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What language do your kids speak?

Muckle
post 15.Apr.2006, 05:43 PM
Post #1
Joined: 7.Sep.2005

Hello everyone.

I'm English, the missus is Swedish. Child on the way. Looking for some advice from people who've been in the same position, as I expect many Locallers have. The question is, what's the best linguistic combo for raising said child?

I suppose the options are:

1. English at home + Swedish at dagis/school
2. English from me + Swedish from missus + Swedish at dagis/school
3. Swedish at home + Swedish at school

What do other people do? Anyone with older children who would have done it another way? Some of the pros and cons are obvious but are there any hidden pitfalls?

Thanks in advance!
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Married To An Aussie
post 15.Apr.2006, 08:50 PM
Post #2
Joined: 4.Feb.2006

I'm Swedish and I'm married to an Australian and we have 3 kids.

The two oldest ones were born in the UK. I spoke Swedish to them most of the time when we lived there, my husband spoke English to them. The friends they played with there all spoke English and the oldest one went to an English speaking nursery. We moved to Sweden five years ago, the oldest one was then 4, the youngest 2 years old. Their Swedish was okay but a bit behind compared with native Swedish kids. Their English was really good at that stage.

We now have lived here for 5 years and had another child since. Now it's the opposite. They all speak Swedish as any other native child and they also speak English. At home we try to only speak English. (Well, have to admit I do tend to speak more Swedish than English to them unless we are gathered as the whole family.) My husband only speaks English to them, he still hasn't mastered Swedish... The kids English is okay but when we go to the UK and meet other native English speaking children, I can clearly see mine are "behind" on their English. Specially in writing and reading but sometimes when they speak English, it comes out in a Swedish kind of way. We can't get any English for the kids in school until year 4 here where we live so that's very disappointing and we find it a bit hard to keep up their English. I guess that's fine if we stay put here but we are thinking about going to live in Australia in a few years time. It does worry us that the kids English won't be up to date. Hope it won't be a problem. I guess it depends how old they are when/if we move.

Hope all goes well for you. Just try to keep both languages up. If you live in the Stockholm area there seem to be so much more choice, bilingual nurseries and schools and that would obviously be a great thing if you want your child to grow up being bilingual.
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*Crusader*
post 15.Apr.2006, 08:55 PM
Post #3


I only speak English.

She only speaks Swedish.

Little'un speaks both.

Be strict, stay strong. It'll be worth it in the long run.
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Jhen
post 15.Apr.2006, 09:07 PM
Post #4
Joined: 10.Dec.2005

use both language.thats the very best way to do.i have two children i speak with them in english and my husband aramaic + dagis swedish.my children learns 3 language at once and they understand the 3 languages.according to research,children will not be confuse,actually they will learn more fast.be strong with your english.children needs this languange badly maybe not now,but in the future.am not an english woman,i came from asia,but i learn english from my childhood till i graduate from college and it helps me so much.so am passing this to my children, and you should be proud that you speak english and teach your children english coz people in sweden are poor in english.some adults take course on this coz it is needed on their jobs, and vacation trips.remember,english is one of the universal languange which others are dying for to learn.
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*Wolfie*
post 15.Apr.2006, 09:16 PM
Post #5


4. English from me + Swedish from missus + English at dagis/school

If you can find an English language preschool/ school it's a godsend. When my daughter was attending a Swedish preschool, she was self concious about speaking English. She thought it was some daft thing that only I did. Now she goes to school with other English speakers, she has no problem. Even though the Swedish is dominant, she's pretty close to 50/50 bilingual.

I know an English bloke who did the Swedish at home + Swedish at school thing, so his kids ended up speaking English no better than your average Swede. Such a waste of an opportunity.
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Digweed
post 15.Apr.2006, 09:29 PM
Post #6
Joined: 9.Mar.2006

Well said, Jhen.

Indeed, I would say it is absolutely crucial for any child growing up in today's world to speak English most fluently. Of course, outside of Sweden, Swedish is a truly neglible language and so I would highly recommend that you make a strong priority of having your childrens command of English up to par.

The quality of English spoken among Swedes today is a joke. I believe they may even speak better in France...
If Sweden was as progressive as it purports to be, it would realize the merits of switching over to English, or at least instituting an official bilingual status. How many coming to partake in this multi-culti fantasy show up speaking Swedish and how many have some grasp of English?... provincial, provincial... That is another topic, anyway.

Good luck with the little ones!
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Edwardsson
post 15.Apr.2006, 10:11 PM
Post #7
Joined: 22.May.2005

Yes, speaking Swedish today is kinda like mainly focusing on Gailic in Wales. English is the futire -- well, maybe not in the USA as it seems there Spanish might be the future.
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*The Perp*
post 15.Apr.2006, 10:43 PM
Post #8


Test
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*The Perp*
post 15.Apr.2006, 11:47 PM
Post #9


Hi Muckle,
I?ve two kids (mother?s Swedish) and I only speak English to them. My advice? Never speak Swedish ? ever. Let the child?s mother and her family take care of his or hers Swedish-language needs. Immerse the kid in the English language through books, CDs and so on and mix with other ex-pats in a similar situation. Resist the temptation to use Swedish words when English ones will suffice. Would the child?s non-Swedish grandparents understand words like ?pappaledig?, ?dagis? or ?avgift?? No, thought not, so why do some of the ex-pat community insist on using them? To be cool? To show they can speak Swedish? God knows.

Digweed: Comment to you. Very easy to knock a European language like Swedish, isn?t it? But why should English be made an official language in Sweden, when ? get this ? Swedish isn?t? And as for the French speaking better English then the Swedes? No way, mon amis. The only other non-native speakers who speak better English than Scandinavians are the Dutch.

See? I?m impartial when it comes to both languages (perhaps because I?m not Swedish or English). But in case you?re thinking I?m a snobby git, listen up: I?ve been keeping an eye on this forum for a while and have been amazed at the amount of Swedish words people use. But now I?ve decided to run into a phone box and change into my Superman-language outfit. Why? The future, that?s why. How can we expect our kids to learn good English, if we ourselves use Swedish words in an English-language context? Enough?s enough.

And Edwardsson? Try saying what you wrote in north Wales ? they?d love you there.

Okay, people. The Perp?s arrived ? let?s get it on!
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Roowhip
post 16.Apr.2006, 12:20 AM
Post #10
Joined: 16.Sep.2005

QUOTE
I only speak English.
She only speaks Swedish.
Little'un speaks both.
Be strict, stay strong. It'll be worth it in the long run.


Crusader summed it up nicely- you should each speak your native langauge and there will be no problems with them learning both. However it is OK for you to use nouns in your non-native language such as "we are going to the Systembolaget now). But "staying strong" are the keywords, especially for younger children or children born here. It is perfectly normal for them to respond to you in Swedish but they will undertsand your english and eventually change to that with you (as long as you are persisitent).

Digweed, why exactly should Swedes make english their official language? I agree with Perp that only the Dutch surpass Swedes with english as a second language.


QUOTE
How can we expect our kids to learn good English, if we ourselves use Swedish words in an English-language context? Enough?s enough.

Bunch of baloney..don't agree with you here Perp..as I mentioned above, using nouns such as "dagis" in an english language context does not inhibit the child from learning good english whatsoever and a grandparent with half a brain can work out the context of a word or 2 thrown in or quite simply ask and learn...really what's the big deal??? Sometimes words cannot be directly translated (dagis is not excatly the same as daycare in Australia) and also once you have yourself become fluent in Swedish, you will find you sometimes can't remember the nouns. My parent in Australia use a few swedish nouns themselves now.
Main thing is not to get so hung up on language...gee some of the native english speakers on here are not so great anyway..we often don't understand each other :roll:
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*Billy*
post 16.Apr.2006, 03:52 AM
Post #11


Hi Muckle,

I'm an Aussie, She's a Swede. We have 2 kids. A girl 8, Born in Sweden, A boy 6, Born in Aus. Here's the deal. We lived here in '98 when the daughter was born and My wife only spoke Swedish to her and I spoke English. In '99 we moved back home to Australia and the daughter very quickly reverted to English. She was in a English enviroment, but the wife almost always spoke Swedish to her. She always understood Swedish, but very rarely replied in Swedish. You must remember, she was only born in may '98, so it was a little hard for her to respnd in Swedish, being in an English enviroment.(she was just learning to talk around that time anyway). 2000 saw the the little bloke come into the world. He only learned to speak English, but once again, the wife spoke Swedish to him almost all the time. He understood everything she said to him.

Come 2003, we decided to move back to Sweden. It took us nearly 5 months to get a Dagis/Daycare. During that time the kids were home with the wife and of course, they picked up a little Swedish. It wasn't untill that they were actually in dagis, that they started to respond in Swedish. After only 2 months in the dagis...you guessed it. It was ALL Swedish. I still spoke English to them the whole time. It became really frustrating for me as my Swedish wasn't all that good as well. But we got by. By 2005, The little feller didn't speak any English at all, and refused to for that matter. This really worried me, but i came up with a solution that worked really well. In April 2005, I took both kids home to Australia for 6 weeks on a holiday. Mum stayed here. Only after 2 weeks at home, the boy was FLUENT in English again. The daughter never had a problem switching between the 2 languages. She was older and learned quickly. To be honest with you, I was more worried about them loosing their "Aussie" accent. laugh.gif

My point to you is simple really. Don't worry!. Your kids will be fine. You speak English, She Swedish. They will do the rest. It is a well known fact that bi-lingual children take a little longer to speak altogether, but because they are children, they are capable of doing the two. Their brains are craving for knowledge it will become natural for them. It worked for my 2 wonderful kids.(I'm allowed to say that, cause i'm their dad) laugh.gif

Oh, I almost forgot. If you live in the Stockholm area, There is a number of English speaking dagis here as well as schools.. As for learning English in School...Speak to your school principle. They Swedish school system has a program called "ModersmÄl" where your children can start English classes once a week from the first year at school. My Kids do that.
Remember it's every childs RIGHT, and god knows we live in a country all about rights. Right?

Best of luck my friend,

Billy
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Roowhip
post 16.Apr.2006, 09:11 AM
Post #12
Joined: 16.Sep.2005

QUOTE
The little feller didn't speak any English at all, and refused to for that matter. This really worried me, but i came up with a solution that worked really well. In April 2005, I took both kids home to Australia for 6 weeks on a holiday. Mum stayed here. Only after 2 weeks at home, the boy was FLUENT in English again


Great post Billy- this is what I'm saying too. As long as each parent keeps to their respective language, the children will learn both languages with no problem. However the common mistake I have seen with english speaking parents here is that a parent resorts to Swedish when they don't see their child responding in english; if you want your child to be billingual don't do this as the child will understand what you are saying and as Billy mentioned, just a few weeks in an english speaking environment and they will be speaking english fluently.
My almost 5 year old son responds mostly in Swedish to me with a bit of english thrown in (he knows I can understand swedish ) but when my family from Australia were here last year he spoke english with them -it was a bit broken as he was little but after a few weeks he was quite comfortable with it.
My daughter who was almost 3 when we arrived here has always spoken english with me and like with Billys children, it took only a couple of months after her starting dagis to be fluent in Swedish.
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Rachel F
post 16.Apr.2006, 01:08 PM
Post #13
Joined: 12.Oct.2005

Both my husband and I are native English speakers but with my younger two children I made the decision to have them in the Swedish system, mainly because I wanted us the children to actually 'live' here as opposed to exist on the periphery as ex pats.

My son was nearly three when he started dagis and it took about six months for him to learn to speak Swedish. He did have some extra help but now I'm told that he is just as good at speaking and comprehension as his peers. He speaks Swedish at dagis and English at home and doesn't tend to confuse the languages. My little daughter however who is nearly two, tends to favour Swedish which is quite interesting or says both words at the same time...mainly ' byse poo.'!

It probably works best in families where parents speak whichever language they're most comfortable with in the home to their children and not too much of a deal is made of the whole bilingual/ trilingual thing. I've know children speak three languages without any problem at all but likewise I've known children from bilingual families who are in effect mute until the age of about 7...they understand both languages but can't communicate in either for for these childen it does seem a bit unfair.
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Beth
post 16.Apr.2006, 03:08 PM
Post #14
Joined: 15.Sep.2004

QUOTE (KatieA)
It probably works best in families where parents speak whichever language they're most comfortable with in the home to their children


i fully agree. we have spoken english exclusively at home since i moved here. when our child was born the swedish hubby tried to speak swedish to him...and found it totally unnatural. home language is so much more naturally english for him. so home is 100% english

daddy's language to child is also english...even among swedes. we just got back from a big easter overnight event where everyone but me was swedish. the hubby still spoke english (without reflection) to our son whenever it was a one-on-one situation.

with our son at swedish dagis, he's got both languages. in the long run i'd like for him to have more english at school too, but we'll cross that linguistic bridge when we get there.
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David Taylor
post 16.Apr.2006, 04:28 PM
Post #15
Joined: 14.Nov.2005

Doggy language.
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