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Poll: If you have children, have you encouraged an interest/career in languages?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 12:21
Jun 14, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If you have children, have you encouraged an interest/career in languages?".

This poll was originally submitted by Jo Rourke. View the poll results »


Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:21
German to English
+ ...
Not really Jun 14, 2013

But they're only 9 and 7, so it's early days.

We like to encourage them to speak a little of the language if we go away somewhere, but that's about the extent of it.


Heidi Fayolle  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:21
French to German
Interest of course Jun 14, 2013

but not a career - it's not the same: so "other"


dasein_wm  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:21
Member (2009)
Italian to English
+ ...
Interest, yes Jun 14, 2013

But then, they are four and three years old, respectively. It's enough for me that they grow up bilingual.What they choose to do with that will be up to them.


Giovanna Alessandra Meloni  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:21
Member (2012)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Not really Jun 14, 2013

but they are 4 and 2.

I sometimes speak in Spanish with them, beacuse it is the language of part of my family, and the "oldest" attended a baby English course last year (and after she wanted to learn to her sister)... but actually she says she wants to be a doctor (she says: - I will be a doctor like my grandpa), and she decides her sister will be a teacher.


Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:21
French to English
+ ...
Interest, yes Jun 14, 2013

Languages have always been all around our house and they've seen the benefits of me speaking other languages when we go abroad. As for more than that: well, my younger son is studying French and Spanish at university, so I've succeeded with one, but my elder son isn't at all interested! I think he always thought that if mum could do it, why should he bother?! 50% success rate....


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:21
Member (2008)
English to Italian
interest Jun 14, 2013

they are 6 and 4, I try to speak a bit of English with them, and the big boy goes to a school of English, where they play and do a lot of activities in English. About the career, as everybody knows here, languages are a necessary tool to have better opportunities, but this does not mean they must be translators or interpreters. What they do with languages is up to them.


Mike Sadler  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Culture too Jun 14, 2013

My wife and I inflicted every cathedral, mosque, synagogue, Roman ruin, art gallery and museum from Algeciras to Paris on them too. It got to the point where they were begging us not to take them to Spain again. Not that we listened...
Still, No. 3 son learnt only yesterday that he is going to be funded for a PhD in an Arabic linguistics related topic, so we are thrilled.
And No.1 son spent a year of his UK maths degree in La Réunion, and No. 2 son a year of his UK physics degree in Grenoble (both on Erasmus), so it's all been pretty linguistic altogether.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 20:21
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, I did with quite different results Jun 14, 2013

My eldest son has no interest whatsoever in languages (he is a lawyer), my younger daughter has a moderate interest (she is an architect) and my middle daughter is a translator...

[Edited at 2013-06-14 10:11 GMT]


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
No Jun 14, 2013

I think it's up to them to discover and pursue their own interests

That said, they're pretty much bilingual anyway


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
He travels a lot ... Jun 14, 2013

In the course of his career my son has attended conferences and visited company clients in several countries.

So it comes in handy when he can say a few polite words in Japanese, get by in Sweden and interpret from German to English for an afternoon.

He spoke Danish at school, and we never pressed him, but he was playing games with language by the age of three and was frustrated when the teachers thought it 'cramped the children's style' to fuss too much about correct grammar and punctuation in written work.

His father - of the 'old school' - taught him at home, and he picked up the rest from reading... and we moved the lad to another school when we got the chance!

We encouraged all his interests, from ant-hills in the woods to programming on his Amiga... to astronomy through biochemistry and back to physics... and computers.

PS the Japanese was all his own idea - we only know European languages with the Latin alphabet.

[Edited at 2013-06-14 14:41 GMT]


Sergio Altuna  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
An interest...definitely! Jun 14, 2013

Encouraging without imposing.

Growing in a multilingual environment will definitely prove useful according to my opinion. Children learn very fast and without even realizing, they can find themselves at the age of 8-10 in possession with a very valuable knowledge.

Of course that doesn´t mean a language oriented career but we have to take into account that in such a globalized world, becoming a bilingual professional will always glitter in his/her future CV/career.


Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:51
English to Hindi
+ ...
I do Jun 14, 2013

With both my daughters I consciously made a determined effort (not intrusive or painful, mind you) to instill in them a love for language right from their early infancy. The moment they gained sufficient command to recognize speech, I would talk to them endlessly and point to things around them and tell them what they are called, making sure to repeat the words several times and asking them to repeat after me.

When they become a little older, I started to relate stories to them every night at bed time, and even wrote a few of my own for them, which I later also published in local magazines. When I ran out of stories, I would read them stories from books.

The next step was to instill in them a desire to read and enjoy books on their own, and in this I have been successful with both my daughters. Both of them are avid readers. The elder one had the advantage of growing up with the Harry Potter series and the eager excitement of waiting for each book to be written and published and bought and read on the very day it was released was thrilling for her. We also watched all the Harry Potter movies.

The younger one (who just completed 11 years) had a different experience with Harry Potter as the books were already there and she had access to the large library of books that had already collected in the house because of her sister (there is a 9 year gap in the ages of the two sisters), and she got to read all the seven Harry Potter books in one go one after the other in a matter of a few months. It was a joy seeing her curled up in bed with the heavy later volumes of the series, her brows furrowed in concentration as she flipped page after page, ignoring TV, computer games and even friends.

All this reading has also helped develop writing skills in both the girls, especially the younger one who already has written several stories of good quality, some of which have been published by her school magazine.

As far a career goes, the elder one chose engineering, and the younger one is yet too young to make a career choice though I would love see her taking up the pen for her profession.


Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:21
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Trying Jun 14, 2013

I am trying to encourage at least an interest in languages. What they decide to do with it later is up to them, but at least they will have that choice. However, I am meeting with a certain amount of resistance. My mum was a nurse and I was always determined I would never go into nursing: whatever I did, I wanted it to be my own thing. So I think that my oldest child at least is beginning to feel the same way. The youngest is still a bit young to be able to tell yet.


jacana54 (X)  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Interest, of course! Jun 14, 2013

They chose their own careers!

I strongly encouraged them to learn English while they were in school, with mixed results.
Now they're both using English to read scientific papers - I bet watching all those Gilmore Girls episodes helped a lot!

As Christine points out, languages are very useful when they travel, and in turn travelling fuels their desire to learn more languages. I do love the fact that one of them tries to pick up a bit of Italian and Portuguese, and the other rather likes French, but it's entirely in their own hands now.

Good for you Balasubramaniam, that's excellent parenting!

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