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Younger DD was born in Italy. Older DD spoke only English when we came here, but learned Italian very fast. By the time she started daycare a year later, Italian had become pretty much her native language, and once she was among Italian children all day, English was quickly forgotten. As I became more fluent in Italian, I started speaking less and less English to the children.
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I often feel guilty for this and try to make an effort to speak English, but it has already become natural for me to speak to them in Italian, so efforts are usually short-lived. The fact that we live with my in-laws, who speak no English at all, has probably contributed to this, because it always seems rude to speak English in front of them. Even when I do speak English to the girls, they answer in Italian. They both understand English somewhat. Older DD, who is 9, can make herself understood if she has or wants to.
She makes a lot of mistakes and has a strong Italian accent, but she is quite happy to communicate in English anyway just not with me or her sister. A 6-year-old American girl just came to stay for two months in the house across the street from us, and my older DD already considers her her new best friend.
Younger DD 6 years old , on the other hand, absolutely refuses to speak English or even to watch movies in English. She is usually extremely sociable, but has not said so much as hello to the American girl or her mother in the two weeks they have been here already. And yet I know that she understands almost everything I say to her in English, so I am hoping that once she does decide someday to speak it, she will have an advantage. So far, the only English word she uses regularly is "pleeeease".
I don't think that you should pay any attention to what "other people" are saying. Of course it would be ideal if you and I spoke only English to our children and they grew up perfectly bilingual. But things in life rarely are ideal. And I don't think that other people have the right to criticise our choices as parents unless of course they endanger our children. What works well in one family might not work at all in another. And if your 5-year-old already understands and speaks some English, he is already way ahead of other German children his age and will learn English much more easily once he starts it in school.
BTW, when is that in Germany? In Italy they start teaching English in first elementary. Of course, if this is very important to YOU not to "other people" , you still have plenty of time to change the situation. Your children are still very young, so if you want to start speaking only English to them, you should start sooner rather than later. Comment Interesting question. I don't have any kids yet, but I would always go for bilingual upbringing. My grandmother spoke Irish Gaelic as her first language, but just spoke English to her children in America.
I wish that I could speak it I only know a few words , it would be a real "secret language"--which, as Selkie was saying, could be fun. And even though it isn't a very "useful" language, it does feel like a piece of my family heritage that is lost. I would want my children to speak my native language, because it is an important part of who I am that I want them to understand. Also, because most of my family speaks only English, and it is important that they be able to communicate with their grandparents, cousins, etc.
I do know some bilingual children, and it seems to be more of an advantage than disadvantage for them. Of course, there will be mix-ups, but they usually grow out of them fast and learn to separate the two languages. It is probably important to start as early as possible now though, so that it doesn't seem too strange to them to switch when they're older. Besides, as Lis said, I think it's better that the children don't pick up mistakes that non-native parents might make!
But in the end it does come down to what you're comfortable with, and whether or not you think it's important for them to speak English. Wenn es dazu noch eine weitere lernen kann, toll. Comment Oh, als Nachtrag: Sie war schon erwachsen, also in einem Alter, wo die "Verwirrungen" eigentlich vorbei sein sollten. Comment There are at least two previous threads in the archive on raising children bilingually, both quite long IIRC.
And there might even be another one in the French forum somewhere. Comment Okay, sorry, one out of two.
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Maybe someday someone will be able to open the 'Bilingual upbringing' one, and maybe inside it there will be a link to the other one, wherever it is. Comment Hi Kate! Just to put my two cents in We have Mama books and Papa books, the kids speak to us in the correct languag with some Ginglish phrases, especially from the 3-yr-old and do the things that everyone says you are supposed to do. My husband and I do speak German to each other. I got over the in-law issue, too they speak no English , so even they have gotten used to not understanding what we say to one another - they usually get a 20 sec.
It is never too late to try, Kate. It does work - my kids' native language is English, and now with KiGa, German is becoming increasing relevant. But hey, they'll learn German better automatically - I am confident of that. What I mean, is that you can try a trial period of 6 months or so of just speaking English to the kids at home, at the in-laws, at Aldi I once had quite an interesting conversation about where babies come from at the check-out lane at Aldi - was glad it was in English , etc. You will get used to the changing back-and-forth - and the throbbing in your brain after an English-with-the-kids and German-with-the-neighbor conversations will decrease after time.
Go for it. If you don't feel comfortable with it after a fair amount of time, at least you tried. It isn't too late now, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be for all of you! Go for it! An remember, no matter what you give them from another language - it will all benefit them in the long run.
Comment And I forgot to mention - an English playgroup is a great thing.
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I don't know where you live, but you could "advertise" at the pediatrician's office, in the local paper, or online as a Mom looking for other English-speaking families, maybe you will find others in the same situation - it may make a big difference. Try it out! Fange ich dann z. Comment Elke: Mir ging es nach ca. Comment Dr.
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David Newby of Graz University brought up his kids in just that way - and studied them in the process of language learning. From what I remember of his seminarys, there were typical mistakes and a certain amount of language-mixing early on The kids now speak both perfect German and perfect English. Frankly, I think anyone who warns against bilingual education due to some weird notion of confusing the child is a complete nincompoop who doesn't know anything about language learning. Start teaching the kids both languages as early as you can. Comment Kate, a bit of confusion in learning two language at the same time is actually a benefit!
It helps you notice the idiosyncrasies of the respective languages for instance and also get closer to the very essences of them. Speaking from the experience of a 3-generation bilingual family I'd say you don't need to strictly separate the languages by the parents. THIS would be confusing, possibly leading to a split personality of the family. The children should be comfortable speaking both languages to both parents, even if each parent is otherwise then the expert in their own respective language.
Comment hh: Wie meinst du das mit der "halben" Sprache? Sprache nicht besser Deutsch? The above website might be of interest. Also do a search at your favourite search engine for One Parent One Language and you will have a lot of resources to refer to. I am personally in favour of each parent speaking their language to the child. Comment I have had a very similar experience to Selkie and Mini cooper. I speak only German to my partner, but only English to my 2-year-old.
Since he started Kindergrippe he has started speaking almost only German, but if you don't understand a word he will repeat it in the other language : Very sweet. He understands both more or less perfectly, and is more advanced than most of his Altersgenossen in language skills. I found it odd at the very beginning speaking English regularly again; but very quickly it bacame totally normal.
I now find it a bit odd speaking German to children - somehow my "speaking to children language" has been set to English : I agree very much that it presents a part of me which he would not otherwise get to know. I am a bit different in the two languages, and it was very important to me that I speak to my own child in "my own" language, despite German having been effectively my native tongue for over a decade. I can only recommend it - I love having someone to share English with, even if it means that he loves repeating some phrases eg "bugga OFF!!
Comment When I met my American husband, we both lived in the U. Our daughter was born in the U. Now, we live in Germany. Now, my daughter gets her German from the Kinderkrippe and her grandparents, aunts and uncles.
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At home, we speak English. My daughter is not quite two and she does not speak in full sentences yet. However, she understands both languages well and she seems to know that German is her "public" language and English her "home" language. Of course, it is too early to tell, but I hope that we will be able to continue with both languages. Comment Our nephew has a danisch father who speaks exclusively danish with him, a bilingually raised mother spanish and German who speaks German with him, and a grand-dad in Spain who speaks spanish with him. He has never had any problems in either language.
He now attends primary school in Germany, where many subjects are taught exclusively in danish I believe he definitely has advantages compared to most other children Da wir mehrere Jahre jeweils drei Monate in Italien verbrachten, sprach ich es ganz gut. Wobei ich manchmal denke, italienisch spreche ich spontaner. Comment Ich kenne ein paar Kinder, die zweisprachig aufwachsen. Jeder Elternteil spricht seine eigene Sprache mit dem Kind. Je nach Dauer des Zusammenseins wird die eine oder die andere Sprache die Leitsprache. Autoren sind ein australisches Ehepaar, er Germanist und was sie ist weiss ich nicht.
Die beiden haben ihre Kinder strikt zweisprachig erzogen. Vater sprach Deutsch und Mama Englisch. Das Buch ist auf Deutsch erschienen, allerdings schon vor mehreren Jahren. Comment Bei einer Freundin wachsen die Kinder auch zweisprachig auf: er spricht englisch und sie deutsch. Alltagstauglich eben. Nicht perfekt, aber dennoch sehr gut!
Worauf ich aber eigentlich hinaus will Auch wenn es dadurch wohl etwas schwieriger wird. Aber es geht! Ich denke es funktioniert nur mit "echten" Muttersprachlern. Comment Schade. Comment nja: Das glaube ich nicht. Sie war durchaus intelligent, hatte aber z. Probleme mit den Artikeln. Die Fehler, die sie gemacht hat, waren nicht die von jemandem, der "Proleten-Deutsch" spricht, sondern eher die Fehler von jemandem, der Deutsch als Fremdsprache lernt.
Comment jay: I know a mother here who tried that. Her English was only passable and she spoke it with them all the time, but finally gave up 2 years ago when they were 7 and 5. They never answered in English and seem to have forgotten it all. I have to say, as a native, it sounded really weird to hear her speaking semi-Ok English with a German accent in the middle of Germany to her two German kids. But then, I never liked the woman, so maybe I am biased. Check out the KiGas near you, chances are one of them is bilingual.
And read, sing and dance in English, so some of it will stick with them. I learned Spanish as a wee tot and though I had forgotten it all, it came flooding back to me in college. We have been living in the US since we got married 13 years ago. Our children, aged 7 and 9 are fluent in both languages. I've been speaking German with them from birth.
They hear English from everybody else. My husband does not understand German, but he supports my speaking German to the kids, even when he is around. Only when it is a family conversation with everybody involved do we revert to English. As far as the children getting the two languages mixed up, we never had a problem. Also, contrary to common belief, it did not take them longer to learn to speak, but they started rather early at months.
I personally can only encourage raising children bilingually, and at the same time biculturally. I want my children to feel at home in both countries and act as locals there, and so far, I have been very successful at that. It does take an effort and is tedious at times, but is to the benefit of everybody in this cosmopolitan age. Teaching them to write German correctly poses the biggest task for me right now with all instruction left to me in the little spare time we have to spend on that mostly it consists of correcting letters written to German friends.
But that,too won't be impossible. And I understand all about wanting to speak your mother tongue at times! Why would you force yourself to speak a different language to someone who understands your mother tongue just fine? I "force" my kids at times to speak German to me they forget when they come home from school sometimes , which has been a pain at times, but they are old enough now to understand when I tell them the many reasons why they should know two languages and how proud they can be of it.
Comment jay, don't do it! Language is a tool and if there is nothing for the children to use it for, why would they want to? Freitag, 7. Juni Ferien!! Wie auch immer ihr die Ferien verbringt Frohe Pfingsten! Bild von Ylanite Koppens auf Pixabay. Labels: Deutsch , Erholung , Ferien , Pfingsten. Mai Standards, standards, standards. If only they weren't so pricey And if so, which ones, and why? And are you actually using them? Are they helpful in some way?