Google+ Raising a Trilingual Child: How to prepare yourself to be a speaking model for your child.


Monday, July 8, 2013

How to prepare yourself to be a speaking model for your child.

You are abroad and talking to your friends in your mother tongue. The first thing you realize is that the way you just constructed the sentence can not possibly fit the word you just intended to use in your language. Ideally you should rephrase everything again, but you just replace the mother tongue word with the English one or another one from some other language that you both know. Everyone understands, no sweat.

This situation and code switching in general cause no problem until you need to either work using your mother tongue, or  teach your child to speak your language and that language is a minority one.

Ok, you control yourself, the problem described does not exist anymore. However, you realize while you are talking to your child you almost always use diminutive forms of words. It is not a good idea to continue speaking like that either, especially if you are the ONLY language model / source for your child.

It was the hardest part for me: to get myself rid of the diminutive forms of words in Russian. It feels so natural to speak to my little one this way. The baby is so small, so cute... But! The fact is, the children learn speaking language from us and we need to provide a better modeling. So I started correcting myself by providing the full form of words every time I was catching myself using the diminutive form. It worked! By the time my child started speaking I was able to free myself from bad speaking habits. Please note I do not say you should not use diminutives at all. There are situations when their use is appropriate.  You should control yourself not to go on a spree of speaking with diminutive forms only.

Being a good speaking model is more important then we might think! It is not very easy to clear your language from words - fillers, diminutive forms of words and to just simply stick to one language if you live in multilingual environment.  BUT it is doable!

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You might also like reading:

 9 Steps of Raising a Bilingual Child Successfully. How to Start So You Don't Feel Giving It Up Halfway Through.

When to start reading to your bilingual child?

Should I correct my child speaking?

1 comment:

  1. This post hits a spot close to my heart right now. I was aware of the need to decrease the amount of cute words used in speaking to my daughter, but still used some. All was well until my husbamd went back to learning Polish and sortbof complained thaf he has to be careful not to start sounding cute.. Chcesz jogurcik? - Do you want a "baby-yoghurt", a phrase he keeps repeating for laughs, certaonly is not helping his case. I've been trying to catch myself using those forms of words but I need to focus on it more. Thank you for extra motivation.