Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Variations on Minority Language at Home

The purist will say that MLAH means that when the child is with one (or both) parents, the minority language will be spoken. Surely that's an option, but can we be more flexible? I'll be honest--speaking in Spanish all day, every day gives me a headache!

Brainstorming with Oscar, we thought of a few different ways we could implement MLAH:

1. The above mentioned "strict" approach--anytime we speak with our kids, it will be in Spanish.

2. Like my mom's family, we could take to heart the "at home" part--speaking Spanish inside the house--but once we step outside that door, we are in English.

3. We could base the language on the environment and company we keep. For example, generally when we are together--Spanish. However, if we are with American friends (even in our home)--English. If we are visiting Spain--Spanish. At my parents house--English. At school--English. etc.

4. We could also vary our approach based on age. While they are still babies, we will primarily speak to them in Spanish. However, as they get older, we could speak to them more in English, still depending on where we are, who we are with, etc. At this point, we would also need to "immerse" them in Spanish for periods of time (i.e. visiting their abuelos, Spanish school/extracurriculars, etc.) to make sure they maintain the Spanish.

Right now, our favorite option so far is a combo of #3 and #4.

In preparation for my deadline of Victor's first birthday (9 days and counting!), I have been trying to speak to him primarily in Spanish, especially while we are in the house. I slip a bit, mostly in the late afternoon/evening when I'm tired, but I'm hoping it will become more automatic and natural. Keep your fingers crossed!

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