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Ben Mooneapillay
Reply with quote  #1 
I am a typical English man; I speak only English and my language skills are limited. I am married to an Austrian, whose native language is German. Since our son's birth, almost three years ago, my wife has only spoken German to him. We speak English to each other. By necessity then we are using the OPOL method. In family situations my wife speaks German to our son and, whilst I can get the gist of what's being said, I very much feel out of the conversation. I have suggested that my wife speaks English in family situations, but she thinks it will harm our son's bilingual development. I am concerned about the family dynamic. Is my wife right or am I being overly concerned? Thanks for help. PS - I don't have the time at the moment to learn German (please accept that this is genuinely the case when responding). Thanks!
Reply with quote  #2 

You said you understand the gist of what's being said so do you think you understand enough to participate in the conversation by speaking English to them?  I'm fluent in Swedish and my younger brother understands it but doesn't really have the vocabulary to speak it so I speak Swedish with him and he answers in English.  I have also done that with German speakers where I speak English and they speak German and it works very well.  Good luck! 

Reply with quote  #3 
I'm Dutch, my husband is Scottish. We live in Scotland and have an 8 month old son. I speak Dutch to him when we're alone, but English when others are around. My husband, like you, prefers me to speak English, which I think is understandable (he doesn't speak Dutch). I have started wondering though if I should start talking Dutch at all times, as I've heard stories that our son might never start talking Dutch, only understand it. And I prefer him to speak it, too. Dilemmas.... At the moment we stick to the dual languages. Just to let you know you're not alone! ;-)

Any advice or experience out there?
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