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Tali
Reply with quote  #1 


My native language is Russian and I also speak Hebrew quite fluently. I spoke mostly Hebrew to our son since his birth as I am the only one in the family who can expose him to Hebrew, the rest of the family speaks Russian, the community speaks English, although some basic classes of Hebrew will be offered later in the school by the native speakers.

  The official language in school is going to be English, as we live in USA. My concern is that although I am fluent in Hebrew and can express myself very well, even on the academic level, still it is not my native language. I feel like I would be able to talk more in general and to teach him more words if I would speak Russian. Right now I may be talking somewhat less to him (it is a very subtle difference, but I can feel it) and sometimes I may not know some insignificant specific words, in addition I have a little of a Russian accent when I speak Hebrew.

I am afraid to limit his language acquisition by my personal knowledge (in case of Hebrew).

My breaking point was about a month ago when during our walk in the zoo I saw that I actually don't know all the names of the animals and plants. I switched to Russian soon after that. I had a feeling that it was very weird to the baby...

What should I do now? I am confusing myself, not to mention the baby... We both want him to grow bilingual (trilingual, with English from the preschool on), but we feel like Russian should be his first language. On the other hand, my dream is to teach him Hebrew as well...

Any advise please?

Andrew
Reply with quote  #2 
If I were you, I would continue to use Hebrew, and when a word comes up that you don't know the Hebrew for, simply switch into Russian for that word.  There seems to be a superstition that mixing languages will hopelessly confuse our children.  But in most countries where many languages are spoken, code switching (the term linguists use) is the norm.  In India virtually every educated person switches back and forth between their native language and English with their children, and these children are not thereby hopelessly confused for life!  So don't worry so much, and enjoy speaking as much Hebrew as you are comfortable with to your child.

I hope this helps!

Andrew

Siya
Reply with quote  #3 
Yea, keep going in Hebrew. Get one of those "1000 words in Hebrew book" and go over the different sections and learn obscure words you didn't already know. Also, these are great picture books for kids anyway.

I'm not sure how old your son is, but as he gets older he'll speak more and more Hebrew and Russian. If you have to substitute a word in another language, then do so and dont feel guilty. If you're really worried about his Hebrew, why not enroll him in a Hebrew Pre-K or play group. If there isn't one in your area--whats stopping you from starting one?

If there are enough Hebrew speakers in the area, why not start a co-op day care program? I think that you can take a couple weeks worth of classes for about 500 bucks with a community organization and then have your license to start a small day care out of your home, where you could keep up to 10 kids for a few hours a day and you and the parents could supply it with Hebrew Media and speak Hebrew around the kids.

Just a thought.

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