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Gumercindo
Reply with quote  #1 

Hi all!

 

Great site!  I just finished reading through it and decided to post my situation.  My wife and I are expecting our first child in a few months.

 

I am a Cuban American who was born and raised in this country, but spoke spanish at home.  I am fluent in Spanish and English (obviously).  My wife is American and has very basic conversational Spanish skills.  One of our goals is to raise a bilingual child.  However, with my wife being the one who's at home most of the time, I think the best strategy is for us to do the OPOL method (her English, me Spanish).  After my wife goes back to work (after 3 months or so), we will hire a spanish speaking nanny.

 

Beyond that, is there anything else we can do?  At first I was worried that I wouldn't have much time with our child during those first 3 months (while my wife is mostly with her) and that Spanish just wouldn't be absorbed.  But, after reading some of this site, it seems that 0-3 months isn't exactly the prime language absorbing age.

 

Thanks!

 

Gumercindo

 

Rhonda Broussard
Reply with quote  #2 
Gumercindo,

Congratulations on your new baby!!  I am bilingual French/English raised in the States and my partner only speaks English.  We do OPOL and I'm home full-time with our 20 month old daughter.   I encourage every family to start  speaking both languages to the baby during pregnancy.  I can't recall the title but the Discovery Channel has a great dvd series about sensory development in infants and all language exposure helps them to build schema for their family's languages.  During the first three months when your wife is home you will want to read and sing and talk to baby all of the time, to bond with baby and continue language exposure. 

My partner and I were each able to stay home for four months and then we had a French-speaking babysitter for six months before we moved.  She had worked for other bilingual families before and even taught our daughter a few signs that she still uses today.  We fill our house with books, cds, and games in both languages.  When we had the babysitter we encouraged her to explore all of these things with our daughter so that there was some continuity in her language exposure.

One of the things that I'm struggling with since we've moved is that our daughter rarely hears me speaking French to other adults, which is also an important part of her language development.  She is in the mimicry stage of speech and although she speaks equal amounts of French and English I feel stressed out about not yet having found the right French-speaking community here.  I say this  to you just to point out that it's not just the adult-baby interactions but adult-adult eavesdropping and kid-kid eavesdropping that round out their dual language development.

Good luck and Bonne année (Prospero Ano?)
Rhonda



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