college - I guess kids gotta rebel.
P.S.
My dog did learn a few commands in Japanese - but I think he might have been cheating and using body language

[Edited at 2009-06-05 21:32 GMT]


 
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