Saturday, 21 April 2007

Laniña

Laniña is my daughter, by the way. It´s not her real name; "la niña" is Spanish for "the wee girl"

I just don´t want for her to fall out with me when she finds out that I´ve been detailing her toddler years for everyone else to read!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

making my mind up

Well, I first heard about one other person who was speaking to their child in a non-native language... and then another... and, while I didn't know these people myself, reports were positive and kids un-messed up!

I tried to practise with the cat, only communicating with him in Spanish. Well, perhaps not communicating... (bit demotivating that, actually. Don´t really recommend it)

And then I just sort of decided to relax about it. The main thing was not to affect Laniña´s English, but there was little fear of that since she would be surrounded by English all the time. All the research suggested that there might be a bit of a delay in her speech development, but hey, it´s not a race. Did I want her to be able to speak Spanish? Yeah, but that wasn´t the most important thing. I´d be really pleased if it worked out with her becoming completely bilingual, but just having a bit of Spanish would also be a good result. Just making things a bit easier for if she wanted to learn it later on. And if I wasn´t enjoying it or if I felt it wasn´t working out... well, I could just stop, couldn´t I?

(still going two and a half years later!)

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

in the beginning...

I'd been in a dither all through the pregnancy, and indeed even before that! In fact I'd definitely said, having been asked, that I'd just speak to any child of mine in English - well, it'd be weird, wouldn't it, talking foreign? (Not really, as it turns out!)

And there was a confidence issue also - I mean, my Spanish was good, I knew that. Fluent, even. But was it good enough? I mean, I didn't want to mess up the poor kid!

What I knew was that many people had sucessfully brought up kids bilingually - but the most common model seemed to be that both parents had at least a basic capability in both languages, with one being a native speaker, and they would then either do OPOL (one-parent-one-language) or simply speak the foreign language in the home, and let the child pick up English on their own at school/nursery/playgroup or whatever. BUT we didn't really fit into either of those:

I'm not a native speaker of Spanish - I've had to pick up a lot along the way!
My wife doesn't speak any Spanish at all (though she does seem to be picking bits up; she can hardly help it, i guess!)

So it was always going to be the case that my daughter would hear me speaking English - would this confuse her? Would she bother with Spanish at all if she knew I could speak English anyway? Would all this be too much for her poor little brain to cope with?? Was I going to break my child???

A few things helped me make up my mind...
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