Randomness rules my life. And as luck would have it, a long time ago I was forced, contrary to my will, to make a move from an English-speaking country to a Spanish-speaking country. Before the move my two daughters and myself used Spanish amongst ourselves. I wanted them to be bilingual. We spoke it all the time, not only at home. When we made the move, keeping up Spanish at home was pointless and unnecessary: they could practice all the time everywhere.
So, one day I had a serious talk with them. They listened attentively and agreed. I said: "As of today, we are going to speak English!" And we have been speaking English to this day, in whatever country we are.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge and two newcomers were added to the family who had to abide by the rule: English at all times.
I have never crossed a word in Spanish with them: we write, WhatsApp, email, speak to one another in English, always. My eldest remarked one day that if we spoke Spanish it would sound faux, fake, unnatural. This habit is well engrained, deeply rooted in our brains, thanks to years of practice.
It has not been easy, especially when in the presence of monolinguists who cannot understand why we communicate in a foreign language in their presence. But... no pain, no gain.
If you want your children to master your mother tongue, do not relent and speak to them in that language, come hail or high water.
In a later post I will tell you about my fourth generation of bilingual speakers: Chloe, Alexia, and Hanna.
#bilingualism #bilingualismmatters #beingbilingual - 4 days ago