Husband doesn't speak my language

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2006
Husband doesn't speak my language
Mon, 01-19-2009 - 10:10pm


I just found your group and am really excited.

I speak ~ 3-3.5 languages (English, Farsi, French, and Spanish). My husband speaks 1 (English). I have been VERY inconsistent about speaking Farsi to my daughter who is now almost 2.

I would like her to learn to speak Farsi, at least a little bit and I know that I just need to use it with her more consistently. My problem/question is:

How do I do this if it makes my husband uncomfortable? He is worried about feeling left out if all 3 of us are home and I am speaking to my daughter and he does not understand whta we are saying. Do I just tell him to get over it?

Do I speak to her in English if he is around? Won't this make learning the language harder for her?

Also, my Farsi is not spectacular. What do I do if there are words that I do not know? I guess go and look them up?

Thanks for any advice!


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2006
Tue, 01-20-2009 - 12:15pm

Hi there! Welcome!

We have 4 languages in our family. I speak English and some Welsh. My partner speaks Welsh and English. My kids' dad speaks English, German and French. He is German. He speaks mainly German with the kids. Sometimes he speaks German to them in front of me and my son will tell me in English what he said! My son doesn't speak any German yet, only English and Welsh, but he understands and that's very important.

It could be a game when she knows quite a bit - her translating your Farsi into English! I think mostly you should speak English when it's the three of you together, but there's no harm in slipping between languages as well.

So my advice is compromise on what language you speak when. I'm sure your daughter will be getting one to one time with each of you, so if you always speak in Farsi those times it will be easier.

In my house, my partner almost always speaks Welsh. I am lucky in that I understand most of it even though I don't speak it all. So I give them most of the grounding in English and she gives them their grounding in Welsh.

Yes, if you don't know a word, just look it up! You could even look it up with her!

Good luck! Bilinguism is a fantastic thing! Even if she doesn't remember it as she grows up, it will make it easier for her to learn other languages when she's older!

Rose, loved for life by Meghan and mama to Michael Lloyd (24th May 2005), Ella Morghan (5th Jan 2008) and Jolie Bryna (12th May 2010). Co-parenting with André and René.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 01-20-2009 - 1:58pm
hey Violette. I'm in somewhat similar position. I'm fluent in English, as is my partner; I'm learning German and he has no desire to learn. We're "working towards one parent, one language" with me speaking in German. I speak as much German as I can to my son, depending on what's happening the ratio is 20-70% in favor of German. When I'm including my partner in the conversation, I speak English. If I'm going to say something about him, whether the conversation is specifically meant to include him or not, I speak in English. Really, my partner assumes that it's some "kid thing" that he doesn't care about if I'm speaking in German. That's how it works for us.
There's going to be times when you're alone with your daughter, right? When your husband is away? Those times will no doubt balance the times you speak in English to include your husband. Maybe it could slow down her progress in Farsi, but isn't it better to start, to have a basis, rather than not do anything at all? That's how I feel... even if it's just a little German, it's better than nothing.
On not being sure of words, I have an English/German dictionary always handy. I've also bought Rosetta Stone levels 1 & 2 of German to improve my German. If I remember their commercials right, that should give me about 8000+ words of vocab. I've seen on plenty of bilingual parenting sites where *they* recommend at least 5000 words to start bilingual parenting, so I feel good on that.

Love and Light, Joelle

Homeschooling mom to a

Love and Light, Joelle

Homeschooling mom to a 11yr old hydrogen molecule.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-20-2009
Fri, 01-23-2009 - 6:45pm

Hey! Well, I speak 3 languages fluently too and I fully support the idea of teaching your child a second, third, fourth language. I grew up speaking only English and OCCASIONALLY hearing some Italian from my ma.

having a baby

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Mon, 01-26-2009 - 1:30pm
Welcome to the board! It sounds like you'll be a great resource for us here. :) Glad to have you!

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