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Raising Bilingual Children - English Spanish.

Welcome and introduction to this series of articles.

Latest update 11 June 2014: analysing grammatical morpheme development in bilingual children...

Date of writing: 29th July 2012.
Age of subject: 3 years and 1 month.

These articles are being written by a father, language teacher and researcher who finds himself in the unique, gratifying and yet frustrating situation of trying to raise his child to be bilingual in English and Spanish.

Picture of Carmen

Help forum for parents of English Spanish bilingual children.

Before talking about my own efforts at raising a bilingual child in Spanish and English. I should like to point you towards our forum, which has been working successfully now for some time and where you can express your concerns and ask questions. Other parents in a similar situation can offer their own advice and share their experiences with you (in English or Spanish). I too, as a parent, English teacher and language researcher will do my best to comment and guide you in your efforts with raising your bilingual child. Visit here forum for parents of bilingual English Spanish children...

My personal background as a parent.

I live and work in Seville, Spain. I have been a teacher of English to Spanish children and adults for some fifteen years: in schools, academies and businesses. I considered myself successful at language teaching due to years of study and classroom experience. And then my daughter, Carmen, came along! Since then I have been striving to understand which approach and techniques are the most appropriate so that she will pick up at least her mother's tongue (Spanish) and my own (English). It hasn't been and it still isn't easy.

I have a degree in Spanish and a Phd minor in second language acquisition in adults using new technologies. I'm now writing my Phd thesis on second language acquisition in children and teaching methodology. I'm deeply interested in bilingual development both as a concerned parent and a diehard language professional who is always asking himself how do we learn languages anyway!

The aims of these articles on bilingual development.

The purpose of these articles, which I feel inspired and eager to write, is to share experiences with other parents in a relatively similar (but by no means identical) linguistic and domestic situation and who are anxious to "get it right" from the beginning.

Variables in family background.

I understand that no two situations are alike, however. Do both parents speak both languages at home? Can they? Do they want to? Are one or both (or neither of) the parents native speakers of the second language? Does the child have brothers and sisters who might influence bilingual development in some way? What about friends and family nearby who also speak (or don't speak) the second language and could influence language input?

Family background for this bilingual child study.

I'll start by explaining my own situation. I am English by nationality. I speak Spanish but with my accent that continually waves the Union Jack over my head. I live in Seville, Spain and am married to my wife, who is Spanish. My wife is not a keen learner of English and her language level still hasn't reached a competent conversational level (but we're working on it!). We both work so neither of us are at home all day. Spanish monolingual grandparents and a babysitter take over the care of our daughter, Carmen in our absence. Carmen has just turned three years old. She started morning nursery with other Spanish children at two years and three months. Since Carmen was born I have spoken only English when talking to her directly. My wife speaks mainly Spanish to her with occasional English phrases and words thrown in. My wife and I usually speak Spanish together and also in the presence of Carmen. And that's the background!

Articles on bilingual development over a number of years.

I'll be adding new articles over a period of time and while Carmen continues to develop, hopefully, her bilingual skills in Spanish and English. These articles are not written on a blog site. They make up part of my site English Spanish Link, which I originally created to offer materials for my students of English and Spanish. Instead of a blog, I offer a forum. I hope readers will like to contribute ideas, experiences, tips, (and, of course, frustrations) at this meeting place. I feel a forum offers better tools for on-going discussion than a blog layout.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Mike.

Next article: The bilingual child and language...

 

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