We are raising baby girl bilingual. Trying to, anyway.

Despite his doubts before she was born, Hubby was great about speaking to baby girl almost exclusively in his native language. When we visited his home country, his relatives were very impressed. But now that she’s begun not just to listen but to talk back, he’s having a harder time, muddying his sentences with the occasional English word, his version of Spanglish.

It must be very difficult for him. She’s talking. But when she says “light,” he has to say “or.” He wants to encourage her, not confuse her.

It’s important to both of us that she learn his language. It’s not widely spoken, outside his home country, so it doesn’t give her much of a practical advantage. But there are members of his family, specifically her cousins, who don’t speak English. She needs to be able to communicate with her family.

Right now, all the words she says spontaneously are in English. That is, after all, the language she hears most often. But she is beginning to imitate Hubby more and more, which is amazing. And she understands him, too. When he asks “Eifo baby girl?” she covers her eyes. And when he asks, in his language, “What does the snake say?” she responds, “sss.”

It’s so cute to see the two of them interact like that, and I can only imagine, as she gets older, the secrets they’ll share right in front of me. (My learning of the language has not been nearly as quick as baby girl’s.) It gives them a special connection, a bond I both admire and (only slightly) envy.


7 thoughts on “Language

  1. I wish I had enough knowledge to teach my children another language. It’s pretty wonderful when you start at an early age. Makes it much easier for them to pick it up and even learn more.

    • Thanks for stopping by! The only reason my daughter is learning two languages is because my husband is bilingual. If it were solely up to me, I wouldn’t know enough to teach her more than the very basics in any language other than English. (Which is sad, really, because I minored in French in college and we currently live in Quebec.) So I’m really glad she gets this opportunity, and I hope it will lead to interest in other languages down the road.

  2. Pingback: Long-term Career Goals | Jen Seriously

  3. My friends are raising their children bilingual. It is funny, because they understand Hebrew completely, but they will always answer back in English. He is constantly reminding them to answer him in Hebrew. I wish my kids were bilingual. They are learning Spanish in school, but I think teaching at home as young children is the way to go.

  4. I’ve always wanted my potential future kids to be hyperpolyglots. I’m going to speak to them in Russian, German, and a smattering of other languages, like French and Estonian. The capacity for learning language is never so malleable as it is in the first few years of life.

  5. This is going to be quite the challenge for us as well. My husband’s native language is Hungarian, which is ridiculously difficult to learn (for non-native speakers), so we will want any children to learn it early on. I most certainly want our future kiddos to be raised bilingual, and hope that as they learn, so will I!

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