Anyone planning to raise a bilingual child?
You have to do it Suzie!!! It is such a benefit to grow up knowing two languages, and Spanish is used all over the world.
We are in a bit different situation since I will just be speaking my native tongue and Thomas his but the similarity is talking with me and visiting relatives will be one of the only times when my children will hear English but that isn't going to stop me from speaking it with them as much as I can, and making sure to read and listen to English.
What I would recommend is to start very early- even when you are still pregnant:) and just get used to speaking Spanish to the baby when you are alone with him or her. I would also look for a Spanish speaking nursery or mommy and me group so that your child is able to "play in Spanish" and understands that the language is actually used and isn't just something strange that mommy talks in once in awhile ;)
I also know that there is a board here on iVillage about this topic as well that probably has some good book suggestions, that I will check out when the time comes a bit closer.
DH and I hope to raise our children bilingual (English-French). Neither one of us is fully bilingual, but my French is the strongest of the two of us and
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Your new siggy is gorgeous!
I really like your idea of an immersion school.
I just posted a wedding update with pics :)
I also felt strange sometimes talking to the little baby in English especially since I started to have normal conversations with him since saying things like "oooh look at the big blue sky" got really boring so I am sure people who could understand English and saw me walking outside with this 6 month old baby chatting about my weekend plans and things like that thought I was a bit kooky but I think the main thing is just helping them get used to the different sounds that the language produces and making sure that they feel comfortable with it.
It might also be cute if your husband learns a few phrases so that he can have a little going away or coming home ritual in Spanish.
I am hoping that our relatives are supportive but I am not sure that the German ones will get why I am only speaking English to the baby in the beginning.
The things I read while studying English as a foreign language are that consistency is really important, and that statements like the child will get confused or will know two languages but only moderately well are simply false.
Yay for the update!
One of things my MIL tells me a lot is that I will really learn French by helping my kids with school work.
DH and I agreed years ago that our children will learn Turkish. Since I'm not quite fluent, I'll probably speak English and he'll speak Turkish with them. There is a Turkish-American organization here that has language classes for children so if worse comes to worse, we'll send them there. DH still has immediate family in Turkey and we would like our children to at least be able to understand the language. When I went there for the first time almost 3 years ago, it was really hard for me to communicate with some of his family because they didn't speak English so I didn't really get to know them. DH already speaks Turkish with our cats. :-P
Not learning my father's native language (French) is one of my biggest regrets. My dad said he tried to teach it to me when I was little but I said it sounded funny and I guess he just didn't push the issue. My mom doesn't speak a foreign language so maybe at the time, they didn't think it was that important. My parents divorced when I was 4 and my dad moved out of the country after that so I didn't really have an opportunity to learn French except for the one time/year I see my dad. I took French in high school in hopes of picking it up again and I can understand if it's spoken slow enough but my conversational French isn't that strong.
I have cousins in Canada that are tri-lingual. My uncle (my dad's brother) speaks French, my aunt speaks Italian (she's from Italy) and the kids learned English at school. The school district I was observing in this semester offers an immersion program to 6th graders. They take courses in Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese and German. In 7th grade, they pick a language and stick with it through middle school. I personally think middle school is too late to start teaching a foreign language if you really want the kids to be able to do something with it. The district is now re-evaluating the program to see if they can implement it at the elementary level.
Good question, Suzie!
To answer your question if children automatically learn French