in parenting experience ~ read.

Raising bilingual children as non-native English speakers #2

First post of this series is here

It's been wonderful two years! This post is not going to be as long as the previous, as there is not that much to say. It has more like a journaling purpose.

July is getting probably about a day or two days of English exposure from non-native speakers. It's been a crazy mix for her - we switch between Czech and English constantly, often without noticing. Sometimes, when we are full of willpower we keep English for the whole day, but she's very rarely just with us for the whole day and therefore she has exposure to Czech from her e.g. grandparents or peers. The best part is that she doesn't really care. One common argument against bilingualism is that she will mix languages not knowing which one is which.

I am happy to say that this is definitely not the case of our July. She's fully capable (99% of the time) distinguishing between these two. She quote often screams "ENGLISH! SPEAK ENGLISH!" making us speak in English with her. In the same time, she recognizes when we switch back to Czech (with "Mami, proč jsi mluvila Česky?", translation: "Mom, why did you speak in English?") and vice versa.

It's clear that July prefers Czech when she speaks. She very rarely speaks in English when we don't speak in English as well and we have to motivate her to speak in English, e.g. when she asks for a banana in Czech, we tell her that we give it to her only if she asks in English. She usually does so without any problems (so she knows what does it mean).

Her understanding of English is mostly on par with Czech. She's more limited by her current mental development, rather than by language. And then there is the limitation posed by her parents - we don't know all the words we would like to when describing the world around us, obviously. But that's quite rare and usually, we find some approximate.