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When our lo was born, we decided that I would try and teach her Polish. It is a real struggle for me as I am by no means perfect and I haven't managed to set up a play group or anything like that, but I have been plugging on and I would say that at the moment my daughter says more Polish words than English (she's 14 months).
My husband and I spent a couple of years in Spain a few years back and occasionally speak to each other in Spanish for fun and to practise. Neither of us is that good, but I would say that my Spanish is stronger. We have been trying to think of a way to introduce Spanish to our daughter too but can't think of a method that will work for us. We want my husband to speak mainly English to her as we think it's important that she has one language spoken to her really well (we're both native English speakers). We're both afraid that if she only hears badly spoken languages from us she will become semi-lingual. We thought of spending an hour a day where we all speak Spanish together, or a day a week. However, not sure how well this would work or how this would effect our lo's Polish. Would we be better off waiting until that is established? I know of a local Spanish play group that meets once a week for 2 hours and we could go to that, too. Looking back, perhaps we should have gone for Spanish as a second language as it is probably more useful world-wide, but chose Polish because of my background (I'm 1/2 Polish). What do you think? Are we mad to even consider introducing a second non-native language? Is there any way that we could make it work? I'd really appreciate your advice (again). Helena ps. Don't know what I'd do without this site. I read it avidly.
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Thanks for your kind words! I don’t mean to discourage you, but in all honesty I have still to meet a family that has been able to juggle two non-native languages — unless they had ‘outside’ help. By that I mean nanny, au-pair, daycare, school, or similar. If I were you I’d put Spanish on the back burner, and see where it goes. Joint the playgroup and maybe see if you can find a few play mates. Put the goal for your child to understanding Spanish, rather than speaking it, and then see if you can find a school that starts to teach Spanish early on. Wouldn’t we all have loved to walk in to our fist foreign language class and already understand most of it?! That’s an easy A+ but more importantly the transition from understanding to actively starting to speak it is much quicker, compared to starting a new language from scratch. Still, I agree with you that you don’t want to bite off a bigger chunk that you could chew right now... Good luck! /Christina - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Christina Bosemark Founder & List Moderator Multilingual Children’s Association
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Thank you for taking the time to reply to me.
I guess I always want the impossible and go for the hardest option. I'm still working hard at the Polish but despite advertising have had no takers for a Polish toddler group and the Polish women I met before have moved so my lo is back to just hearing me speak Polish.
I'm going to try the Spanish group after the holidays but have a feeling they will (naturally) expect some committment from us to speak Spanish with her as well.
Thanks for your help again.