Pregnant after a Loss

Anyone planning on raising bilingual children?

My DH is from Ukraine and is a native Russian speaker. His English is basically flawless, but I really want my children to speak Russian even though I haven't learned it yet. (which is stupid of me, really.)

Anyone else going to attempt to raise their children bilingually? I've heard that it's best for both parents to speak a different language exclusively to the child but I'm not sure how that would work if DH couldn't translate for me what he was saying. 

My SS is not bilingual and that really drives me nuts. Russian is a hard language and there's no reason my child shouldn't be fluent- we just have to figure out how to do it. 

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Re: Anyone planning on raising bilingual children?

  • No, we both speak English, but I think if I had the chance, I would.

     

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  • We are both native English speakers, but would love for our son to speak Spanish, mainly due to our area.  He wouldn't be fluent, but just enough to get by...  I'd like for him to learn alongside English words.  We'll see.
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  • My SS is becoming bilingual. His mother is Mexican and they live close to the border, so it really will do him a lot of good to learn Spanish. DD doesn't know a lot of other languages, but she's picking up on some Spanish and I'm teaching her French.

    DH has mostly German on his side of the family and I have German and French on mine. The best way for the LOs to pick up on it is to start out early and talk to them like you were talking to an adult. Have your husband say things in Russian then repeat it in English. That's how we're working with DD on her languages.

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  • One of our good friends is Japanese and offered to teach her that. Neither of us speak Japanese but I'd love for her to learn it anyway
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  • I speak fluent spanish (learned in school) I really really want to teach our LO's Spanish but I have no idea how to do it and I know DH will not participate...
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  • I am glad to hear I'm not the only one facing this dilemma :) I just think it's so important. I will try to ask my aunt who is a special ed professor and who knows a ton about child development what she's seen or read too.
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  • DH and I both took sign language as our foreign language, so we might do that.  I would love LO to learn Spanish along side English, so DH and I will need to learn that first in order to teach her.

    They say children who grow up bilingual are much smarter- can't remember the reasoning behind it.  But the kids at my school who were brought up bilingual were all brilliant, so I say go for it if you can.  I'm sure there is a book that you could get to give you an idea on how to start. 

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  • I wish!!  DH is half Korean and his mom did not teach them any Korean and I think it is sad.  I wish I knew it because I think he would be willing to teach it to DS......
  • We are trying.  We both speak Spanish & it's true about parents speaking one language excusively.  I was a bilingual teacher for 5 years.  But it's so hard for me!  I speak both to my DD.  My mom speaks Spanish to her. 
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  • We or should I say DH will teach the baby Spanish.  I'm horrible at it and wish my parents had taught me growing up.  The boys don't know Spanish either although we can all understand it.  Bryan is very adamant about teaching the baby Spanish with is just fine with me.
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  • *Butting in from TTCAL because this subject is very close to my heart*

    We will definitely be raising our children bilingually, assuming we ever have children.  DH is 100% Mexican, so he will speak Spanish only to the kids and I?m American so I will speak English only, so they can hear what a native accent in each language sounds like. DH and I are both bilingual though. I have also heard that bilingual kids have higher IQs. So we will at least be attempting. We?ll see how it goes when that day comes :-)

     *Taking my butt back over to TTCAL now. Thanks for letting me share*

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  • I would love to but don't really know how we would. Both DH and I only speak English. DH's parents both are bilingual but for some reason didn't teach him. I guess we could use their help but it would be hard since we don't speak it.
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  • imageuklawgirl:
    I am glad to hear I'm not the only one facing this dilemma :) I just think it's so important. I will try to ask my aunt who is a special ed professor and who knows a ton about child development what she's seen or read too.

    Cool!!!! Please please please share!

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  • imageFififa21:

    *Butting in from TTCAL because this subject is very close to my heart*

    We will definitely be raising our children bilingually, assuming we ever have children.  DH is 100% Mexican, so he will speak Spanish only to the kids and I?m American so I will speak English only, so they can hear what a native accent in each language sounds like. DH and I are both bilingual though. I have also heard that bilingual kids have higher IQs. So we will at least be attempting. We?ll see how it goes when that day comes :-)

     *Taking my butt back over to TTCAL now. Thanks for letting me share*

    That is so cool!! How lucky your LO's will be!! I feel like I need to take a refresher course to prepare!! 

    BFP 11/09...M/C 1/27/10...TTCAL 3/2010...IUI #1 9/2010 = BFN IUI #2 10/29/2010 = TWINS! EDD 7/25/2010 C-SECTION 7/7/11 at 37.5wks due to severe pre-eclampsia. Liliana born 6lb7oz and Anthony born 5lb4oz Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • imagelrachelle80:
    Our good friends are. The mom is Czech and the dad is American. The mom speaks Czech to the kids exclusively and has since the day they were born - even if there are other people in the room, the mom only speaks Czech to them (though the daughter hears her mom speaking English to others). The dad speaks English to them.  I've known their daughter since she was a year and a half, and by the time she was two she was speaking both pretty fluently and understood the difference between the two languages. She would speak English to English speakers and Czech to her mom, and could translate between the two. They didn't do anything else - didn't explain it to her other than giving her the names of the languages.  She was never confused and has an amazing vocabulary! 

    Awesome! How did they parents talk in front of her? Does the husband understand Czech? I don't understand Russian so I am worried that if he has to speak to her in Russian and then translate to me what he said to her she'll be "onto" the fact that I don't speak Russian and I can just imagine the trouble that could get us into. 

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  • I was raised bilingual, as was my DH.  We don't speak Italian nonstop at home, but we do use it, as do our family members.  We plan, fingers crossed that this one goes full term, healthy, to raise our little one bilingual as well.  It's a GREAT advantage later on in life.  When I took French in middle/high school, it was easy for me, as a lot of the words are similar.
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  • I would love to do it, but lack fluency in any language other than English.  One of my sister's friends is bilingual, as is her husband.  They actually met when she was teaching English in Mexico.  He was one of her students.  ;) 

    They are raising their kids as bilingual.  They speak mostly Spanish in the house, but also make sure to give the kids a good dose of English.  Their kids are fluent in both languages and have correct accents in both languages.  It's really cool. 

    Just be forewarned that your kids will likely start to talk later than normal.  It's not that they can't talk, it's that they have so much going on and have to learn double vocabulary to start talking.  Kids have to have a pretty deep vocabulary to start talking in any language.  However, once they start, they tend to take off like rockets in both languages. 

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  • We're having an issue with SD and Spanish right now. Before her mom put her in daycare, she was speaking both English and Spanish (granted, she was like 18 months, so it wasn't a whole lot of speech). In the daycare, they only spoke English to SD, and so she speaks a lot more English now. Her mother has since taken her out of daycare, but SD still prefers English over Spanish.

    The other day, her mom called up SO and told him that we should only be speaking Spanish to SD. I understand what she's trying to do... but I don't speak Spanish.

    Needless to say, I have no idea how well our attempts at having Matthew be bilingual will be. I'd love it if he was, but I'm not going to stress myself out too much if it doesn't quite work out. 

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  • I am a fluent French speaker, and my husband is not.  I realize that there is not a LOT of use for French where we are, however, it is much easier to acquire language skills at a young age.  I will be teaching our child French.  Probably not enough for him/her to become completely fluent, but enough to get him/her by if traveling aborad.  I think learning a new language and culture is so exciting!
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  • I will be! My DH is French and I'm English but we're both fluently bilingual. Him... more so than I.

     Anyways, it's important to us because we both have cushy jobs in the government because of our bilingualism. Also, I hear that once you learn one language, it's much easier to pick up others.

    I hear that it can be confusing at first. However, kids pick up stuff very quickly and it's SO much better to do it when they're young. We all no adults who've learned the language later in life and some of them really butcher the accent!

  • I will be! My DH is French and I'm English but we're both fluently bilingual. Him... more so than I.

     Anyways, it's important to us because we both have cushy jobs in the government because of our bilingualism. Also, I hear that once you learn one language, it's much easier to pick up others.

    I hear that it can be confusing at first. However, kids pick up stuff very quickly and it's SO much better to do it when they're young. We all know adults who've learned the language later in life and some of them really butcher the accent!

  • Okay, I think I can weigh in a bit.  We are raising kid #1 bilingual  (kid #2 is a few weeks old, so he's not up for the challenge yet).  Both hubby and I are Russian-speakers; we came to the US as children but spoke Russian in the house (not in the same house, of course,  hee, hee).  It was very important for us that the kids speak fluent Russian, so because of that, we only spoke Russian at home.  Our nanny was Russian-speaking, kid #1 didn't watch TV 'till she was 3, and then, only Russian programs, grandparents/family all spoke Russian.  Her baseline language is Russian.  She is turning 4 in a few weeks and about 6 months ago, we began to introduce English.  We let her watch Dora (for the English and limited Spanish) so she's really starting to pick up English.  We enrolled her in a Russian daycare and while they speak Russian to them, they also have English lessons and speak English in the second half of the day.  This way, she'll be fluent in English by the time she goes to school, which is the most important thing. 

    Our situation was a little easier since both hubby and I speak the language.  I have lots of friends where one person is Russian speaking and the other is not.  The level of fluency in a language really depends on a few factors:  1) what is the predominant language spoken at home (i.e. between parents, TV, books, etc..), 2) what is the child's exposure to English, 3) the child's aptitude for languages.  For example, will you read to the child in Russian or English.  With having to do so much, it will be hard to do both.  Naturally, the child will gravitate toward the language that is heard more around the house.  As much as it sounds as if we  have insulated our daughter from English, that is definitely not the case.  She hears me speaking English on the phone w/ friends, she hears it outside in the stores/playground, sometimes hubby and I speak English if we don't want her to understand.  If Russian wasn't the predominant language in our house, she would most likely understand everything but would have difficulty speaking.  This seems to be the case with my friends who have a dual-language household.  But having said that, I do think even if the child is predominantly English-speaking, you can take the child for Russian lessons, extracurricular activities, etc. 

    Sooo.. a very long-winded answer to your question.  Try it out.. why don't you speak English to the child and hubby can speak Russian.  That way, even if at the very beginning, the kid's native language may not be Russian, the base of understanding will be there and you can always suppliment down the road.  You'll be surprised about kids and their aptitude.  We used to go to a very international playground and just by listening, my daughter began to pick up other languages..French, German, Chinese, Korean and Spanish.  Stupidly, I thought she would just magically pick up those languages if she heard them, but unfortunately, it doesn't work that easily.  PM me if you have questions.  Good luck!

  • My DH is a native Spanish speaker (grew up in Ecuador) and I also speak Spanish fluently. I have a master's in teaching ESL, so yes my children will be bilingual. It's silly for them not to be when both their parents are. From birth it's so easy for them pick up multiple languages. Plus, my in-laws don't speak English, so I want my kids to be able to communicate with them. My MIL babysits for a little boy that is now 2 years old and she is speaking Spanish to him, mom speaks Russian to him, and dad speaks English to him. He is learning 3 languages, and he knows who speaks each language and can code switch with ease. It's amazing! 

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