89

Yes, I do have another idea. Most sources agree that immersion is the best way to really learn a language. So bringing your son to a school where English is the primary language is a good start. Dedicated lessons at home sound somewhat superfluous and I can see why your son resists. You are in the rare position of being able to teach English as a (...


50

You probably need to get started on English exposure soon. At some point he wants to play with other kids and unless you live in a French speaking enclave, that will happen in English. I suggest moving either daycare, or cartoons, or some TV/audio-books to English. I wouldn't worry too much about overloading your child: young kids have a remarkable ability ...


43

My approach to pronunciation issues is simple: pronounce them correctly myself, but only correct my children when it's relevant (meaning, if they're saying something that's actually a different word, or otherwise confusing). She'll eventually pick up the proper pronunciation from you. The only reason I'd do otherwise was if she were a little bit older and ...


42

Don’t worry. I have 3 kids who are now fluent in 3 languages... When the youngest was learning to count we were giving her the numbers in either of two languages - because she was also at nursery where she only got one language. One day she was asked to count so she did in French. Then her brother asked her to count in English - she did and then it seemed ...


41

Having been in a similar family position (as the child) half a century ago, it's possible he's a bit possessive of his mother, and associates your English with losing her full attention and regard. In other words, the root of this issue may not be the language itself. In my case, I believe I got over it once grade school rather than the home became my main ...


33

I have personally tried this. The only difficulty that I've found is that once your child reaches "reading age", these books can offer some starting points. However, if your child has consistently heard you say "chat" on a specific page, but the letters written are "cat", it'll pose a hurdle. Incidentally, I also initially did this with all the books that ...


30

If you want a child to be truly bilingual, you have to start with both languages at the very beginning. The important thing is the separation of languages. This can be accomplished in multiple ways. The two most common are: OPOL - "one parent one language" - instead of the parent, any person with significant presence in the child's life works as well, such ...


27

From my experience growing up bilingual, the problem won't be that your kids don't want you to speak the "foreign" language, but that they will refuse to speak the "foreign" language. (The fact that you will do uncool things is a given: you're the parent, anything you do is by definition uncool.) The only way to counteract this is to build up a good ...


27

Being parents of different "tongues" implies, in my opinion, an obligation to give your child(-ren) as much diversity as possible. I am not qualified to argue against linguists, but I see it as no different than that if you're a mechanic, odds are your kids will learn how to wield a wrench; if you're a musician, perhaps a guitar. With language, you can start ...


27

You could ask him to help you learn Japanese better. In order to explain things to you, he will have to speak some English, while at the same time the potential reward of you speaking more Japanese with him might be a more powerful motivation. (Additionally, this provides him with an opportunity to understand learning from the other side)


20

Anecdotal evidence: When I was living in Barcelona, my neighbors were a couple with a kid. The father was German, the mother was French, they talked to each other in English and the kid was going to the British School of Barcelona. At 10, the kid was fluent in Catalan, Spanish, French, German and English. Was he sometimes mixing up and making some mistakes? ...


18

This answer is only from my personal experience raised in an only-French-speaking home/family/extended family living in the US. My father and mother both had a lot of siblings, and I had lots of French speaking aunts, uncles and cousins. As I stated in comments above, I spoke only French until my first day of kindergarten (English only). The only two ...


16

I can give you a few data points. The first one is my son, to whom I spoke French since he was born. I am French, we lived in another country at that time, but I knew we would be back in France (and I love my language). He simply refused to talk to me in French. I saw that he understood but did not answer in French but in the language of the country we were ...


16

This is one of those rare cases where there's been a scientific study on exactly this topic! The short answer is yes, speaking Russian with your 9mo daughter --- even for just the short visits you describe --- likely will help her build a foundation for learning Russian in addition to the language(s) she is exposed to more regularly. The study Kuhl, ...


16

I think you might be overreacting. As an French-speaking American, I can guarantee most non-French speaking Americans can't pronounce battu (and many other words) correctly, either. It's performing the step correctly that counts in the dance, not the way it's pronounced. As someone who only spoke Québécois until entering kindergarten, please allow her to ...


14

My background: I also live in Sweden. I was born in Russia and lived most of my life in US. My husband is Swedish. We speak English at home. I know many many people with bi- and tri- lingual kids, and a couple of a 4-lingual kid. My advice: go for all of them, and hope that enough of them stick. Above all, don't stress over it too much. Let me address your ...


14

The child needs incentive to learn. Only speak English and have great quality time with him. Go out together, cook together, have a hobby together, just make sure you're doing it together and only speak English when you do. The real world is better than sitting and flash cards, but you may find word games are also great after being able to speak the language ...


14

I think you are in danger of already having left this too late. Children learn language by making sense of what they hear before they start to speak at all. To be truly bilingual, and "accent-free", they need to hear both languages from a very early age. If your child has been isolated from native English, he may well become a very fluent English speaker, ...


12

It's never too late to start! Especially if you're a native speaker, just go for it. In my experience languages are most easily learned in the first 6-8 years -- learning happens more or less subconsciously while kids are that young. With other kids, it feels like actual, conscious learning. Specific example: I was raised bilingual (Danish, German) so ...


12

My experience tells me you should both speak your native tongue at home, and you can throw in some English along the way just for variety. You know how you can tell Chinese from Spanish, even if you speak neither? Children up to at least 7 years of age are incredibly good at telling languages apart - even languages they don't speak. Children can learn a ...


12

We moved with three kids ages 1-4 from Germany (your name sounds German, so this may be relevant). We were lucky enough to find a pre-school program that was for kids whose first language was neither English, Spanish or Portuguese (large Brazilian population). It worked great and within a year or so the kids were perfectly bilingual for their age. Kid #2 ...


12

You may not get a choice, particularly as your child gets older. Mine has lots of books in both English and her mother tongue. When I pick up a book she will often request demand it be read in one language or the other, regardless of what language it's written in. This is fine for picture books, but becomes more challenging with more advanced texts. I can ...


10

Parents dramatically overestimate the risk of not learning the community language, especially if you are in the US. In my family alone, over 7 languages have died in the last 3 or 4 generations (German, Russian, Swedish, French, Cherokee, Dutch, Polish). There has never been a case of a child born in the US failing to learn English from the community. My ...


10

So my question is, would my child be confused if I spoke Kurdish with it and Danish to my husband and my husband spoke Turkish to the child? As an adult, when I'm a 2nd language learner, I never, ever, ever, ever confuse languages. (Exceptions being Spanish and French, they are very similar, and that 5 minute warm up period when you are switching ...


10

"Gamification". We had a Japanese "wwoofer" ('Willing Workers On Organic Farms") staying with us some years back, and played cooperative scrabble - we all worked together to find the different possible (and highest scoring) words in every player's set of tiles. She found this both fun and a great way to increase her vocabulary. When I was doing a Language ...


10

Most of the parenting resources say that it's easier for babies to learn different languages if each person who interacts with them stick to one particular language. I found this true from my experience (Daughter speaks 3 native languages fluently apart from English from school/friends). So I'd suggest you talk to her in A and your husband in B. Don't worry ...


9

Immersion is the most effective way to learn, and it sounds like your son enjoys watching television. So my suggestion is to allow him a set amount of Japanese television per day (30 minutes would be a good amount for example), and then a less limited amount of English television. He may be able to watch many of his favorite shows in English - for example, ...


8

Any age Please start right away! It is great for your child to have even just exposure to another language. Others will disagree and talk about exactly how to achieve fluency, but my take on it is, exposure no matter how small is better than just plain old monlinguism. Since you speak English pretty well, if you used English with the baby 24/7, it would ...


8

Your children are probably choosing to respond to you in German because they are more fluent in it, and they know that you understand it, not because they don't want to use Danish. If you are the only person who speaks to your children in Danish, then probably around 70% of their input is in German. Children won't understand why you are telling them to ...


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