What is the best way to bi-lingual a child?

Mary - posted on 10/14/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My husband a I both speak English with each other. But its important to him that our baby will speak his African language, for our frequent trips to Africa so that she can communicate with her family etc and not only belong to one of her nationalities. I suggested, I speak to her in English, and you speak to her in Swahili. He said that will confuse things as we always speak English to each other and after so many years living in an English speaking country, he out of the habit of speaking Swahili. Then he suggested, we repeat everything twice, once in English, once in Swahili. Or everytime we say a word, we say it twice in both languages, as there is no swahili spoken in our community or school will our daughter view it as irrelevant and just ignore it and use english?

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Danicia - posted on 10/14/2013

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my past boss spoke Swahili, his wife and everyone around spoke English. he would only speak Swahili to his daughter and English to his wife and his daughter is completely fluent in both. it did not confuse her, she sometimes would use Swahili speaking to her mom but otherwise she learned which language to use when easily.
I have a friend that is Russian, married to a German, and their daughter (less than 2) understands Russian, German, and English and is using words in each of them. little kids are pretty good at picking up languages young, don't underestimate your child. If you take frequent trips to Africa and she communicates with dad in Swahili here and there (after the language is set), she'll keep the language alive even if she doesn't use it in her community. Good luck- I think it's awesome your daughter gets the opportunity to be bilingual!

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