Are there any Italian-American families here?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2008
Are there any Italian-American families here?
4
Sat, 03-10-2012 - 11:31am

I was just wondering if there are any Italian-American families here?

Lilypie Maternity tickers
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002

Hi and welcome,
I'm not in an Italian-American family, but I am in a situation where my husband doesn't speak his language as much as I speak mine to our daughter. I'm Swiss and a French native speaker, and DH is Indian and a native Hindi speaker, we live in India, and she is also exposed to English on a daily basis.
She is picking up French from me, and English from school and TV, and yes from hearing DH adn I speak to one another, but she is yet to say a word of Hindi, she is 2.5 years old and anyway a late speaker, I keep telling DH that he should describe what he is doing, read the hindi books we have and such, but he works long hours, and up until August he wasn't home much due to his previous job requiring so much travelling.

I read that consistency is the trick in raising bilingual kids, so whatever system you picked you should stick with it. As for the Italian speaking communities, I have no idea, I live in a huge city, I know there is the French cultural association somewhere, but thanks to the traffic and insane distances and terrible heat I haven't even checked it :) I'm also clearly a minority here speaking French. I actually got a bit offended by the school a few weeks back when they suggested French wasn't useful and I should speak English to my daughter so she can be ready to face Kindergarten in a year and a half from now! I refuse to do so, because to me it seems she is picking it up at a fine pace enough, and beside I'm the only link to her french speaking heritage :) Beside I am so used to speak French to her that I don't think I could talk to her in English all the time so suddenly, I do say a few sentences here and there but that is about it.
Maybe your husband simply finds it more convenient for him to speak English? Is there any italian classes for kids she could take?


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My Adventures

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2008
I did find one teacher here who wanted to start a class for young kids and parents, but she needed enough interested parties in the class and she had trouble finding enough people to fill the class. So, it's not easy here to find people interested in teaching their children Italian. :(
I'm sorry to hear about the teacher who was discouraging you from speaking French with your daughter. I agree with you that speaking your native language to her is important. There are so many sources of picking up English around the world that she should have no trouble learning it at her own pace.

I do think he finds it more convenient to talk to her in English. I've been reminding him to use his Italian (when I remember).
Lilypie Maternity tickers
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Fri, 03-16-2012 - 12:16am

Oh no, it's bad that no one was interested in that class, Italian is a nice language to learn.

I live in India, English is EVERYWHERE, so I just don't get why the school is fussing that much, they told me it was important that she learn English because of the admission interview most schools have once you enroll your kid in kindergarten or something, DH who is Indian found that point a bit weird, he picked up English in school, back in the days no one told his parents to speak English home, but then nowaday school has become a massive business here too. I talked to other parents after the PT meeting, they all found what the teacher had to say about their kids odd, they also served the "don't talk a native language home" to other parents, and we are talking Indian regional language, and all agree that expecting a 2.5 yo to speak more than one lanugage with super-fluency is nut, you would think that in a country where there are two national languages and about 15 recognized official regional languages and thousands of dialect the school who have a better grasp at dealing with bilingual kiddos :(
My daughter is also a late speaker, she still isn't making sentences, or talking much, I was the same at her age, in fact my mom said I was even worse because at my daughter's age I was having far less words to my vocabulary, and then suddenly when I turned 3 I started speaking, and making sentences and all, my mom was surprised because it came almost overnight. My guess is Ishi is going to do the same type of things, and that once she got to talking she will suddenly catch up in English very fast too. Then hopefully she will pick up hindi as well.


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My Adventures

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
My grandmother's parents were both Italian but refused to speak it with her because they wanted her to be American - she was thus unable to converse with most of her relatives who lived in the Italian neighborhoods and struggled with English.

I assume you live in America? The Sons of Italy foundation is pretty huge and might be able to point you in the right direction. They mostly organize community events and sponsor scholarships as far as I know.

I definitely recommend vacations to visit Italian family - anything to make the language relevant.

I am American, but DH is German and we live in Germany. Our first child will be born this October. Most English speakers in the area are British, so while we'll like become friends we will probably also make trips to the larger cities nearby that have well-established groups.

The odd thing here is that many 'American' groups are full of Germans interested in everything American. I hope it won't be too difficult to find a group of people that is actually targeted toward our 'needs'.

Best wishes from this 1/4 Italian-American. ;-)

- JM