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The Local _ Family _ What language do your kids speak?

Posted by: Muckle 15.Apr.2006, 05:43 PM

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!

Posted by: Married To An Aussie 15.Apr.2006, 08:50 PM

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.

Posted by: Guest 15.Apr.2006, 08:55 PM

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.

Posted by: Jhen 15.Apr.2006, 09:07 PM

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.

Posted by: Guest 15.Apr.2006, 09:16 PM

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.

Posted by: Digweed 15.Apr.2006, 09:29 PM

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!

Posted by: Edwardsson 15.Apr.2006, 10:11 PM

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.

Posted by: Guest 15.Apr.2006, 10:43 PM

Test

Posted by: Guest 15.Apr.2006, 11:47 PM

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!

Posted by: Roowhip 16.Apr.2006, 12:20 AM

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:

Posted by: Guest 16.Apr.2006, 03:52 AM

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 "Modersmål" 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

Posted by: Roowhip 16.Apr.2006, 09:11 AM

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.

Posted by: Rachel F 16.Apr.2006, 01:08 PM

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.

Posted by: Beth 16.Apr.2006, 03:08 PM

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.

Posted by: David Taylor 16.Apr.2006, 04:28 PM

Doggy language.

Posted by: Beth 16.Apr.2006, 04:40 PM

funnily enough, i used to speak to dogs in hungarian laugh.gif

Posted by: Guest 16.Apr.2006, 06:01 PM

My dog speaks American. I keep telling him this is going to be an issue and he needs to start saying "vov" stat, but he just rolls his eyes and licks me.

Posted by: Beth 16.Apr.2006, 06:45 PM

yet another arrogant american immigrant who thinks it's ok to come to sweden and not bother learning the language...then he's going to complain that the rest of the dogs in the neighborhood are too cold to get to know, won't talk to him, sniff a funny way and sit at home just collected dog biscuts...

and to boot he's a svartskalle...svartrygg, svartallt :twisted:

Posted by: David Taylor 16.Apr.2006, 07:00 PM

well my girls are Swedish you know so they are very happy here in there world where everyone is right. Even when they run off they feel they are in the right.

Posted by: Irish_Bog 16.Apr.2006, 08:03 PM

Let me add my vote to the "speak your own language" movement.

I'm Irish, my wife Swedish. To our kids (4 and 2) I speak English and my wife Swedish.
To each other it's a mix, probably 70% English.

I think it's vital that our kids only have correct language spoken to them, so
that they don't get bad Swedish from me, or slightly incorrect (careful careful)
English from my wife.

My oldest mainly speaks Swedish back to me but that's OK. When my mother
came over, the speed with which he started using English with her made
it all seem worthwhile. He speaks with a Swedish accent but you can't
have everything...

P.S. I am guilty of the "eat your korv, we need to go to the dagis" :-(
Though to be honest it's only about 10-15 words that I do this with.

Posted by: Roowhip 16.Apr.2006, 08:44 PM

QUOTE
I think it's vital that our kids only have correct language spoken to them, so
that they don't get bad Swedish from me, or slightly incorrect (careful careful)
English from my wife.


Irish_bog, I spoke to a language expert in Aus and what you say above is the reason he gave that you should speak your native language with your child.

QUOTE
P.S. I am guilty of the "eat your korv, we need to go to the dagis"

lol..I am guity too but it's not a problem, especially with nouns. I mean, "I'm going to get some wine from the systembolaget" wouldn't have the same meaning if I said bottleshop-an Aussie bottleshop is not a "translation"for systembolaget laugh.gif laugh.gif

Posted by: Leonard 16.Apr.2006, 09:33 PM

The quality of English spoken among Swedes today is a joke. I believe they may even speak better in France...


Someone is a joke. The level of English in Sweden among people under 40 is truely amazing. I think if your kids grow up in Sweden they will speak English and Swedish fluently regardless if you speak Japanese at home. Most people i have met here speak perfect English and Swedish and most are speaking some at Spanish, French and German. Amazing!

Posted by: Benzed 17.Apr.2006, 04:18 AM

This is one of the most interesting topics I`ve read on here. Which...isn`t saying much obviously! But I think about this subject strangely often the longer I`m away from home, when considering "the future". Some people think of spaceships and robots doing their laundry for them, while I focus more on the need to actually marry a foreign lass and raise bilingual children. The worst thing about New Zealand in my opinion, is the utter lack of linguistic focus in schools... though that is changing now, to bloody Cantonese or Japanese :roll:

My father was a language teacher, and the way his European language subjects have faded off the schooling map back home and been replaced because we now "want the country to become part of Asia" seriously aggrieves me.

The best looking girlfriend I had was Scottish (I know that sounds ridiculous - no ginger hair or freckles in sight, I swear) ) , but what could she have offered our children aside from terms like haggis, skag, and some moderately clever words for vagina and whiskey. Great.

Posted by: Muckle 17.Apr.2006, 08:31 AM

Wow! A hopeful post on a slow Easter Saturday - and suddenly I have more helpful responses than I ever expected. Superb - thanks to all of you.

All of the above confirms the speak-two-languages thing, but I was surprised how many of you said that it's purely English at home. Beth (and others), we're like you - English is the home language and even the missus feels uncomfortable speaking Swedish at home.

But my concern was that if we're both speaking English at home, life might be a tad difficult for the child when it (don't know the sex yet) goes to dagis/school. Isn't it better if the child can communicate in the language the other kids use? (Although I suppose if dagis begins at 18 months, deep conversation isn't really what it's all about.) I just don't want our language situation to make things harder.

School's a LONG way off but thanks for the tip about "Modersmål", Billy - had no idea about that. Also, as you did, I think the time spent in the English-language country (conveniently, England, in my case) is going to be very important.

The one thing I disagree with is the comment that Swedes are rubbish at English. There's quite a variation - which I've noticed the longer I've been here - but in general I have nothing but respect for Swedes' ability with English.

Thanks again, everyone.

Posted by: Beth 17.Apr.2006, 09:59 AM

QUOTE (Muckle)
But my concern was that if we're both speaking English at home, life might be a tad difficult for the child when it (don't know the sex yet) goes to dagis/school. Isn't it better if the child can communicate in the language the other kids use? (Although I suppose if dagis begins at 18 months, deep conversation isn't really what it's all about.) I just don't want our language situation to make things harder.


i can't say whether our child had it more difficult or just the same. he easily adjusted, loved being among the other kids...he would have copied any kid regardless of language.

besides, when he started (17 months) he didn't say anything except for CAR. and now all the dagis kids know some English :wink:

Posted by: Married To An Aussie 17.Apr.2006, 11:30 AM

QUOTE (Billy)
As for learning English in School...Speak to your school principle. They Swedish school system has a program called "Modersmål" 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?


Even though it's every child's RIGHT to get Modersmål, everyone DOESN'T get it.
I believed my children would have the right to it but when they started school we were told it's up to each kommun what rules they have. In the kommun where we live, there need to be at least 5 children who require English as modersmål. The last two years there haven't been enough applicants so my kids don't get it. Very disappointing. So, I think you should check what rules your kommun have on modersmål. I took it for granted that my kids would get it when we moved to Sweden and here we are with no modersmål for the kids. sad.gif

Posted by: Guest 17.Apr.2006, 11:31 AM

Hey to everyone!
I would like to put my 2 cents in! My children are grown up now and live in Australia and I live permanantly here in Sweden. I lived most of my life in Australia so English is my native language. I was born in Sweden but can speak only enough to make myself understood if I need to. My family here speak both English and Swedish to me, 70% English and 30% Swedish.
My point is if I were to have children here they would be fluent in Swedish and English. I think English is the most important to learn as you can almost always find someone that will understand some English. I have found that you cannot learn English here properly as the the teachers are not native speakers and tend to lean towards a Swedish/English accent.
At SFI I am the only native English speaker out 150 pupils so sometimes the teachers ask me to take their English classes for them so their students can here first hand how the language is spoken properly. I must admit I have a lot of fun doing this and the students like to here me speak.
I think a lot has to do with my aussie accent which I still have apparently, I have been told that listening to me is like listening to "crocodile dundee" with out the hat.
What ever you decide for your children make sure that they are fluent in English because nearly all international company's only use English to converse in, so if they are to have every job opportunity this is a must!!!!!
If you are lucky enough to have both a fluent English and Swedish speaker in the household you have the best of both worlds and your children will only prosper from it. Be carefull to constantly correct your childrens mistakes, as I did with mine. To speak English incorrectly is the mark of an un-educated person and can often be why some people are employed and some aren't.
My advice is too teach both and to do it properly!!!!!!

Posted by: Guest 17.Apr.2006, 06:35 PM

Here's what we did on the other side of the pond...

My husband is Swedish and I have never lived there. When my kids were born I had taken some Swedish classes but my reading was much better than my spoken language. Husband and I spoke primarily English at home, with a few Swedish words thrown in.

We decided that since there were really no other opportunities for them to learn Swedish other than at home, we would speak as much Swedish as possible with them. My husband spoke (and continues to speak) exclusively Swedish with them both inside and outside the home (even in situations of "mixed company" where there are non-Swedish speakers present -- we or the kids just translate as needed). I speak a mixture of Swedish and English. My theory is that we have been learning together, and my own Swedish has improved dramatically. I have never worried much about teaching them the wrong thing in Swedish as I can look things up or call my in-laws, or my husband will correct me -- and now my kids correct me more often than he does. laugh.gif

My husband has been a stickler about Swedish only and it has paid off big time. Now we are lucky enough to have the kids in a Swedish school on Saturdays and they are among the most fluent ones there.

If the situation were reversed and we moved to Sweden, I'm sure that I would speak mostly English with them in the home so they would not lose their ability in English.

It's been interesting. We had periods where my daughter would refuse to speak Swedish at all. She understood everything her father said, but would answer in English. We've just finished a period where both kids would not speak Swedish to ME even if I spoke it with them.

Honestly I think the best advice from my point of view is to bombard the child with as much of the non-country language as possible, since they will get the native language everywhere around them. Try to be mellow about it and not freak out if you feel like you're having a setback. Be consistent with whatever method you choose and eventually they will catch on.

Lycka till!

Posted by: Guest 18.Apr.2006, 09:02 AM

Sorry Roowhip, but you?re missing the point ? and you?re in denial. There?s nothing wrong with referring to specific Swedish nouns and terms such as ?Systembolaget?, ?Strycktipset?, or ?Melodifestival? as these are actual names (although I know a few die-hards who say ?off-licence?, ?the pools? or ?Eurovision heats?). English has even taken in Swedish words like smorgasbord and ombudsman but ?dagis?? Don?t think so.

Nursery, daycare, playgroup ? take your pick. Ever heard of the term ?first-language attrition? (which is when your native language gets worse while your second/third language improves)? It happens to us all and it?s a natural part of learning a language, but the way to stop the rot is to see how many Swedish words you use when good English ones will do.

You say the ?main thing is not to get so hung up on language?. I agree, but up to a point. Language ? like it or not ? is a part of what defines us and our kids. Baloney? No, just common sense.

Posted by: Mike 18.Apr.2006, 11:53 AM

QUOTE (Sound Of Confusion)
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.


That's what we do too. None of this flip-flopping crap. One parent always speaks one language, and the other always speaks the other. It keeps the little ones from getting confused.

Posted by: Mightymouse 18.Apr.2006, 12:09 PM

My 2 cents: I have a son born in Australia he moved here at 2 years old and never spoke a word of Swedish until he moved into the Swedish system at 6. (He was at an english 'dagis' and then school before that) He moved to a Swedish school at 6 is now 7 and speaks fluent Swedsih.

My daughter was born here. Both her father and I are native english speakers so she got her swedish training at dagis. She now understands both languages, but speaks mainly Swedish, but will translate for me when I'm not listening well enough for her liking.

I use Swedish words when they suit me and I let my kids know the english words for them as needed, my son's grammar is declining into Swedish grammar now, but its no worse than the grammar I have heard in Australia, on occasion, from Adults so I'm sure he will survive.

Posted by: Guest 18.Apr.2006, 07:13 PM

Married to an Aussie wrote:

QUOTE
Even though it's every child's RIGHT to get Modersmål, everyone DOESN'T get it.
I believed my children would have the right to it but when they started school we were told it's up to each kommun what rules they have. In the kommun where we live, there need to be at least 5 children who require English as modersmål. The last two years there haven't been enough applicants so my kids don't get it. Very disappointing. So, I think you should check what rules your kommun have on modersmål. I took it for granted that my kids would get it when we moved to Sweden and here we are with no modersmål for the kids.


First of all I would like to apoligise to "Married to a Aussie". I was completely unaware that "Modersmål" was at the discression of the "Kommun". I live in Stockholm where there is a high concentration of English speaking natives and therefor this was never a problem.
In the school that my kids attend, there is a total of 250 students and of those, 20 have English as their mother tongue.

To married to a Swede:

QUOTE
Here's what we did on the other side of the pond...

My husband is Swedish and I have never lived there. When my kids were born I had taken some Swedish classes but my reading was much better than my spoken language. Husband and I spoke primarily English at home, with a few Swedish words thrown in.

We decided that since there were really no other opportunities for them to learn Swedish other than at home, we would speak as much Swedish as possible with them. My husband spoke (and continues to speak) exclusively Swedish with them both inside and outside the home (even in situations of "mixed company" where there are non-Swedish speakers present -- we or the kids just translate as needed). I speak a mixture of Swedish and English. My theory is that we have been learning together, and my own Swedish has improved dramatically. I have never worried much about teaching them the wrong thing in Swedish as I can look things up or call my in-laws, or my husband will correct me -- and now my kids correct me more often than he does.

My husband has been a stickler about Swedish only and it has paid off big time. Now we are lucky enough to have the kids in a Swedish school on Saturdays and they are among the most fluent ones there.

If the situation were reversed and we moved to Sweden, I'm sure that I would speak mostly English with them in the home so they would not lose their ability in English.

It's been interesting. We had periods where my daughter would refuse to speak Swedish at all. She understood everything her father said, but would answer in English. We've just finished a period where both kids would not speak Swedish to ME even if I spoke it with them.

Honestly I think the best advice from my point of view is to bombard the child with as much of the non-country language as possible, since they will get the native language everywhere around them. Try to be mellow about it and not freak out if you feel like you're having a setback. Be consistent with whatever method you choose and eventually they will catch on.

Lycka till!


WELL DONE M8 !!!!!!!!


To Muckle:

QUOTE
School's a LONG way off but thanks for the tip about "Modersmål", Billy - had no idea about that. Also, as you did, I think the time spent in the English-language country (conveniently, England, in my case) is going to be very important.

The one thing I disagree with is the comment that Swedes are rubbish at English. There's quite a variation - which I've noticed the longer I've been here - but in general I have nothing but respect for Swedes' ability with English.


Couldn't agree more Buddy. ESPECIALLY regarding comment about Swedes and their English. :x
In my job, i speak mainly Swedish, but every now and then I get lost for words, and have to revert to English. This has never been a problem. My wife's Grandmother was 86 when she passed away, and Spoke PERFECT English. Her nephew is 10 and is the same.
Swedes should be proud of their ability to speak English!!!!!!!!

To The Perp:

QUOTE
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.


Great advice M8!

Finally,

My wife and I decided to return to Sweden back in 2003 so that our children would have the oppotunity to understand their Swedish Heritage. Like most Aussies, I'm extremly proud of my AUSTRALIAN herritage, so I thought it was important for my kids to feel the same about their Swedish background. What better way then to start their school years here. Unfortunately we have decided to move back to Australia in the summer of 2007. Permanently. ( I can't handle Göran Persson any more) laugh.gif
When we get there, we will keep up the Swedish with the children. Both Children have dual citizenship and this can only be an asset to them in later life.

I have have really enjoyed this forum immensly. Maybe the next one we can discuss over a few coldies !

Best of luck to all

Billy

Posted by: Scooby 18.Apr.2006, 07:57 PM

Hi

Just to add our experiences to this discussion. Father english, mother swedish, two boys as children, lived in london until boys were 9 yrs and 11yrs, when in 2002 moved to Sweden.
Mother in England always spoke Swedish to kids from day they were born, and father spoke English, we also visited Sweden often during their younger ages having contact with the immediate family. Now in 2006, after nearly four years schooling in Sweden, both fluent in both languages, but still we insist that home, they speak english to Dad and Swedish to Mum. Remember kids are amazing and can soak up information and languages as sponges unlike us older folks!! But the important part, is the identifying and learning of the languages with each parent.

Just to back up previous comments re modersmål teaching, we live in a very small town in the middle of the forest known as Småland, and had not the option of private modersmål teaching in English due to lack of numbers, so check beforehand!!

Good luck to you!!
Scooby

Posted by: Married To An Aussie 18.Apr.2006, 08:06 PM

[quote="Billy"]Married to an Aussie wrote:

[quote]First of all I would like to apoligise to "Married to a Aussie". I was completely unaware that "Modersmål" was at the discression of the "Kommun". I live in Stockholm where there is a high concentration of English speaking natives and therefor this was never a problem.
In the school that my kids attend, there is a total of 250 students and of those, 20 have English as their mother tongue.
[/quote]


Billy, you don't need to apologise. I just don't want anyone to think the kids will get modersmål and than they don't get it. We fully counted on that the kids would get it when we moved here to Sweden as both my husband and I feel that our kids English is very important. If we knew that we would not be able to get it, it probably would have effected our plans. Maybe we would have choosen to move to Stockholm instead of where we are now where. Stockholm seems be the place to be if you got bilingual kids.

I'm quite disappoined in the Swedish school system so far, thought it would be great for the kids but I'm not so sure anymore. No modersmål + the fact their school won't offer English until year 4 (at 10 years old). In Stockholm all schools seem to offer English from year 1. I really hate the fact that we don't get the same opportunities for our kids, just because we've choosen not to live in a big city.

We have also talked about moving to Oz too in a couple of years time. We think it would be good for the kids to get some of their education in Australia too, so they can feel they are half Aussies too.

Good luck with your move back to Australia. How does your wife like it by the way? I guess she's also Swedish, like me.

Posted by: Guest 18.Apr.2006, 08:33 PM

When my wife was pregnant with my Son we decided to split the languages, she speaks Swedish to my children, I speak English. We decided on this because once you learn one language a second is much easier to learn. My Boy and Girl have been Bilingual sinse they could speak. Funny part is when we are in a store here in Vegas, people see my kids snapping from Swedish to English on a drop of a hat. And it blows their minds!

Posted by: Roowhip 18.Apr.2006, 10:13 PM

The Perp

QUOTE
Sorry Roowhip, but you?re missing the point ? and you?re in denial. There?s nothing wrong with referring to specific Swedish nouns and terms such as ?Systembolaget?, ?Strycktipset?, or ?Melodifestival? as these are actual names (although I know a few die-hards who say ?off-licence?, ?the pools? or ?Eurovision heats?). English has even taken in Swedish words like smorgasbord and ombudsman but ?dagis?? Don?t think so.


I'm not sure what I'm in denial about but I will try and address my problem. :roll: It seems that you are saying that it is wrong or rot to use words like dagis within an english meaning when speaking to our children and I disagree firstly because I don't think there are any hard and fast rules as to what you should or shouldn't do and secondly I spoke with a language expert in Aus and they explained that it was perfectly OK to use nouns within a meaning..dagis I believe is a noun???

Andersson
QUOTE
also once you have yourself become fluent in Swedish, you will find you sometimes can't remember the nouns
.

The Perp
QUOTE
Ever heard of the term ?first-language attrition? (which is when your native language gets worse while your second/third language improves)? It happens to us all and it?s a natural part of learning a language,


Well thanks for that Perp, you just managed to repeat what I said previously but in a superfluous manner.

The Perp
QUOTE
but the way to stop the rot is to see how many Swedish words you use when good English ones will do.

Still Baloney...if you have a personal problem with hearing english speakers throw in a swedish word or 2 as you obviously do, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it but with respect to teaching a child to be billingual, it really is a non-issue and the main thing is consistency with your approach.


Muckle, here is a bit of info I found on a website which indicates that there is no right or wrong method; ie each parent talking their native langague (such as we do) or both parents speaking just english in the home (such as Beth)-the main thing is you consistently use that approach.

Many parents find that having a fixed pattern for language use in the home makes things easier, both for the children learning the languages and for the adults in their day-to-day life with two (or more) languages. Here are a few of the more common patterns.

One Parent, One Language (OPOL): The parents speak different native languages and each speak their own native language to the child(ren).
Minority Language at Home ([email protected], MLaH, [email protected], etc.): Also known as the Foreign Home pattern. Everyone speaks the minority (non-community) language at home, and the community language outside. The minority language may be but does not have to be the native language of both parents.
Less Common Patterns: Any pattern that works for your family is a good pattern, of course. This is just a brief selection of all the possible patterns: the first person to speak chooses the language; one language is spoken every day, the other on extended vacations to another country; one language is spoken every day, the other on special occasions; the children attend school immersion programs.

"Rules"
Adapted from the Harding and Riley book listed on the Resources page. None of these are unbreakable, but they are good guidelines for making bilingualism work for most families.
Consistency: Whatever pattern you choose, stick to it. Although children can learn two languages in what seems like chaos, a reasonable amount of consistency will make their job, and yours, simpler. Once children learn the pattern they are often disturbed when a parent breaks it.
Rich Environment: This doesn't mean the children need expensive toys or special tools, but they need songs, bedtime stories, and other linguistic stimulation just as monolingual children do - except that bilingual children need it in both their languages. This will mean an extra demand on your time, both to give them this stimulation and to find the books, recorded music and other objects you want - but it is by no means impossible.
Children's Needs First: Children should not be forced into bilingualism if it really does make them unhappy; above all they should not be asked to "show off", which embarrasses children and makes them all too aware of being "different".
Playing It Down: The more you can make bilingualism seem like a natural and unremarkable part of family life, the more likely it is that the children will grow up to enjoy being bilingual, and the more likely it is that you will succeed in keeping both languages active in your home.

Posted by: Roowhip 18.Apr.2006, 10:18 PM

QUOTE
Be carefull to constantly correct your childrens mistakes, as I did with mine. To speak English incorrectly is the mark of an un-educated person and can often be why some people are employed and some aren't.
My advice is too teach both and to do it properly!!!!!!


mmm..that advive would be TO teach not too teach properly?

(ps Kim1, I agree with your post and I don't usually correct the spelling on here but I just couldn't resist the above within it's context biggrin.gif )

Posted by: Guest 18.Apr.2006, 10:24 PM

To " Married to a Aussie":

QUOTE
We fully counted on that the kids would get it when we moved here to Sweden as both my husband and I feel that our kids English is very important. If we knew that we would not be able to get it, it probably would have effected our plans.


Sorry for you M8, What a shame that it wasn't what you wanted...But, look on the bright side though. I can only imagine you live in "Country" Sweden. (No insult implied) smile.gif I'm originally from the country back home. Some people say that the REAL people of a country, come from the country. Your kids have probablary experienced the REAL Sweden. By this i mean Honesty, Integrity, Values... Who's the lucky one now?...Isn't this what we all want for our children?. I'm not saying you don't get this in the cities, i just think they are more real in the country. :wink

QUOTE
How does your wife like it by the way? I guess she's also Swedish, like me.


She can tell you herself...

I've lived in Australia for awhile so I know what I'm getting myself into laugh.gif I really like the people and the lifestyle, I've always thought of Aus like my second home. I'm just hoping we can keep the Swedish up once we get there. I don't think there will be such a large population of Swedes where we are moving to. (Maryborough QLD) lolololol

QUOTE
Funny part is when we are in a store here in Vegas, people see my kids snapping from Swedish to English on a drop of a hat. And it blows their minds!


Doesn't it make you Feel good? It would me.

Till next time,

Billy

Posted by: Guest 19.Apr.2006, 10:45 PM

Roowhip: I?m not saying it?s weird that we use Swedish names/terms when we speak but words such as ?dagis?, ?pappaledig? blah, blah, blah?are pushing it. Why use them when we have English words that describe the same thing? :roll: Sure, words like ?dagis? slip out, but to make a conscious choice of actually using these Swedish words is just mad. Which brings me to rules?

QUOTE
?don't think there are any hard and fast rules as to what you should or shouldn't do and secondly I spoke with a language expert in Aus and they explained that it was perfectly OK to use nouns within a meaning?


As you don?t believe in any rules, feel free to fire on with your Swenglish. And just because a language expert in Aus says it?s OK, it doesn?t make it right. As for my superfluity, don?t mention it ? always nice to enlighten those in denial. :wink:

QUOTE
Still Baloney...if you have a personal problem with hearing english speakers throw in a swedish word or 2 as you obviously do, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it but with respect to teaching a child to be billingual, it really is a non-issue and the main thing is consistency with your approach.


Don?t you get it, yet? It depends on the Swedish word you throw in. And thanks for telling me I can express my opinion. Much obliged. Here?s a crazy idea: tomorrow, try learning your child one of the several English words for ?dagis?. I just know you can do it. Go on, be strong?and make the language leap. ohmy.gif

Posted by: Beth 19.Apr.2006, 11:14 PM

QUOTE (The Perp)
Here?s a crazy idea: tomorrow, try learning your child one of the several English words for ?dagis?. I just know you can do it. Go on, be strong?and make the language leap. ohmy.gif


Hello Kettle (sorry jason)...ehm...you were talking about language attrition? and your way prevents it?

who can find the Swenglish error laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif

btw...while there are similar words for dagis e.g. daycare/nursury (playgroup is not applicable) they still don't convey the greater picture of what swedish "dagis" really is.

what is your translation for "mellannamn"?

Posted by: Guest 19.Apr.2006, 11:28 PM

QUOTE (The Perp)
Here?s a crazy idea: tomorrow, try learning your child one of the several English words for ?dagis?. I just know you can do it. Go on, be strong?and make the language leap. ohmy.gif


I try to learn my children things all the time and do you know what they say????????????

They say

IT'S TEACH DUMBASS

or try teaching for example.

Posted by: Roowhip 20.Apr.2006, 04:45 PM

QUOTE
The Perp wrote:
Here?s a crazy idea: tomorrow, try learning your child one of the several English words for ?dagis?. I just know you can do it. Go on, be strong?and make the language leap.

I try to learn my children things all the time and do you know what they say????????????

They say

IT'S TEACH DUMBASS

or try teaching for example.


laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif Perp, you surpassed Kim1 for making me laugh in the context of this language thread.

Posted by: Rachel F 20.Apr.2006, 04:59 PM

Roowhip wrote

(ps Kim1, I agree with your post and I don't usually correct the spelling on here but I just couldn't resist the above within it's context )

Just to be pedantic - should read 'couldn't resist the above within its context'
grammar not spelling!!

Posted by: Beth 20.Apr.2006, 05:14 PM

oh please...no one be pedantic with the spelling or grammar with my posts :evil:

Posted by: Roowhip 20.Apr.2006, 05:18 PM

QUOTE
Roowhip wrote

(ps Kim1, I agree with your post and I don't usually correct the spelling on here but I just couldn't resist the above within it's context )

Just to be pedantic - should read 'couldn't resist the above within its context'
grammar not spelling!!


Hehe..you got me there Ms KatieA but in me defence I don't profess to be any good at grammar or LEARN my children properly laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif

Posted by: VikingHumpingWitch 20.Apr.2006, 05:19 PM

QUOTE (Beth)
oh please...no one be pedantic with the spelling or grammar with my posts :evil:


In my posts, not with.

Posted by: Roowhip 20.Apr.2006, 05:23 PM

QUOTE
Beth wrote:
oh please...no one be pedantic with the spelling or grammar with my posts


In my posts, not with.


laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif We are going to drive each other insane...

Posted by: Guest 20.Apr.2006, 05:24 PM

QUOTE (Roowhip)
QUOTE
Beth wrote:
oh please...no one be pedantic with the spelling or grammar with my posts


In my posts, not with.


laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif We are going to drive each other insane...


What made you think anyone here ISN't insane? :wink:

Posted by: VikingHumpingWitch 20.Apr.2006, 05:26 PM

Well my excuse for insanity is being cooped up in the flat all day in case somebody rings or emails me. In about 15 minutes I'm going to Hemkop just for the walk, and I'm looking forward to it. I might try and talk to people just for some human contact. Watch out for 'woman arrested in Gothenburg supermarket for groping strangers' headlines tomorrow.

Posted by: Guest 20.Apr.2006, 05:31 PM

smile.gif

Yeah, I just saw a movie with a mental hospital scene, insanes were communicating quite easily among themselves. Reminded me of TL.. I too understand your explanation. :wink:

Posted by: Rachel F 20.Apr.2006, 05:35 PM

I am bound to be hoisted by my own petard with this one!

No, I too have forgotten how to spell and because I had to change from Swedish to English (well, American English) on my pc, I seem to have lost the spellcheck.

Actually, that does bring me it a pertinent or is pertinant (!) point ...most of this thread has involved bilingualism between Swedish and English but English as we know is quite different depending on where it is spoken in the world (pissed/ mad/fag/ snag/ shag for starters). Therefore, I don't really have a problem with using Swedish words here and there ..for example, 'dagis', is well, dagis...it does not have an equivilent in British English - it is not nursery school or kindergarten which is somewhere where 3 year olds go for a couple of hours, maybe every day, maybe twice a week...it is not daycare as we understand it in England, because the Swedish system is more flexible but not long enough in hours, so the word 'dagis' is fine by me.

Posted by: Guest 25.Apr.2006, 08:47 PM

Well folks, nice to sea you picked up the error. Their was a particular reason four planting the 'learn' word; let's just say it's about putting a face to an author. 8)
And Littlefair? Nice to see that you're kids obviously respect you. No doubt your there hero. tongue.gif
As for the "D" word and other silly Swedish words being used inn English, I ain't given weigh.
KatieA: what is a "dagis"? Could it be a place for the temporary care of children in the absence of their parents? Funny, just one of the definitions for nursery you'll find in the dictionary.

Posted by: Roowhip 25.Apr.2006, 09:53 PM

QUOTE
Well folks, nice to sea you picked up the error. Their was a particular reason four planting the 'learn' word; let's just say it's about putting a face to an author.


Oh, you planted it.HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO
That was hilarius. :roll:
and just in case someone is still under the misapprehension that is was an accident, read the remainder of Perps post above.

Posted by: Guest 25.Apr.2006, 10:32 PM

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO...er, yes, actually. I know you find that hard to swallow, Missus Xmas but I couldn't give a toss whether you believe me or not. :roll:
As I said, it's about putting a face to an author, someone who just HATES it when people use learn instead of teach, which instead of that, who instead of whom etc.

Posted by: Guest 25.Apr.2006, 11:00 PM

Oh, yeah. The person I'm tracking also insists on using Swedish words when they speak English, defends their right to do so to the hilt and tries to get everybody else to do the same. Recognize yourself? I'll check in with ya all in a week's time when I get back out of the joint. So long for now.

Posted by: Puffin 25.Apr.2006, 11:51 PM

Do whatever suits you and your family.

We speak English at home and Swedish outside - at work and at school - OK yes we do use the D word - but luckily we have manged to break the linguistic isolation and teach the English, Irish, Danish relatives at least one word of Swedish that they have shown no inclination of learning despite visiting us here for the last 14 years!

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