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  1. #1
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    Default Parent speaks English, child learning a second language, what are your thoughts?

    So my husband and his family are bilingual, they speak English and another foreign language which I don't consider one of the major world languages likely to increase our child's future life success.

    We just had a conversation about the language our child will speak and I've offended him so now he's doing the passive aggressive thing and ignoring me

    Basically when we get together with his family they will all speak the other language even though they all speak fluent English, and I feel totally excluded; no one makes any effort to include me which is why I avoid his family gatherings most of the time. I just suck it up though and don't say anything because I realize they have no obligation to include me. However I told my husband I dont want his family speaking to my baby in any language besides English. He got annoyed and said he would speak to the baby in any language he chooses. I said that as the Father he has that right but I would feel left out if him and our child could speak to each other and exclude me, but it's different with his family because I don't think anyone other than him should be able to speak to our child without me understanding.

    I feel strongly about this for my child's safety. I just think you can never be too careful and if someone was speaking inappropriately to my child in English I would shut it down immediately but I can't do that if I don't understand what's being said.

    Anyway now he's offended and annoyed but I think this is my right as a mother and I would never let my family speak to our child in another language in front of DH without him knowing what's being said.

    Am I wrong? How would you feel?

  2. #2
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    I think it is a great thing that your child will be bilingual. For me it should be encouraged as it is part of the child's identity. No second language is a waste, no matter if it is not one of the major languages.

    Have you considered taking language lessons so you can at least understand some of what they are saying?

    If you are worried about safety always ensure your husband is around your child when he is with his family that way he will understand what is being said if you don't want to learn the language they are speaking.

    Just wondering how you came across in the way you approached your husband about it, as your post seems rather condescending. This may not have helped his reaction.

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  4. #3
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    Learning a second language in early childhood keeps more of the connections open in the brain and can actually make it easier for them to learn other things later. If your husband and his family all use this language on a regular basis they must consider it a very important part of thier heritage. By telling him you dont want your child to learn this language, he may see it as a rejection of his heritage and background.

    I can understand why you want to be able to understand what is said to your child and I would be really annoyed if no one spoke english around me knowing I could not understand. Have you tried learning the language? It may make family gatherings more comfortable and then you would know what is being said. It would make a big statement about your acceptance of him, his background and his family.

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  6. #4
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    threechooks is offline If my spelling annoys you that's your problem.... I have better things to do than proofread !
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    If I were you, I'd learn the language. So easy in this day and age with access to internet programs and on-line learning. It may not be a global, useful language but learning another language opens parts of the brain that are not normally used. I was raised in an english speaking household but speak german and basic japanese. I am thinking of learning indonesian.

    I think your demands are unrealistic. I think you should change, not everyone else. JMO though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tildy View Post
    Learning a second language in early childhood keeps more of the connections open in the brain and can actually make it easier for them to learn other things later. If your husband and his family all use this language on a regular basis they must consider it a very important part of thier heritage. By telling him you dont want your child to learn this language, he may see it as a rejection of his heritage and background.

    I can understand why you want to be able to understand what is said to your child and I would be really annoyed if no one spoke english around me knowing I could not understand. Have you tried learning the language? It may make family gatherings more comfortable and then you would know what is being said. It would make a big statement about your acceptance of him, his background and his family.
    I totally agree!

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    MrJones&Me is offline sometimes as useless as the 'ueue' in queue
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tildy View Post
    Learning a second language in early childhood keeps more of the connections open in the brain and can actually make it easier for them to learn other things later. If your husband and his family all use this language on a regular basis they must consider it a very important part of thier heritage. By telling him you dont want your child to learn this language, he may see it as a rejection of his heritage and background.

    I can understand why you want to be able to understand what is said to your child and I would be really annoyed if no one spoke english around me knowing I could not understand. Have you tried learning the language? It may make family gatherings more comfortable and then you would know what is being said. It would make a big statement about your acceptance of him, his background and his family.

    I agree

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    Thanks for your replies, good to see it from a different perspective. As far as learning the language, I'm actually from the same cultural background as him and my parents also speak a regional dialect from the same country but I've never been able to pick up, I've tried since I was a child but picking up languages just doesn't come naturally to me. I've tried with his dialect too and we've been together 10 years but I just don't thnk it's going to happen. It's not about me rejecting his culture because it's the same culture, I'm probably more "westernized" though because we moved here a long time ago and have not really held onto things like language and cultural dress.

    As far as being bilingual helping cognitively, I completely understand this and accept the value but from personal experience I can't say it's reason enough to allow others to be able to communicate with my child with me being unaware, something to think about though, I agree.

    I don't know, I don't want him to feel I'm controlling him but in our cultural group its very "familiar", people who aren't related are referred to as aunts and uncles, and I know my husband won't be with us all the time to be able to be aware of what's going on. I probably sound paranoid but I'm just a better safe than sorry type I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Diamonds 14 View Post
    So my husband and his family are bilingual, they speak English and another foreign language which I don't consider one of the major world languages likely to increase our child's future life success.

    We just had a conversation about the language our child will speak and I've offended him so now he's doing the passive aggressive thing and ignoring me

    Basically when we get together with his family they will all speak the other language even though they all speak fluent English, and I feel totally excluded; no one makes any effort to include me which is why I avoid his family gatherings most of the time. I just suck it up though and don't say anything because I realize they have no obligation to include me. However I told my husband I dont want his family speaking to my baby in any language besides English. He got annoyed and said he would speak to the baby in any language he chooses. I said that as the Father he has that right but I would feel left out if him and our child could speak to each other and exclude me, but it's different with his family because I don't think anyone other than him should be able to speak to our child without me understanding.

    I feel strongly about this for my child's safety. I just think you can never be too careful and if someone was speaking inappropriately to my child in English I would shut it down immediately but I can't do that if I don't understand what's being said.

    Anyway now he's offended and annoyed but I think this is my right as a mother and I would never let my family speak to our child in another language in front of DH without him knowing what's being said.

    Am I wrong? How would you feel?
    Umm to be quite honest I'd be offended as well. That language that has no real "value" to your child is part of it's heritage so I think it's important that he learn to speak his father's language as well as English. Don't get me wrong I think English should be the primary concern but I also think he should learn to speak his father's language as well.

    If you're so concerned about your child being able to speak a language you can't why don't you learn how to speak the language rather than it being forbidden for him to?

    On a side note I think its extremely rude that his family excludes you by refusing to speak English when you're around

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  13. #9
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    Witwicky is offline A closed mouth gathers no foot.
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    I think your child has an amazing opportunity that you should embrace.

    My niece's extended family all speak to her in their language so that she picks it up and learns it properly from a young age. Their goal is to not speak to her in English at all, as she can hear English everywhere else, thus it enhances her ability to pick up the other language. My sister is embracing this with open arms - it's a wonderful thing to know a second language, whether it's a "major" one or not.

    I wish my own children had this opportunity - I'm enrolling them in Alphatykes, but it's just not the same.

    I think you should accept this great opportunity!

  14. #10
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    Sounds like its going to happen whether you like it or not...so I see 2 rational choices:
    1. Make it your mission to learn at least SOME words. Maybe you could get your partner to help you by occasionally saying words in everyday life so you pick them up rather than long sentences which may be harder.
    2. Put up with not knowing what is being said to your child.


 

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