speaking 2 languages at home — The Bump
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speaking 2 languages at home

i just read v's response to mrs.oli's post.

which got me thinking...

how many of you spk 2 languages at home? dh & i constantly talk english at home...i'm trying to instill spanish with mady but dh rarely follows my lead. grandparents all speak spanish...nanny speaks spanish...and my other friends all spk english to her.

i've heard that babies can grasp as many as languages at that age and understand all of them...does this really delay their speech development though?

growing up we only had 1 language in our home...my english was obviously learned in school and with other playmates.

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Re: speaking 2 languages at home

  • My person exprience was exactly like yours.  Since I was the first born of Cuban parents, I only spoke Spanish until I went to school, where I quickly learned English.

    Now, BIL / SIL spoke to my niece (now 4 yrs old) in Spanish, but to each other in English.  Grandparents spoke Spanish to baby.  Aunts / Uncles spoke a mix.  Niece does have a stutter prob, but they say it is hereditary (which runs in DH's family), but is also triggered by the fact of the bilingual-ness.  She's in speech therapy. 

    Therapist suggested that each person decide what language they are going to speak to niece (almost everyone in English, and grandparents in Spanish).  Also, you can set up certain areas to Spanish only (SIL dedicated play area and car to be Spanish only).  This has helped niece out a lot.  Her stuttering has def been controled.

    However, something else that triggers the stuttering, which I found very interesting, is lack of routine.  As long as niece is doing the same thing every day (wakes up same time, goes to school, mom picks up, etc) she's perfectly fine.  When her routine is out of whack (she sleeps at grandmas - less sleep - on vacation) then it starts acting up again.  It is very imp that kids get enough sleep!

    Obviously, every child is diff, but just wanted to share her exprience. 

    -- Jackie
    "If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane" -- Jimmy Buffett Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • i love your hint on the "designated area" language...i'm gonna talk to dh tonight and come up with a place where we only speak spanish at that place.

    great points! thanks

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  • we spoke only spanish until Angelina was like 22 months and started daycare. all of the sudden DH started with both but I still do only spanish. everyone but DH is in spanish. she did take a little while to start talking but now will not stop lol her school just advised me to keep up the spanish since most of the day she spends in english except the 1 or 2 hrs that she has the teacher that speaks spanish. DH basically tells her a word in english and spanish..."blanco is espanol" and "white is english"...she gets it lol


  • I have the same situation too...dh and I mainly speak all english but his family only speak spanish to him. The nanny only speaks spanish, and my parents and brothers can go either way!!! I really like the idea of designating a "routine/area" to speak spanish to him on the days that the nanny isn't with him Big Smile
    ~~Givette~~ Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers
  • This is tough...I don't speak fluent Spanish but want my kids to.  MH speaks perfect Spanish - it was his first language but he rarely speaks to the kids in Spanish.  I try and do my best - at least with the basics.  When his mom is around - then he speaks to the kids only in Spanish.  We get a lot of flack from MIL - but my response to her - "well....visit more often so you can teach them."  I do try though - I'll practice with Eli in the car translating single words into spanish I'll say the word "car" and ask "Y en enspanol?" and he'll respond "carro".  BUt as far as complete sentences from me---not happening.  .
  • "they" say it's best to have one parent speak 100% one language and the other speak 100% the other language.
  • DH's first language (for over 20 years) was Spanish--he learned English only as an adult.  I learned English first and learned Spanish is school and from extended family (my dad was always trying to improve his English so didn't speak Spanish to us at home, and my mom's Spanish was atrocious, but she tried to speak to us now and then, as much as she could).

    DH and I speak to each other in English.  DH speaks to Cedric almost exclusively in Spanish.  I speak to Cedric in both English and Spanish. Cedric hears mostly Spanish at daycare, but some English, too.  He is switching to a school where they do everything in both languages (the teacher repeats herself all day long-LOL). 

    So far, Cedric understands both English and Spanish with no problem.  He does not speak much yet, but he does have words in both languages, some exclusively in one and some in both (meaning, he says both "open" and "abre" but only "agua," not "water," and only "up" not "arriba").

    My hope is that Cedric speaks better Spanish than I do, but my Spanish is pretty good for someone who learned it mostly in high school.  We are not perfect, however, and I am not concerned.  

  • Just read MrsdeOliveira's original post, and I will add that Cedric was slower to speak than I expected, and I do attribute at least some of that to speaking two languages at home.  It worried me a bit at first, b/c I know that I was speaking at his age (I have memories from that age), but I also know that the two-language household can delay speech development.  Plus, every kid is different, and my DH is more of a late bloomer than I was.
  • I've been wondering how to do this.  DH speaks Greek and I speak English.  I was wondering if he should speak to our DS exclusively in Greek.  He's a cruise ship captain and will be returning from sea in two weeks (Yippee!).  We need to figure something out soon before he comes home. 

     Thanks for the designated area idea. 

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