How can we maintain bilingual balance?
It has already started. She hasn’t even entered Kindergarten yet and she is already speaking more English than Spanish. All of a sudden my house is full of English. I find myself thinking more in English, and now that both my wife and my daughter understand it perfectly I end up speaking English rather than re-thinking and speaking in Spanish.
I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, it’s amazing that all three of us are almost fully functional in both languages and that we are constantly code-switching without skipping a beat. My concern is how to maintain balance between her two languages now that she is getting ready to go to Kindergarten (and even more so if we put her in French Immersion) and how to maintain her fluency in our home language.
Her Spanish is still stronger, even though there’s some English dominance in her speech
She still says funny things in English like bics (for because) beturn to (for turn into – I have no idea where this came from) win (for with). And her Spanish ‘r’ sound is changing too – but don’t worry she still says “noruz” instead of nariz. She directly translates Spanish to English when she says “nothing happens” (no pasa nada) and “put attention” (poner atención) and she says “fronthead” instead of forehead (from frente). If she goes to school in English I’m sure that those things will be corrected quickly, however if she goes to French Immersion I will need to consciously speak to her only in English. I hope it’s not too late to start the OPOL (One Parent One Language) method.
My wife is starting English class
Now that my wife and daughter have been given permanent residence and can stay in Canada (hurray!), my wife is able to start taking free English class. We are both very excited about this, because even though her English has improved drastically in the two years that we’ve been living in Canada, she still has a number of things to work on and I think she’s tired of me correcting her, well we are all tired of it actually.
Don’t worry, we won’t give up on bilingualism
Even though it feels like English is starting to become dominant in our family we are committed to maintaining fluency in both languages. I know that temporary English dominance is a common phenomenon and I have read about it from a number of other mami bloggers like these ones: “Why Consistency and Repetition Are Key for Bilingual Kids” and “3 Tips to Avoid Giving Up on Spanish”.
Let the bilingual adventures continue!