Greetings to all! I have been so excited to find such a great forum - lots of interesting posts and stories...much food for thought! But now I need advice.
Someone in a previous thread alluded to an issue that I have been pondering for a while. My wife and I do not have children yet, but when we do, we plan to raise them bilingually using the OPOL method. My wife is monolingual, but she is extremely supportive about raising our children speaking both Lakota (my second language, but one that I speak fluently) and English. My issue is this: I was raised by parents with exceedingly large vocabularies, a razor-sharp understanding of English grammar and syntax, and a deep interest in word etymology and morphology. My wife grew up in a perfectly literate English-speaking environment, but it was not enriched in the same way. Her vocabulary is not as large, and she occasionally makes grammatical errors that make me wince. Actually, that sounds petty - I don't mind the lapses and the colloquialisms so much (it certainly doesn't diminish the fact that I absolutely adore her), but I want my children to grow up with impeccable grammar and a strong command of the English language - something which the majority of monolingual Americans don't strive to attain. I can't help it - my parents instilled into me the importance of proper speech, and it is probably one of the main reasons I ended up taking strongly enough to a second language as an adult that I pursued it all the way to fluency.
My problem is that the my second language is in grave danger of disappearing within a couple of generations. There are almost no young people below the age of 30 who speak Lakota. There is a strong local movement for language revitalization, of which I am a part, but it has yet to translate into any noticeable uptick in actual bilingual children. So I am going to have to be especially consistent in keeping Lakota as my language to speak with the children, because they just won't have as many opportunities to learn it as if they were living in a country where the language was universal. Even though we have many Lakota-speaking (adult-elderly) friends, the kids will have few to no playmates their age who speak the language. So...is it possible to be the parent speaking the minority language, and also the parent teaching the deeper intricacies of the dominant language when the children get older? You can see why I am hesitant to bring this up with my wife - it could be a very sensitive topic. Yes I know that it is a conversation we probably need to have, but I wanted to submit the question to this forum's collective wisdom and experience first. I should mention again that my wife is fully in support of our plan to raise our children bilingually, and we have been spending a lot of time lately perusing books and websites on the subject. Any advice would be much appreciated!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Country you live in: USA / Lakota Nation - long story how I got here!
Languages the family speaks: English, Lakota
Ages of the children: pending!
Language system: will be OPOL