Raising a bilingual baby

[deleted account] ( 29 moms have responded )

Hi,
I'm German and have lived in Canada almost 10 years, and I'm married to a Canadian. I want my daughter to grow up speaking both languages, but I have a hard time speaking German to her!!! I'm so used to speaking English all the time, since I've moved out of my parents house. What have your experiences been?

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Elke - posted on 10/02/2009

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Hier noch einmal etwas über meine Situation. Wir sind eine deutsch-französische Familie und leben in der Nähe von Frankfurt am Main. Meine twinboys werden im November 3 Jahre alt. Für uns war von Anfang an klar, dass wir unsere Kinder mehrsprachig erziehen werden. Wir haben Familie und Freunde und Wurzeln in beiden Ländern..also, das ist schon wichtig für uns. Wir haben uns informiert und von allen Seiten wurde uns empfohlen, dass jedes Elternteil in seiner Muttersprache mit dem Kind spricht. Sind wir in Deutschland sprechen wir, mein Mann und ich, deutsch miteinander. Sind wir in Frankreich sprechen wir französisch miteinander. Aber immer weiter mit den Kindern in der jeweiligen Muttersprache. Beide sind späte Sprecher, aber das liegt auch an der Zwillingsschaft. Denn beide haben noch eine dritte geheime Sprache, die nur sie verstehen können ;-) Ich bemerke auch, dass die Sprachen gemischt werden. Ich habe bei Freunden mehrfach erlebt, dass in der nicht Landessprache etwas gefragt wurde und das Kind immer in der Nichtlandessprache geantwortet hat. Also, sie verstehen alles, aber antworten immer in der Landessprache. Das ist interessant :-o Wir leben auch mit zweisprachigen Büchern. Es gibt so viele schöne Bücher. Übrigens der Klassiker "Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt" von Eric Carle gibt es WUNDERSCHÖN als Video auf deutsch und englisch auf YouTube.
Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland, Elke


Letztlich muss jeder die Methode wählen, die in den Alltag und zur Familie passt.

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Yuki - posted on 09/05/2010

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Hello. I'm Japanese and my husband is German. I have one half German/Japanese son(7y'o). I used to unmarried single mother for 6 years in Japan. So, my son is not my husband son. Anyway, when we moved to Germany last July, my son couldn't speak any German at all. He speaks Japanese and little English when we lived in Japan.

Our apartment is out of city and only German people around. So, he is in the normal German primary school(now 2nd grade). Now he speaks in German with my husband and Japanese with me. By the way, my husband speaks Japanese fluently. When we three speak together, sometimes Gemran and sometimes Japanese. Now he is kind of bilingle. I think you better to chose one language first as mother language to make perfect until around 5 years old, then he/she can learn other language easily. It would be possible to teach two language together but I think easy for kids to study one language first. And try to speak in German with your child even he/she answer in English.

Now my son's problem is reading/writing Japanese. Speaking is no problem for him but reading/writing is not so easy for him as Japanese is complately different charactor(we have 3 different charactor to use for write) with German.

Claudia - posted on 08/08/2010

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Sprich Deutsch mit deinen Kindern. Meine haben es verlernt und ich bereue es jeden Tag.

Christina - posted on 02/06/2010

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I grew up with a German family living across the street from me. I loved it that their household was a bilingual one. When I got to high school, I decided to study German and later I majored in German Studies in college. I have the same problem as a lot of other moms in this group- my boyfriend doesn't speak German and it feels kind of unnatural to speak German to my 6 month old son. Any suggestions? I'm also worried about language confusion as Sharon Korat mentioned in this thread. Should I wait until he has started speaking English to introduce German?

Eva - posted on 09/10/2009

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Meine Tochter Klara ist 2.5 Jahre alt und spricht momentan ein komplettes Durcheinander von Englisch und Deutsch. Mein Mann ist Amerikaner, spricht aber fliessend deutsch. Aber wir sprechen zu Hause beides. Mit Klara versuchen wir nur deutsch zu sprechen, aber die Realität zeigt, dass es ca. 85%deutsch 15%Englisch ist. Sie versteht beides, spricht allerdings gemischt, weil Schwiegermutter und Nachbarn sprechen Englisch. Wir haben hier in AZ durch Zufall viele Deutsche kennengelernt, und Klaras beste Freundin Fiona ist nur 9 Tage älter. FIND A FRIEND. Die beiden lehren sich gegenseitig und lernen von einander sooooo viel. Es macht richtig Spass zuzusehen.

Klara mischt z.B. "das ist zu heavy", oder " oh no, es ist kaputt gemachen"

Sandra - posted on 07/09/2009

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Wie gesagt, ich rede nur Deutsch mit Leona, habe einen Region Free DVD Player und kaufe meine DVD's NUR ueber amazon.de oder wenn ich in Deutschland bin auf Urlaub. Wir haben Deutsche und Englische Buecher und ich habe auch einige Spielsachen mit Deutsch, wie zu Weihnachten heuer gibt es MY LITTLE PEOPLE - Meine Grosse Stadt und auch CD's um alles zu unterstuetzen denn ENGLISH hoeren ja die kleinen hier in der USA wirklich mehr als genug. Mein Mann ist Amerikaner und redet nur English mit ihr, obwohl er Deutsch auch ein wenig kann. Hab immer noch die Hoffnung das er Deutsch mit Leona lernen wird

Nicole - posted on 05/17/2009

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HI, my name is Nicole and my situation is somewhat reversed! My husband and I emigrated to Germany from the UK three years ago with our two boys who are now aged 5 and 6. We have a different system in that we speak english at home and german when out with friends / work / school etc. The boys have learnt german here purely from being immersed in Kindergarten and School. The eldest is now in Klasse 2 and doing really well. To be honest I think german will come more naturally to them then english in the long run!

Sonja - posted on 05/03/2009

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Wow, I am amazed at the large number of different situations out there! Here is mine: I am American (born to German parents) and was brought up speaking only German at home. I went to American school during the week and German school on Saturdays for 11 years. My husband is from the southern USA and speaks only English with our sons. I speak only German with them and continue to speak German daily with my parents who live in our area. My older son speaks and understands German well (better than English) and my baby seems to understand German well (he doesn't speak yet). My older son is a bit nervous around people who speak English with him, but he seems to understand them fine. He just doesn't speak much with others in his preschool, for example. I am certain that he will learn more when he goes to school in the fall. I think it is important to keep your native language up and make sure that your children can speak and understand the languages of your household. When they are older, it will be so beneficial for them!

Rachel - posted on 04/23/2009

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So far from what I've read, the best method is for one parent to speak only one language and the other to speak the other language only.

Karen - posted on 03/24/2009

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Quoting Jenny:



Meine Rechtschreibung ist ganz und gar nicht gut :) LOL :)





Mir geht es genau so....



Mein 3 Jaehrige Sohn sagte heute - Can you help me put my Shuhe on, I can't do it alleine.

[deleted account]

Quoting Rita:

if you go to amazon.de, they will ship internationally and you can find many great books. Keep in mind DVDs will not work in your player, but you can play them on a computer and perhaps even burn them to play in north america.


Speaking of DVDs, I found a multi-regional DVD player (http://www.amazon.com/Philips-DVP5140-Mu...) on Amazon.com for like $46.95. I Googled some instructions to program it so that it'll play DVDs from any region. Now we can play all the DVDs I bought in Germany! ...My son is currently a huge fan of Disney's Monster AG. :)

Jenny - posted on 03/12/2009

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Hi, I just wanted to drop a quick note. I'm married to a Canadian and have lived in Canada for the past 7 years. My son is almost 5 months old and I always thought that I'd be raising my children bilingual. However, I find it a lot easier to speak to him in English...if just sort of comes out. It is quite a surprise to see that English just comes more natural at this point. I don't want to miss the opportunity to teach him German, but it's hard on me as the only individuals I speak German to are my parents and siblings who live in Germany. 1 Brother in Edmonton, but we speak to each other in English.



I live in Calgary, AB and would love to get in touch with other German speaking moms. I think that if I spoke it more often, then it wouldn't be such a stretch to speak it more at home :)

[deleted account]

if you go to amazon.de, they will ship internationally and you can find many great books. Keep in mind DVDs will not work in your player, but you can play them on a computer and perhaps even burn them to play in north america.

Karen - posted on 02/16/2009

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Quoting Kelly:



Quoting Stephanie:




Quoting Sharon:

We also try to read an english and a german book at bedtime/naptime.








Where do you find German books for kids? I have one of nursery rhymes that comes with a CD, but that is it. Can you recommend any titles?










I have recently discovered two wonderful resources. First, Multilingual Living Magazine. (www.alphabet-garten.com) I haven't purchased anything from them yet either, but they also seem to have a good selection....






 






I've started a blog at babybilingual.wordpress.com where I share these kinds of exciting finds :P  My son is only 9 months old, so there's not a ton to write about right now, but I anticipate the entries will get better as he starts talking and stuff. Check it out!



 



My son is now 3 and a half and is happily chatting away in English and German (and a bit of Texan) He has is own blog by the way:

http://www.carlandme.blogspot.com/



I'm reposting this because I forgot to quote:  I can recommend Usborne Books - I found some great books like "first 100 german words' and some flash cards with english and german words with pictures.  The nice thing is that these are English books looking to teach young kids German instead of German books trying to teach kids English - it makes a big difference. We play games with Carl - he get's a gummi bear evertime he gets a translation right - some words we ask in English and some in German.  The lady helping me out at Usborne is called Jessica Kraus at www.reading2kidz.com.







 

[deleted account]

Quoting Stephanie:



Quoting Sharon:

We also try to read an english and a german book at bedtime/naptime.






Where do you find German books for kids? I have one of nursery rhymes that comes with a CD, but that is it. Can you recommend any titles?






I have recently discovered two wonderful resources. First, Multilingual Living Magazine. (www.alphabet-garten.com) I haven't purchased anything from them yet either, but they also seem to have a good selection....



 



I've started a blog at babybilingual.wordpress.com where I share these kinds of exciting finds :P  My son is only 9 months old, so there's not a ton to write about right now, but I anticipate the entries will get better as he starts talking and stuff. Check it out!

Karen - posted on 01/29/2009

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I can recommend Usborne Books - I found some great books like "first 100 german words' and some flash cards with english and german words with pictures.  The nice thing is that these are English books looking to teach young kids German instead of German books trying to teach kids English - it makes a big difference. We play games with Carl - he get's a gummi bear evertime he gets a translation right - some words we ask in English and some in German.  The lady helping me out at Usborne is called Jessica Kraus at www.reading2kidz.com.

Stephanie - posted on 01/29/2009

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Quoting Sharon:

We also try to read an english and a german book at bedtime/naptime.



Where do you find German books for kids? I have one of nursery rhymes that comes with a CD, but that is it. Can you recommend any titles?

Karen - posted on 01/29/2009

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Hi all, I'm Karen.



I was born and raised in England, then spent 22 years in Germany where I married my husband and our son was born. During his first year, I spoke English to him and my husband German for obvious reasons. Then we moved to the US 2 years ago and we switched roles because I didn't want to forget German and my husband needed to practice English.  This in now happening though - Our 3 year old speaks German with a British accent, English with a German accent whilst picking up a Texan drawl along the way. He uses both languages in any given sentence and his parents are the only ones who can understand him. His Pre-K teacher has taught him some Spanish which neither of us speak so things are getting complicated. I've been told he'll figure it all out - HOFFENTLICH!

Debbie - posted on 01/20/2009

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i'm sure it will come slowly just bare in mind, one person one language. That should work. Mutimedia- DVD, CDs, Audio story in one language should always help. one cartoon character in one language that's how we started. Now we came to read stories in two languages, but watching Movies/DVDs in three languages. so that she can get equal input. I also try to find playgroup when i can to let her expose that she's not alone. That's what i've done before she turn 3 years old.



My daughter just started her new school in the new country for the very first time. She still sees Jakarta as her home. We've moved to singapore before she turn 3. She started english speaking kindergarden when she was 2 yr 3 mths, then i sent her to one school that mixed with english and mandarin before we left to singapore. and now We sent her to Danish nursery school as we consider that danish is minority language here in signpare. I'm facing the question from her that " mommy i want to go to school where the teacher speaks mandarin" i would like to have a free day from the Danish school.. .. i guess, we just have to spend more time in organising her daily afternoon activities. or just take her out of school twice a week. so she can get to keep up her Mandarin and English. Any suggestions speaking from an adult experience?

[deleted account]

Quoting Kelly:

I'm American-born (to a German family, however) and studied abroad in Germany in high school. I'm trying very hard to speak German exclusively to my son (my husband only speaks English to him), but I find it hard sometimes too. It has gotten better with time though...He's not speaking yet, so I think that makes it harder for me to remember to do it all of the time.


so you're facing the same challenge as me. My husband is away right now for business, a total of 20 days, and I find it easier now to speak german to her, but I still speak both all the time. I don't mix my sentences - that's more a thing my parents do when they can't find the word. But I do catch myself speaking one or the other without paying attention. Weird how the brain does this.

[deleted account]

Thanks. My daughter is 6 months, so we still have an open window. But she understand somethings, like when I say to her 'want to go jumpy jumpy' she knows I'm talking about putting her in the jumperoo.

[deleted account]

I'm American-born (to a German family, however) and studied abroad in Germany in high school. I'm trying very hard to speak German exclusively to my son (my husband only speaks English to him), but I find it hard sometimes too. It has gotten better with time though...He's not speaking yet, so I think that makes it harder for me to remember to do it all of the time.

Debbie - posted on 01/10/2009

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hi, i am taiwanese and my husband is danish. we have one 3 years old daughter We both speak and understand each others language so far when we communicate with our 3 years old daughter.





how old is your daugther? judging from the photo she is not yet 2 yrs old.



it's hard at begining as our baby won't reply yet. but whatever sound you've spoken to her, it will be recorded in her brain. and once it comes to age of 15-18 months she should start to make and imitate sounds. then you will find all that hard works are worthy... I speak Mandarin to her and my husband speak Danish to her. The key is that one person speak one language then the child will repsond accordingly. it's been working so far with many of our friends who have mixed children. We don't even speak English to her. she just picks up from whoever speaks english to her..



hope this helpes. i am also looking for a mandarin speaking informal playgroup for my child her in singapore.. despite there are lots of people speaking mandarin here but it's not so actively used as in Taiwan i guesss.. we are lucky that here is a danish kindergarden so she can get to maintain her danish..



wish you luck

Sharon - posted on 12/20/2008

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I speak both English and German to my babies and they seem to understand and respond to both. I'm American, but met my German hubby while overseas. And I'm in other mom groups with Germans. Torben is just getting going with speaking, so he says things like "heiss-hot" and points to the stove. Also "tschuess-bye-bye". But some words only in English and others only in German. Our only rule for ourselves is that the sentence must be in one language completely - nothing like "make sure you schliesse die Tuer" - so he's putting those two words together on his own. We also try to read an english and a german book at bedtime/naptime.

[deleted account]

Thank you! Ich finde Deutsch auch schoen. Leider gibts hier keine Deutschen Schulen, aber einen Club, den werde ich vielleicht beitreten, obwohl die meisten mitglieder aeltere Leute sind. Ich finde es super das du nur Deutsch mit deinem Baby sprichst. Bist du zu einem Americaner verheirated oder ist dein Mann auch Deutsch? Ich glaub das ist mein Hauptproblem.

User - posted on 11/29/2008

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It still comes very natural to me speaking german since i've only lived here in the states for three years. I also mostly have german speaking friends and i am talking to my friends and family back home a lot. So i exclusivly speak german to my baby. Are there any german-immersion schools around? I think that would be a great way for your child to pick up the language as well. Plus it might help you getting back in to it again. Don't loose your native language. Its a beautiful one, i find!!!

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