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Hi, I am new to this forum. I am British and my husband is Italian, we live in Lecce, Italy and we are raising our 15 month old son to be bilingual.
His first words were around 12 months - papà and banana! He still only has a few more than that but he is slowly working it all out - he understands a LOT, but more in English because I am at home with him all day. I just wanted to see if there were any other families like ours?! My only worry is that my husband and I tend to speak mainly Italian at home, and although I only speak English to my son he does hear me speak Italian with his Dad and his grandparents etc. Could this represent a problem? I look forward to using the resources on this site and getting to know other bilingual families!
Reply with quote #2
You are doing just fine.
Your only duty is to speak and read to your child only in English forever. She will talk back to you in English most of the time until she is 4-5, then she will talk to you mainly in Italian - no matter what you do. The only way for her to keep her English is by your sending her back to England every year for a few months. I talk out of experience. It's a lot of fun Good luck. jim
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Dear Katie and Jim:
I don't know that I agree with everything that Jim said. From my own experience: my brothers and I were born to refugees from a country occupied during WWII by the Soviets. Our parents were very young when they were forced to flee with their own parents, but due to the political situation, we never were able to physically visit their homeland, our heartland. Our only home language was in a minority language in the USA, but of course, with school years, teenage years and beyond, English speaking friends were in abundant supply, everywhere including in our home. We, my brothers and I, never waned from speaking in our language, in large part due to our identity associating with this language and it is still the same today. So, I think it is possible that she will respond to you in English forever, not withstanding the Italian pressure due to sheer presence. I am also mother to a four-year-old who impresses everyone with her linguistic ability, even people who've been born, raised and not left the Old Country have often commented on how beautifully she speaks. It will like time change, has changed, is changing. My brothers are of varying degrees in their bilingualism, the youngest's language has suffered the most, however, I feel that a person at some point makes the conscious decision to make something important and perhaps even necessary in their life. My language isn't perfect, but it is something I still put great effort into, forcing myself to read and write everyday in the Old language and jumping at every opportunity to be in and engaged in conversation in our other language, despite my being an introvert. And my heart will be broken (although I would live) if my daughter does begin to respond to me in English someday. Her father only speaks English, the majority language,here in the USA, but all things are not always engraved in stone or as other people say. Keep hope, but make the necessary steps to help ensure your dreams come true.