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  1. #1

    if you speak a foreign language but your partner doesnt

    if you speak a foreign language but your partner doesnt and you're raising kids...what language would you speak in?
    would it be a mix of english + foreign language?
    or would you just speak english only? if so, why?

    Knowing another language is always useful and learning languages is probably easiest at a young age.

  2. #2

    Re: if you speak a foreign language but your partner doesnt

    I understand that the rule is that one person must always speak to the child in one language and the other person must always speak to the child in the other language. I once read that Charles Berlitz grew up in a large household where each of the members spoke to him in a different language, and that he came in time to question why he was the one person in the family who didn't have his own separate language. I've had a few friends who grew up this way, also couples who have reared their children in this fashion, generally with success. I know an aristocratic/academic family in Italy--husband Italian/Canadian, wife English, who spoke only English with their children, and sent the children to English language schools. The family lived in the country, and the children grew up speaking Italian with the accent they had picked up from servants and locals, and eventually needed remedial instruction to learn the accent expected of their class. I had a boyfriend once whose father was Spanish, mother Italian, and paternal grandmother French. He was sent to boarding school in England at a young age and ended up speaking four languages fluently. Lucky guy I always thought. (His sister married a Swiss German and lives in Zurich, and with German and Switzerdeutch in the mix, they speak six languages.)

  3. #3
    Minister of Silly Walks The_Reaper's Avatar
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    Re: if you speak a foreign language but your partner doesnt

    I'm on the other side...The b/f is a linguistics student, so he has a grasp on several languages (not fluency, but he can read/write in quite a few and speak well enough in a few others); whereas I am the one language speaker in the relationship. Personally, I'd say teach them what you can. English, French, Spanish...Whatever languages can be spoken should be. And if the kids have an inclination to one over the other, well, foster that as you can.

    I'm sorry to have kept you waiting, but I'm afraid my walk has become rather sillier recently...

  4. #4
    Dimples glasvegas's Avatar
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    Re: if you speak a foreign language but your partner doesnt

    Being raised in Malaysia, I have acquired the ability to speak 3 languages fluently, my native tongue is Mandarin, our national language is Malay and of course, English. I also speak 2 Chinese dialect intermediately. I haven't thought much about raising a kid, but if I eventually settle down in Australia and have a partner who only can speak English, I would prefer to raise the kid bilingually, so that he/she has an edge over everyone else.

  5. #5
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    Re: if you speak a foreign language but your partner doesnt

    We speak only English in our home now, but it could have been much different. My partner is Greek born, our three oldest children are Romanian born. I and our youngest are American born. Because my husband and our Romanian sons came to the US following traumatic events in their lives, they had a common experience concerning the languages they spoke and especially their accents. My husband came to the US when he was 15 and I met him at 18 and he still had a slight accent that he tried very hard not to have. It was especially strong when he was tired. In his teen years, girls commented that he was "exotic and romantic" because of his Mediterranean looks and accent. To him it just felt like he stood out and he didn't want that. Our sons wanted very much to fit in and just be regular American boys and that meant no accent. Someone told me that you are more likely to lose an accent if you learn the new language before puberty. Something about puberty makes it more difficult to change it.

    I think life experience plays a big part in how important language is to any of us, although I'm sure most of us wish we could speak multiple languages at some point in our lives.
    Everyone wants to be heard. No one wants to listen.

  6. #6
    JUB Addict JohnnyAnger's Avatar
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    Re: if you speak a foreign language but your partner doesnt

    Quote Originally Posted by sixthson View Post
    Someone told me that you are more likely to lose an accent if you learn the new language before puberty. Something about puberty makes it more difficult to change it.
    That is interesting and seems to make sense, my partner was brought up speaking Welsh until he went to school in an English language environment, and does not really have an accent any more (in his childhood he had a strong Welsh accent, although I never knew him at this point). However one of my closest friends is German-Colombian and has lived all over the world growing up speaking a load of languages. His German is really hard for me to understand though, as he speaks with a massive Bavarian accent to the extent I can not understand. Also his Spanish always sounds different to me, thanks to the fact he does not go in for all the silly lisping of European Spanish!

    Personally, if me and my partner had a child I would hope he would speak one of his languages to it. Although seeing as he did not do this with his children previously I would doubt he would again!

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    Re: if you speak a foreign language but your partner doesnt

    I would do both, being bilingual is a major plus in many job fields, plus it can come in handy
    You cant change the way the wind blow's, but you can change the angle of your sail to take you somewhere else!!

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