Monday, March 8, 2010

Which language do I speak?

Spanglish, Spantian, or Crolish?

I'm not an expert on linguistics and I hope I'm not doing more damage than good by introducing all 3 languages at once (Spanish, Croatian and English) but I have heard that babies are like sponges, they will absorb everything.

I did some research about multilingualism and I found a fascinating website, Spanglishbaby ,"the place to ask and get personal advice and honest answers to all those conflicting opinions out there about raising bilingual kids." Here I found a link to Simona Montanari , an expert on early multilingual development, and this is what she had to say about teaching your child more than one language " ...decades of research have shown that children’s brains have all the capacities necessary to cope with and fully master two or more languages if they are given the opportunity to hear and practice these languages on an everyday basis. The idea of confusion in bilingual children is really a myth, an old belief prevalent in monolingual countries that has almost become political."

So hey maybe I'm doing something right? With the exception of my Spanglish!

We are just combining all 3 languages in hopes that as she gets older she will know the difference. For now we are using words that are easier for her to pronounce, for example Elephant is too long, instead we say slon. Of course as she gets older I will speak to her only in Spanish, my Hubby in Croatian and she will have exposure to English in school.

Just to give you an idea of my daily conversations with Beli (22 months old), it goes something like this:

Me: Good Morning Beli.

Beli: Goo-Moneen Mama.

Me: Dile good morning a Daddy.....(tell Daddy good morning)

Beli:Goo-Moneen Daddy.

Me: Como durmio my muneca?....(how did my doll sleep?)

Beli: Mama dai ruka!...............(Mama give me your hand!)

Me: Dojee Beli wait for Mama.....(Come here Beli, wait for Mama)

Me:Dame los shoes.....................(Give me the shoes)

Beli: Dai shoes Mama.................(Give you the shoes Mama)

Me: Quieres pintar en el book?.........(Do you want to color on the book?)

Beli: Book? dai colors Mama! ...........(Book?, give colors Mama!)

Me: Mira!..mali pas..............................(Look, a small dog)

She really amazes me because when I ask her in Spanish to tell me the body parts she answers in Croatian! I think it's because Spanish is the minority language and Croatian the majority( at least for now that we are living here). I'm not too worried about teaching her English, although she does get the exposure from hearing Hubby and I speak. How about you, do you mix languages at home or use one of these methods OPOL, T &P or mL&H?


  1. This is interesting.

    I always wonder how my future children will cope with three languages.

    I guess you just have to make sure to stick with it and expose children to all languages equally.

    btw she's sooo cute!

  2. It's a working process for us. But don't underestimate kids, Beli surprises us every day. You too will find the best method. For now, for us, it's a mixing game!

  3. Thanks for linking to us, Elisa. It´s fascinating that your daughter can learn these three languages, so unfamiliar to each other, at an early age. What a great advantage for her!

  4. how amazing that your child can learn three languages at once! :)

  5. that is so awesome!! what a great gift to give your daughter - language skills!

    my nieces learned Japanese and English while they were stationed overseas (marines). And they were able to decipher the two pretty well. They are seven and eight years old now.

  6. Ana,I felt that your site is a wonderful tool for many parents out there wondering about raising a bi-cultural child. So glad I found your link.

  7. tinypaperheart,
    She is a lucky kid. Hopefully we won't confuse her too much.=)

  8. Thank you for the comment. Oh yes do share :) I might post the recipe, but I kind of made it up and would have to experiment.

  9. hey Jodi! It's reassuring to hear your nieces learned both languages (2 very different languages)

    Have a fun and safe trip.

  10. how fun to find your blog. I raise my kid in english and portuguese - from Brasil and so far she gets both. thx for the website tip. lots of great info!

  11. Well, Elisa, whatever language or mixture she speaks, she is adorable doing it! You might find my blog update today of value. And, I'd like you pass along the information. I think it is so important that new parents know about CHDs. Thanks a bunch and keep talking to that little cutie!


  12. Great article. I need to work on my Spanish so I can make my future little one bilingual. I've got a ways to go though. Beli is very lucky.

  13. Hi Thais, thanks for visiting and stop by again. Glad you found the website helpful, lots of great tips.

  14. @Dandelionkisses you welcome, the cake looks very yummy!

  15. that's too funny! what an awesome mix of all three languages.

    thanks for your sweet comments! I couldn't figure out who I lost either... I'm glad you have you along now! :)

  16. I am so proud of you for doing that!

  17. My husband and I speak a funny version of English and Croatian to each other sometimes. One of the things we do is add '-irate' to English verbs, because he thinks all he needs to speak Croatian is to add '-irati' to English words. Sometimes it works, like check + irati = chekirati (as in check in bags at the airports), but usually not. :) Unfortunately, the English 'check' suffered along the way and became 'checkirate'!

    God help any future kids - whatever will they end up speaking? :D

  18. Jen and @petite_paloma thanks for your nice comments!

  19. Maninas, that is too funny! Sometimes at school when learning new words I say "oh that sounds very much like a word in spanish", then I get confused even more!" we have a word we converted from english to spanish: parkeate. (to park) insted of estacionarte.

  20. What a coincidence! I am reading a book called 'Multiinguals are...?' which I will be reviewing when I come back from holidays. It is very good, not only because they feature me by the way, but the book is really good. What you're doing is the way to go. Teach your daughter the three languages, it will not affect her development at all. In fact it will enhance other skills such as: Maths, arts and even playing chess (believe me! Both my children play chess and my son's beaten me once). What you're doing is priceless and your daughter will really appreciate it when she grows up.

    Many thanks for such a fab post. Long live multilinguals!

    Greetings from London.

    PS: And yes, I feel jealous that I cannot speak Croatian. :-)

  21. Hey Cuban I would like to know about this book. How exciting that you were mentioned in it.As a parent it's very comforting to hear these words of encouragement, thank you.

  22. Hola amore! It is amazing how Beli is absorbing everything. I just saw her youtube video counting to 10 in the 3 languages. Her auntie is so proud. I agree with A Cuban in London about children excelling in math and other skills. We are seeing it with Ethan everyday. He is in 1st grade and has 3rd grade math skills and he is reading in both english and spanish. Keep it up.
    Love you sis.

  23. That is so cool! Keep it up! I am constantly regretful that my mom listened to my temper tantrums and stopped raising me bilingual.

  24. Hey Lily, She is always amazing me. I do hope she turns out to enjoy reading as much as we did, remember how we read over the summers? see you soon!!!!!!!

  25. Oh I'm sorry to hear that! what was your second language?

  26. That's so refreshingly honest and funny! I usually hear stern warnings not to mix languages, and I'm a terrible culprit at doing so, especially as I'm trying to raise my son bilingually in a non-native language (German) and often just don't know the word I want to say!

    We tend to do time & place, I guess it is, because I wanted freedom to speak English on some days. So Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are (supposed to be) strict German-only days (for me; my husband speaks only English), and the other days I get to decide as I go. :) And my son goes to German preschool Tues & Thurs, so he gets input most days.

    I know when I lived in Berlin in junior high that we often spoke what we called Genglish, a fun mixture of whatever we felt like saying in either language. We absolutely knew that the languages were separate and could speak them properly if needed to, but it was peaceful and enjoyable to mix!


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