Wanna bring up your kid bilingual? Well, I can say I have a some experience in such matter, and I would like to share some tips with you all. Four years and two kids ago, I started noticing a pattern concerning my behavior as a parent-language teacher. This pattern became into the following suggestions:
Mother Tongue: Know what you are getting into. Research says that the most influential tongue for children is the language of their mother. This fact would restrict the amount of English my children would speak up to a certain level. Even though I knew this, I did not get discouraged, and kept talking to them in English.
Be consistent. Since early stimulation is key in language matters, I decided to speak to my children in English before they were born. We, as a couple, agreed on this. My wife would speak to them in Spanish while I would speak in English. I have spoken in English to them since we knew we were pregnant.
Assign a “language-face”. My wife says languages have faces: she says she cannot speak in Spanish to her father when she sees him. It sounds too formal and hence, distant to her. She speaks to her father in Guarani, our official language here in Paraguay. Therefore, she assigns a language to people surrounding her. Interesting fact: our children have a Spanish face to her, not a Guarani one, even though Guarani is my wife’s mother tongue.
Do not get frustrated. Many times, after stimulating my kids in different ways, they wouldn’t produce the language expected. Never mind. I know they will eventually do it. So, I let time do its perfect work.
Have fun! The most enjoyable part of witnessing your kids’ language learning process is to learn with them. Virtually everything we do is surrounded by language, so, enjoy!!
Following, enjoy watching two-year-old Max speaking jopara /ʒɔpɑˈrɑ/Guarani word for “mixture”