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  1. #1

    Sweaty Dick Punching Enthusiast

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    Teaching English in bilingual (sort of) homes.

    Ok, so the title might be a bit misleading, because I wasn't sure how to word it, but here's the deal:

    My wife is now pregnant with a baby boy, due in October agw.

    As Brazilians living in Brazil, we only speak Portuguese at home (also, wife doesn't speak English). We also have one (step)daughter, from her previous marriage. Daughter's 13 and takes English classes, but is not proficient. Seems to understand a lot of words, but like other people her age, is embarassed to speak more often because she's afraid she'll say things wrong, and people will laugh at her for it. Kids make no sense.

    Thing is, being able to speak English is a pretty big deal around here (and mostly, everywhere else), and I want the baby to get a head start.

    Is there a successful way to achieve this, while also making sure baby learns Portuguese as well (will be just as important)?

    I remember having a Brazilian friend in Miami whose little brother was constantly bombarded with English/Spanish/Portuguese words, and ended up not speaking until he was like, four. I want to avoid this as well, although I have read that this is a common misconception.

    If anyone has any experience with this ("sort of" bilingual homes, or at least, bilingual child-rearing), or can point me in the right direction, it will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2

    my own parents tried to raise me as a dual spanish/english speaker, but as you mentioned, i also didn't wind up speaking until i was like...four. however, i wouldn't be concerned too much by it unless it's an actual mental health issue - my parents said while i didn't start speaking until then, my first words were "i love you, mama". apparently i skipped the baby talk and immediately proceeded to simple sentences. My parents were concerned about it though and stopped trying to teach me both languages, which means i didn't really learn spanish. that early exposure to different languages probably explains why i can easily identify different languages being spoken, if i've heard that langauge before.

    i'd imagine that if you're in brazil, with most people speaking such, there's plenty of places for your child to hear the native language - but not so much english. and as you pointed out yourself, being able to speak english is pretty big a deal - english is spoken or at least partly understood in much of the world. if you're worried, i suspect it would be better to speak more english in your home, and let them get plenty of exposure to portuguese elsewhere, be it conversations with your neighbors while you take your baby out for a stroll, TV shows, fellow playmates once they're old enough, etc.

    Don't underestimate how good babies are at picking up languages. they are a captive audience after all, and what else are they going to do besides figure out wth you're saying, at least until they can crawl around?

  3. #3

    I was raised Dutch/French like my brothers, and I now see the same thing with my nephew and niece (6 and 4 now). It took my nephew longer to develop the same grammar and pronunciation than his classmates, but his French is the same level while theirs is non-developed. Now that he's 6 he's caught up and speaks both languages with the same proficiency as his classmates, who only speak Dutch. So yes, there's a period of less proficiency, but they catch up quickly so it's never an issue and they have the plus of speaking 2 languages.

    My niece doesn't like speaking French because she understands nobody can understand her at school. She will switch to French when asking in Dutch doesn't get the result she wants though.

    And they both switch between Dutch and French mid-sentence without issue.

    The easiest way to do it is just talk the language you want them to learn, so English. Your wife can learn some English as well - my brother's wife's French-speaking skills have increased exponentially in the last 6 years.

    Also get ready for fucking hilarious accents. My nephew grew out of it but when he was 4, he spoke Dutch with a very thick French accent, made him look foreign. Completely gone now.

  4. #4
    Shimmy shimmy ya shimmy yam shimmy ya
    Sweaty Dick Punching Enthusiast

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    Just speak English to him. He’ll easily learn Portuguese with his surroundings. I grew up in Dominican Republic until I was 10 with no one speaking English to me but my uncles visiting and the occasional English broadcast of baseball. When we moved to New York I had to take a few bilingual classes to catch up, but I still til this day speak both languages fluently. Believe it or not old school SNES/PS1 RPG’s helped immensely! I remember having a dictionary next to me with my first play-through of FF6 lol.

    My own baby boy is due in August and I’m going with a more aggressive plan of attack living in the DC area. My wife speaks English and Khmer but we’ve already agreed her second language is a lost cause lol. So we’re going to try and shove Spanish down his throat. He can learn English the second he steps outside.

  5. #5
    Atheist Douchebag.
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    My sister's kid is being raised with English/French and a bit of Spanish. They don't teach her any English at home besides correcting grammar. As Xno says, they get that shit at school.

    The school has a huge French focus and they speak for like 2 hours a day in French. Her grandma speaks French and Cajun French and all our older relatives speak French or Cajun French. She's getting the Spanish from her friend's mom and me so I can tell her fart jokes without her mom noticing.

    ¿Alguien pisó un pato?

    Multiple languages is a fucking golden ticket for employment. My brother's got twins on the way and they are gonna go with English/Spanish

  6. #6

    Sweaty Dick Punching Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the advice. I'm also fluent in Spanish, but I really don't want to burden myself or the baby with 3 different languages. That'll come later. Everyone in my family is aware that my professional success is due greatly in part to my multilingual skills, so it's definitely something I don't want to pass up on for the baby. I've always had a very easy time dealing with different languages (I learned English in Spanish after being exposed to both languages when I was 12), and even took two years of Latin and one year of Japanese in high school for lulz. I hope the baby will inherit that particular trait, lol.

    Wife and I are just a bit concerned that if I end up speaking English to the baby all the time, all our quality time together won't be exactly "shared", since she'll be missing out on the things I'm saying, even if I translate on the spot.

  7. #7
    Atheist Douchebag.
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    Wifey needs to learn English with the baby.

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