Shaking with jealousy right now ;-)
So, my mother just gave birth to a second child three days ago (yes, they were pretty young when they had me) and have finally decided to teach her their native languages so she could be trilingual. My mother is Norwegian and my father was born in Poland but also fluently speaks French because he went to boarding school there growing up. They're still deciding on whether to teach her Norwegian and Polish, or Norwegian and French. Personally, I decided on the latter, but my father insists on Polish. My mother, well, she honestly doesn't care. Just so long she gets her Norwegian into little Adriana.
I will be forever angry that they never spoke to me in their native languages growing up. Every single time I perform horrendously in French class, I blame them ;-)
I can already foresee the days when Adriana taunts me in Polish or French or Norwegian, and I have absolutely no idea what she's saying.
Such a lucky girl.
Well don't worry, now with Duolingo you can speak more languages than both your parents as Norwegian and Polish will become available soon and you can practice your French. Never be jealous as sometimes we are in the situations that we are in due to Luck. Just be lucky you found Duolingo as many don't know about this site and have to pay so much money to learn other languages. So consider yourself Lucky along with the rest of us.
Yeah I wouldn't count on Polish coming out within the next decade, but wishful thinking is always the way to go! :)
Yeah, and also remember, never let your little sister know about Duolingo, cause then she may learn even more languages. :)
Unless, of course, you're a really nice sibling. :D
We need to figure out the best way to teach babies multiple languages from birth. My guess would be to interact with the baby in all the languages at once, one after another "Do you want milk? ¿Quieres leche? Voulez-vous le lait?" to teach them multiple ways of saying the same thing. But I'll ask my friend who has two multilingual kids what she thinks. Her oldest is in first or second grade, I think, and speaks English, Czech, Slovak and maybe more. They live in Prague.
http://www.multilingualchildren.org/getting_started/myths.html Here's a list of common myths about raising multilingual babies. Very interesting!
I don't have personal experience, but what I've heard is that most families that have a lot of success with it tend to have different individuals speak to the child in different languages. Maybe Mom speaks English, Dad speaks French, and on the occasions that they visit family, Grandma speaks Norwegian (or whatever, just pulling languages out of a hat for the sake of example).
Supposedly children can cope well with figuring out that they need to speak different languages to different people or in different contexts, but even young children who are pretty strongly bilingual will often show signs of being very frustrated and upset if an adult who normally speaks one language starts speaking another. Letting them tie a particular individual to a particular language, in this theory, seems to allow the kids to clearly differentiate the languages from each other, where one person just repeating things in several languages risks turning into a muddle where it's difficult to figure out what's going on.
This reminds me of a news article I read not too long ago. I live in southern US, Texas, where many Mexican parents are choosing to forbid their young (4-5yrs) bilingual children from speaking Spanish when registering for kindergarten for the first time, and the parent will write off that the child only speaks english. Apparently the schools have been placing bilingual children in the "disadvantaged" classes, normally reserved for students with either developmental or language problems. They hear a child switch back and forth while he talks and automatically assume he can't speak well enough to be in a regular class. A rather sad situation.
Wow, that really is awful. There's probably a bit element of veiled racism and protectionism in it (ie the belief that "any child who can speak Spanish doesn't belong here, and shouldn't be allowed to be in the better classes taking time away from the real americans.")
as a child who also didnt get taught her mother's native language, i feel for you. i didnt want that to happen to my daughter so when she started kindergarten last september it was in a french school. my 2nd will be born later this year and he or she is gonna get the same benefit.
Oh wow XD that stinks, we teenage language enthusiast got to do all the word XD!
This reminds me of a sad conversation I overheard where a husband was making fun of his wife for picking out a bilingual book (English and Spanish) for their child. I'm in no way implying that your parents were like this, but I just had to put it out there
At least your parents even had languages to teach you. My parents are monolingual and havent learned any other languages or had the interest that I do.
But look at your situation this way, since they were so young when they had you they probably were more focused on surviving and keeping the family afloat. Now they can dedicate time to raise their child in their languages and if I were you, I would ask them if you could also be taught. I'm sure they'd love to and by the time your sister can hold a real conversation you'll be ready for her!
My mom also didn't teach me her native language (spanish). However, she also didn't teach it to my sister, so I guess in my twisted teenage mind that makes it better!
You and Adriana can learn languages on duolingo that your parents don't know, and have secrets together. =D
Why not ask your parents to talk to you in their language(s)? I'm sure they'd be happy to.
Once Polish and Norwegian are available, become proficient in them from Duolingo and then practice them with your parents for fluency. You might not end up learning them as well as your sister, but you'll come pretty close at least.
Ahh, I kind of have the same problem. My parents taught me Farsi when I was little, but never taught me Persian script, and I still don't know it.
My family just speaks English at the house, but I've always been incredibly interested in travel and language- Duo's helped me a bit with that need. ;) In all honesty, though, I'm also a bit jealous of her xD
She's very lucky, I was raised with my parents' native language (French) and the language spoken where I live (Hebrew). when I was only six I started learning English, so I was kind of raised with three languages, and I am so grateful! BTW congratulations for your new baby sister!
One of my cousins speaks very fluent French (she teaches French and Geography, and once started to teach a Geography lesson in French without realising 8-o) and her kids are similarly mad with her that she didn't raise them billingually!
It's a shame, it seems such a waste. I can imagine being jealous of your sister, but I am glad for her (and hope you are too!) that your parents have realised that it's better to give a child that start.
If this was me I would seriously have a hard time to feel glad for my sibling lol... all that jealousy would take over. WHY NOT ME?! I don't know how old you are and if you still live at home, but maybe if they speak it to the newborn constantly you could be there in the process to learn too. ;) A little bit older but hey, they say that it's never too late!
Hahaha, congrats on your little sister! =) Now you have all the more reason to learn all three before she gets really good at 'em. (I mean, you can get like a 2-year head start on her if you begin now, right?) ;)
I feel really bad for you. :( It's usually the other way around (the older child gets to learn the language, but the younger one doesn't). At least, that's the case for my friend who speaks bilingual English and Cantonese, but his brother only speaks English. Why didn't your parents teach you their languages when you were younger? Anyways, apart from that, congrats on having a new sister!
I have the same problem in my family. My mom speaks fluent Ukrainian, since all her family speaks it. None of us speak it, by that i mean, me and my close cousins. And it's really sad, because you loose so many things.
But I've decided to my mom and my grandmother a surprise and learn Ukrainian with Assimil for a year. Let's see what's going to happen.. =)
Haha. There is no guarantee that their plan will work. Even if they themselves follow though with the plan by speaking only in their mother tongues with your new sister, she may still reject their languages when she starts integrating into the society in which you live. I have seen this happen too many times. If your parents are too pushy or critical in their attempts to educate your sister in their languages, she may reject them on an emotional level. Often parents don't understand that a young person needs a whole community speaking a language with them in order for the child to achieve fluency. Just having parents talk to them in the language is not enough, although it can be a good start. The task that they are taking on is big. I wish them luck. It may not be as easy as they think and you fear.