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Bilingual instruction?
Old 05-11-2020, 10:00 AM
  #1

I am curious how to go about teaching my granddaughter ( 20 months) Spanish along with English. Her Daddy is Hispanic and fluent. He talks to her in English and will introduce a word or two every now and then, but I am wondering what the best approach would be. The doctor said to introduce one word per week. I am thinking that if he repeats a lot of words and sentences in both languages she might pick up more. Is that too confusing? Baby is very bright and already has a huge vocabulary. She is like a sponge and repeats everything. Any suggestions. Thanks


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Old 05-11-2020, 10:24 AM
  #2

Often, a recommendation for bilingual children is to have one parent speak in one language and the other parent in the other language. It's great that she will grow up bilingual!
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:29 AM
  #3

I live in Mexico, but I'm from the U.S. I have several friends who are from the U.S. and married Mexican men. At home, the moms speak to the kids in English, and the dads speak in Spanish. They don't have strict rules about it and might change things up sometimes, but for the most part, that's how they do it.

I don't want to disagree with the doctor, but one word per week sounds too slow and not effective. Kids at that age can learn languages so much more easily than adults. The children I know who come from bilingual homes are usually more comfortable speaking in one language than the other, but they CAN do it, and they understand both. Regarding whether or not they get confused, I've never noticed confusion. They might mix the languages sometimes by saying something like, "I left my backpack en mi casa." But I think that's an advantage, really. They have two languages at their disposal.

I think the more she's exposed to Spanish, the better.
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:35 AM
  #4

I have a former student living in Argentina. He speaks English to his children and their mom speaks Spanish. When they visit the US I've noticed how perfectly the children speak English. Not even a trace of an accent. I asked the mother if their Spanish has some residual English accent or imperfections and she said, no not at all. It's incredible how verbal the children are when they visit. Kids are such quick learners. I'm so impressed with this amazing family.
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Bilingual chidren
Old 05-11-2020, 01:03 PM
  #5

I was a bilingual teacher (both elementary and HS) for many years. I myself became bilingual when my family moved from NY to Mexico where I went to school third through sixth grade. Later, I studied two years of college in Spain. Children can learn languages amazingly fast if given the opportunity. I agree with PPs who suggested one parent be the English model and the other be the Spanish model if each parent is speaking from his/her stronger language.

However, if the child identifies more with one parent than the other or sees one parent as more personally powerful, that can also affect his/her acquisition and future retention of a language. Children in the US are very aware that English is generally the language of prestige and is associated with greater wealth than Spanish. Parents need to be aware of and counteract that by reinforcing the beauty and utility of being bilingual. They also need to be sure the child responds in the language they were addressed in, whether English or Spanish.

For me, being bilingual has been an incredible advantage. But, I'm European American so no one doubts my right to be in the US if I'm heard speaking Spanish like a native.


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Old 05-11-2020, 01:32 PM
  #6

My niece and nephew grew up in a household where adults spoke to them in English (mainly)...but adult to adult conversation in the household and extended family was in Spanish. Amazing how much Spanish the kiddos picked up, since they were highly motivated to decode adult conversation (especially if they thought it was about them!) Their receptive language is much better than their expressive language, though.

Don't do what my dh's parents did: speak in one language till you send the kid to school, where they speak the other language exclusively. Not knowing any English till age 5 had a severe impact on dh's early learning of phonics and reading...and his Spanish did not progress much because then his parents switched to English exclusively. This was before the days of special ESL support...at least, it wasn't there for kids born and raised in Manhattan!
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:24 PM
  #7

Um. I don't think that doctor knows anything about bilingualism

Dad needs to speak to her almost exclusively in Spanish and (the hard part) insist she speak to him in Spanish.
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:08 PM
  #8

Thank you to everyone for your replies. I knew I would get great advice here. Now, I need to convince SIL to listen. He speaks English around us at home because nobody else speaks spanish. I told him to teach baby Lucy spanish and together they can talk about me in secret, all good of course. Lol
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