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Feb 092013
 

Why some children do not become bilinguals, but yours still can

“Today’s kids don’t want to learn our language”, “Once they go to school it will all be out of the window”, “We really tried but our children just didn’t want to know”. Probably every bilingual person knows parents who have not been successful in passing on their languages to the children. Perhaps you also get unsure about how it’s all going to pan out. In the end, these parents may not seem that different from you – why would you manage where they didn’t? These parents may even be more highly educated than you are, so what chance do you have? Worst of all, these parents may try to discourage you from speaking your language to your children, to avoid the disappointment they have felt.

If they do, ignore them. The likelihood is that these parents never really thought about how to go about bringing up their children to become bilinguals. Maybe they thought that it would “just happen” and that they would not have to do anything extra to ensure that the languages would be passed on to the next generation. Perhaps they themselves grew up to become bilinguals fairly effortlessly, so didn’t think that any special measures were necessary.

Most likely, the way they used their languages with their own children wasn’t consistent and the majority language took over. At the point when they noticed that their children had gone over to only using the majority language, it would have taken a bit of extra effort to get the language patterns in the family back on track, but they didn’t know how to address the situation. Sadly this happens in many families.

On the positive side, these parents should remember that even though their children may not speak the language, they most likely do understand it. The children have become so called passive speakers, which will be of great advantage if they decide to learn the language later on in life.

So you may think that these parents are no different from you, but they most likely are. As you are reading this blog (and other information, I’m sure!) on raising a bilingual child it shows that you are aware of possible challenges in your quest to raise an active speaker of your language, and that you are taking steps to ensure your family will be successful. I believe you can do it, so why wouldn’t you?

May the peace and power be with you!

Yours,
Rita

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  16 Responses to “Why some children do not become bilinguals, but yours still can”

  1. […] to speak all family languages. There will be those who tell you that there is no point, that it is not going to work. Others will think that you are expecting too much of your children, and some will say that you are […]

  2. […] to speak all family languages. There will be those who tell you that there is no point, that it is not going to work. Others will think that you are expecting too much of your children, and some will say that you are […]

  3. […] or relatives who also set off to ensure that their children become bilingual but at some point gave up on the idea. They might even tell you that it is not going to work, that the children will decide what they are […]

  4. […] filhos que falem todos os idiomas da família. Haverá aqueles que dirão que não faz sentido, que não dará certo. Outros acharão que suas expectativas são muito grandes em relação aos seus filhos e outros […]

  5. […] die Meinung teilen, dass es eine gute Idee ist, ein Kind zweisprachig zu erziehen. Einige werden entmutigende Gründe finden, andere werden vorwerfen, man verlange zu viel von den Kindern oder man würde gar die […]

  6. […] všechny rodinné jazyky. Najdou se takoví, kteří budou tvrdit, že to nemá smysl, že to nebude fungovat. Jiní si budou myslet, že od svých dětí očekáváte příliš a další budou říkat, že […]

  7. […] tutte le lingue della famiglia. Ci saranno quelli che vi diranno che non c’è ragione, che non funzionerà. Altri penseranno che pretendete troppo dai vostri figli, e qualcuno dirà che li state solo […]

  8. […] es buena idea criar a sus hijos con varios idiomas. Algunos les dirán que no tiene sentido, o que no va a funcionar. Otras personas pensaran que son demasiados exigentes con sus hijos, y aun otros les dirán que van […]

  9. […] Θα υπάρξουν εκείνοι που θα πούνε ότι δεν υπάρχει λόγος, ότι δεν θα πετύχει ποτέ. Άλλοι θα πιστέψουν ότι περιμένετε πάρα πολλά από το […]

  10. […] a thógáil le teangacha uile an teaghlaigh.  Déarfaidh roinnt daoine libh gur cur amú ama é, nach n-oibreoidh sé.  Sílfidh daoine eile go bhfuil sibh ag cur brú ar na páistí agus déarfaidh daoine eile go […]

  11. […] такі, які говоритимуть, що це – недоцільно, що це не спрацює. Інші думатимуть, що ви вимагаєте забагато від своїх […]

  12. […] toutes les langues de la famille. Il y a ceux qui vous diront que ça ne sert à rien, que ça ça ne sert à rienne va pas marcher. D’autres penseront que vous demandez trop à vos enfants et d’autres encore […]

  13. […] per tal que parlin tots els idiomes familiars. Hi haurà gent que diran que no val la pena, que no funcionarà. Altres pensaran que espereu massa dels nens, i alguns et diran que podeu confondre els vostres […]

  14. […] az összes családi nyelvet. Lesznek olyanok akik azt mondják neked hogy nincs értelme és nem fog működni. Mások azt fogják gondolni hogy túl sokat vársz el a gyerekeidtől és néhányan azt fogják […]

  15. […] copiii toate limbile vorbite în familie. Unii vă vor spune că nu are niciun rost, că nu va funcționa. Alții vor crede că aveți așteptări mult prea mari de la copii, iar unii vor spune că vă […]

  16. […] ktoré sa v rodine používajú. Nájdu sa aj takí, ktorí vám povedia, že to nemá význam a nebude to fungovať. Iní si možno pomyslia, že od svojich detí očakávate priveľa a ďalší zase, že viacerými […]

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