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Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone could share some opinions or insight about which language we should learn. My goal is for us to learn another language and speak it around the house together so that they really get to know the language and not just have book knowledge.

 

We have been learning French, because I took many years of French in school, and it felt the easiest to pick up and speak with my kids. I was never ever fluent, despite taking years of it in school and even in college, because it was mostly book learning. We didn't really speak the language in all those years in a useful and productive way. But as I hear it now, much of it comes back to me, and it feels very familiar. I really wanted the kids to learn French.

 

However, we live in an area where there are a lot of Spanish speakers. We have Spanish-speaking neighbor kids. I encounter Spanish on a daily basis in my job. There are Spanish-speaking kids on the soccer field. Opportunities for actually speaking it with native speakers are really everywhere. I could practice it at work and that would really give me an ear for it. So, part of me feels like I am denying them a great opportunity by being surrounded by so much Spanish to not learn Spanish instead. And I worry that if they are hearing my French, not being a native speaker, that they won't get the best accent they could.

 

I just really liked the idea of French, and I read an article about how French is a really good second language if you want to go into the sciences, which my older child definitely does. Plus, I already know a lot of French, so it is easy to start them speaking it around the house. We know a few friends who are learning French in school, so we could speak it with them. And we have several friends who are from Quebec and speak French.

 

Opinions? I am open to all ideas and perspectives. Thanks!

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I vote for Latin American Spanish (NOT the Spanish spoken in Spain!). . I am not without bias. I have lived in Colombia for the past 18 years. I will try to be objective. I was born and grew up in California. Lots of Spanish speakers there. One of my regrets is that I did not become truly bilingual (English-Spanish) when I grew up. Never, did I imagine that I would end up living in South America. Or, that I would work for two (2) airlines, with routes to Mexico/Latin America.

 

There are simply so many advantages, to you, for your job, and for your children, as they grow up and when they are working adults, for someone in the USA being able to be truly bilingual (English-Spanish). My DD is what is considered "bilingual". After 4 school years in a brick and mortar school, where the teaching language was Spanish, she switched last Fall, to TTUISD, where the teaching language is English. That is our definition of "bilingual" and very few people who take 3 or 4 years of a foreign language in high school end up bilingual.

 

A person who is truly bilingual can attend a university, where the teaching language is English, or Spanish, and be successful, in either setting.

 

With regard to French. I believe it is a very romantic language to listen to. However, one of my friends from high school married a French Canadian woman. He told me that when they went to France, the French people would not speak French with her, because of her Quebec accent, and they spoke English with her.

 

If you and your children learn Spanish, the Spanish speakers you interact with will appreciate you, for trying to learn their language. They will tolerate your mispronunciation and grammatical mistakes.

 

Years ago, I received the Miami Herald International Edition here (they stopped publication). I remember reading a "Letter to the Editor", regarding the typical employment requirement in Florida, that job applicants are "bilingual". They'd published an article about bilingualism. A woman wrote that she is bilingual, but in French and English, and that she could not get a job in Florida, because she did not speak Spanish. There are a lot of people in Florida (Hatians, etc.) who speak French, but to work there, one needs Spanish.

 

A late friend retired from a major U.S. flag airline in 1995. He told me they had 2 stacks of applications/resumes in his office. One was for people who only spoke U.S. English. The other was for people who were bilingual. You can guess which stack they used, when they had job openings to fill...

 

One of the many things that increases the possibility of your children being admitted to a university, or, receiving a scholarship, is their being bilingual.

 

HTH and GL

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With regard to French. I believe it is a very romantic language to listen to. However, one of my friends from high school married a French Canadian woman. He told me that when they went to France, the French people would not speak French with her, because of her Quebec accent, and they spoke English with her.

 

Unfortunately, this is my experience with speaking French in France too. Dh and I went to a tourist agency that books hotel rooms for budget travelers. I asked in my not too shabby French (I au paired for a summer and worked for a Quebec commercial delegation which required speaking French daily) for a room. I got the usual snooty response from the dude because of my American, Quebecois tinged accent. So I turned around to consult dh in Spanish. Wow! The snooty dude was amazed that we spoke Spanish and proceeded to try his out on us. The down side was neither dh nor I could really understand him very well so we had to just wing it looking at the written info that we could see. OTOH, I've never had any native Spanish speaker give me 'tude about my gringa accent ever. There's a lot of different accents and slang words so even native speakers have to adjust a bit to someone from a different country. Spanish is just a whole bunch less frustrating to practice than French.

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Totally agree with the above post by Lanny. I studied French in school--like OP for many years but did not really become fluent. I wish I had studied Spanish for which the opportunities to speak are so much greater, and have decided to do that now.

 

And yes, what is said about the French being intolerant is true. My own grandmother who was born in France instead of helping me out with my pronunciation was intolerant (and at school we had French from non-native French speaker--in this case an American who had spent time in the French speaking part of Switzerland, so it was already not the best guide to getting a sophisticated French accent). I thought it was just my grandmother being overly whatever she was, and then when I travelled to France, I learned that is the way it is. They do not want to hear "bad" French. It must sound like nails on a chalkboard to them or something.

 

French is notorious for that, but I lived in Brazil as a kid, and when I met a person from Lisbon, she was aghast at my "colonial" accent.

 

While there are different accents from different parts of Latin America as well as Spain, people do seem to be more tolerant and helpful with Spanish struggles. I am having trouble rolling my r, for example, so it is not very possible to tell whether I have said pero (but) or perro (dog), but

I get sweet corrections about it.

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<snip>I've never had any native Spanish speaker give me 'tude about my gringa accent ever. There's a lot of different accents and slang words so even native speakers have to adjust a bit to someone from a different country. Spanish is just a whole bunch less frustrating to practice than French.

 

 

Yes. Far more tolerance, from native Spanish speakers, to those who are trying to learn Spanish, than from native French speakers. And, yes, there are sometimes different words used for the same thing, in different countries in Latin America. Different slang. Different profane words... My belief is that native Spanish speakers are far more tolerant than native French speakers of people trying their language, as a second language. And, that native Spanish speakers appreciate and respect those who are trying to learn Spanish as a second language.

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<snip>

While there are different accents from different parts of Latin America as well as Spain, people do seem to be more tolerant and helpful with Spanish struggles. I am having trouble rolling my r, for example, so it is not very possible to tell whether I have said pero (but) or perro (dog), but

I get sweet corrections about it.

 

 

Ha... I cannot roll my r's and my wife and DD occasionally will make fun of me, because I cannot do that.

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Ha... I cannot roll my r's and my wife and DD occasionally will make fun of me, because I cannot do that.

 

My son can go on and on with his trilled r just for fun--or maybe to tease me. I think my upper palette is shaped wrong. It is flat for just a short bit behind my front teeth and then has a steep cliff, while my son has a large flat area that he seems to use. How is yours shaped?

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I spent a semester going to university in France during my college years. I was mocked several times for mistakes I made.

 

Years later, my husband and I spent 6 months in Mexico and Central America. Anyone's face would light up with encouragement if I said so much as "hola." I once said "wind pesos" instead of "twenty pesos" at a supermarket in Mexico, and the kind, respectful, gentle correction the cashier gave me was such a delight.

 

So I am sad to say that as far as being rewarded for your efforts by native speakers, Spanish wins in my experience, too.

 

(Edited out a kind of harsh story about an experience in France. I didn't mean to sound quite so negative. Most people in France were very kind to me!)

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I really do agree with all of this. I don't know why I am hanging on to French for some reason. It's like I can't give it up. But I guess really Spanish does make more sense. The other thing I was thinking is that, from what I know, Spanish is a much easier language to learn than French. And so I thought maybe I should have them at least begin learning French first, and then we could switch to Spanish later, and it would be easier to pick up.

 

In high school, over 20 years ago, we had two options, French or Spanish, for a foreign language. French was considered the "harder" or more challenging language and anyone who wanted the easier route took Spanish. I have no idea now why, maybe the Spanish teacher there was easier?

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I've read that when the sounds of Spanish & French are mapped next to English, Spanish shares a lot more sounds. French has several sounds that English doesn't have. I had a friend who chose French based on that, figuring that it would be good for her kids to learn to hear those different sounds and that they could pick up Spanish later while they'd never have a good accent if they waited to take French.

 

Spanish certainly makes more sense, but maybe you should ask your kids. My elder is totally anti-Spanish "because it's so popular". Not a great reason, but learning a second language is challenging enough that it's best to have the kid on your side. She also wanted to study Japanese, so we're following that too, and it's been even easier to encourage her to work than it has been for French.

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Thanks! Yes, the younger one wants to switch to Spanish (but it's because he's a Barca fan) and the older one doesn't seem to lean one way or the other. But that is a good reminder to sit down with them again and revisit their goals.

 

I don't know much Spanish, but isn't it also pretty phonetic? Like everything is just spelled pretty much how it sounds?

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Thanks-this thread helped me. Dd13 wants to learn French and I took it for several yrs (never became fluent at all but I love the language), but we can't find anyone to teach it. We do have a Spanish class available so we're going to do that. I was kind of sad about giving up on the French, but this thread helped!

 

(even though I went to both Quebec and Paris at age 16 for school trips and no one mocked me-maybe because I was so young?)

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I am married to a French-Canadian and my son currently attends a French Ministry school 3 days per week. He also attends a Spanish immersion school 2 dsys per week. The vibe at the Spanish School is night and day from the French School -- the Latinos are so much nicer. Even my husband hates the French school and doesn't see the point of our son going there. I wanted our son to learn French to be connected to his family in Quebec and their culture, but Spanish is so much more practical. If I had to choose, I would do Spanish for sure.

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So is your son learning French and Spanish at the same time? And English too?

 

I'm thinking maybe it would be good for them to learn both. Maybe we don't have to choose? Or am I making it too complicated for myself?

 

Thanks to all for the great feedback and discussion.

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So is your son learning French and Spanish at the same time? And English too?

 

I'm thinking maybe it would be good for them to learn both. Maybe we don't have to choose? Or am I making it too complicated for myself?

 

Thanks to all for the great feedback and discussion.

 

 

You most certainly do not have to choose. Many children grow up speaking multiple languages. My son is 4 and speaks French pretty well (and can watch movies and TV for older kids without issues), Spanish not as well yet but understands most things (we are moving to Mexico in June and he will be in a Mexican private school in the fall), English he is fluent and about two grades above level, and he also goes to Hebrew school one day per week. He basically knows the Hebrew alphabet at this point and some Jewish words. I mention all this because many people think children will be confused by multiple languages and that is a myth.

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I have a slightly different thought... I selected Spanish for my boys because it seems more convenient, more useful, and my mother speaks it. I intended to learn along with them. And I tried for awhile. But they outpaced me quickly. My heart is just not in it. My heart is in learning French, which I studied in high school and college. Now I am refreshing my French while they are doing Spanish. I wish I had started them in French since we could be discussing together and it would be a great shared interest when they are older. My younger is learning some French too and will likely become fluent in both if he continues to be interested; he has a gift in this area. My older son shows no interest in French. They are both also studying Latin so I don't have the heart to require French as well, and they really don't have the time.

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Thank you all for this thread! I've gone back and forth between French and Spanish now for years and have never been able to make a decision. I took French in school and it definitely had the stigma that that's what the smart kids took. I've been somewhat biased against Spanish since then. I could see its practicality but just could not admit that we should learn it.

 

Reading all your responses has finally allowed me to get over myself and admit that Spanish is what we need and will have the most success with. I've already gotten going on duolingo, and after my kids get going in Latin, Spanish is up next! Thank you all!!

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So is your son learning French and Spanish at the same time? And English too?

 

I'm thinking maybe it would be good for them to learn both. Maybe we don't have to choose? Or am I making it too complicated for myself?

 

Thanks to all for the great feedback and discussion.

 

 

No, you could do that. There is a private school in a city near us that has children start out with 3 foreign languages in 1st grade. They do not spend a lot of time on any of them compared to single language immersion schools, but both types of school spend way more time on language than many other schools do. I am not sure what subject gets less time, but since there is only so much time in one day, something must be getting less. Just as a pp said about her children there are also children in parts of Europe who learn multiple languages quite well, quite young.

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I vote for Latin American Spanish (NOT the Spanish spoken in Spain!). ....

 

Could you speak a little more to Latin American vs. Spanish spoken in Spain? How is Castillian Spanish regarded in Latin America?

 

And since there are differences as between the various countries of Latin America also, what should one aim for, and why?

 

Some materials I have I think must be Spanish as spoken in Spain, because they have the "Vosotros " form--but beyond that, if the book or audio does not specify what it is, I do not even know how to determine which it is unless it is audio and I hear a lot of "th" sounds, though as I understand it, that might also be Argentinian Spanish. ??????.

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Having been on the Spanish side of the vote here, I wanted to add a plus for French, which is that sometimes it has helped me communicate with someone who had French as a second language, where even though mine was not very good, it plus gestures was enough to get by when the two first languages had no common ground. But as increasingly English is the main second language, this would probably become less likely a scenario.

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Could you speak a little more to Latin American vs. Spanish spoken in Spain? How is Castillian Spanish regarded in Latin America?

 

And since there are differences as between the various countries of Latin America also, what should one aim for, and why?

 

Some materials I have I think must be Spanish as spoken in Spain, because they have the "Vosotros " form--but beyond that, if the book or audio does not specify what it is, I do not even know how to determine which it is unless it is audio and I hear a lot of "th" sounds, though as I understand it, that might also be Argentinian Spanish. ??????.

 

 

Oh, heavens. It's not that big a deal to learn the vosotros form, and it will actually help you with the vos form, which is derived from it and used in Argentina and some other parts of South America, and which is not taught in any books I've ever seen. And a huge number of exchange programs are to Spain, and when I worked in business, I did as much business with Spain as Latin America. The world is small. Don't think small and think the only places you'd ever go are contiguous with the United States. Most of South America is actually farther away from the US than Spain - whether there's water in between is rather irrelevant when you're in an airplane. Oh, and if you have even a tiny thought of actually studying Spanish to a degree where you are conversant, you are going to end up reading Spanish literature, which uses the vosotros form. A lot. And as far as written Spanish, other than a few words (similar to US/UK English differences, nothing huge), that's the only big difference. Learning one more conjugation when you learn the rest is absolutely painless - you don't have to use it if you don't want it, but if you don't learn it, you can't use it. Why oh why would you limit yourself??

 

And as far as accent, it's also not a huge deal. Honestly 90% of the Americans I've heard have such a horrendous American accent I'd never have any idea which Spanish accent they were attempting. Focus on getting main pronunciation right, especially the vowels and the r and you're 99% of the way there - whether or not you choose to use the 'th' pronunciation for c and z is beside the point ('s' is pronounced like 's' in all Spanish variants - they are not lisping). Know it's a variant, just like 'll' is pronounced more like 'zh' than 'y' in some places (South America, not Spain). I do find the 'th' pronunciation of 'c' and 'z' helpful, because it makes it even easier to know how things are spelled, as then there's a unique sound for 'z' and 's'. (and 'z' in Spanish is never pronounced like 'z' in English - it's soft 's' or 'th')

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Could you speak a little more to Latin American vs. Spanish spoken in Spain? How is Castillian Spanish regarded in Latin America?

 

And since there are differences as between the various countries of Latin America also, what should one aim for, and why?

 

Some materials I have I think must be Spanish as spoken in Spain, because they have the "Vosotros " form--but beyond that, if the book or audio does not specify what it is, I do not even know how to determine which it is unless it is audio and I hear a lot of "th" sounds, though as I understand it, that might also be Argentinian Spanish. ??????.

 

 

We can understand Castilian Spanish, with a little difficulty. My understanding is that the purest Spanish is spoken here in Colombia, and the worst Spanish is in Puerto Rico. I'm sure the people I know in Puerto Rico would agree with that, regarding the "Spanglish" they speak in Puerto Rico..

 

IMHO, because almost 100% of the Spanish speakers in the USA are from Latin America, it would make more sense, for someone in the USA to learn Latin American Spanish. To be able to communicate with them, for job opportunities, etc.

 

If not at this time, very soon, the USA will have more International Trade with Latin America (plus Brazil), than it does with Europe.

 

Spain has very severe problems. Unemployment is above 26 or 27% at this time. We know Colombians who moved to Spain, who are now desperate to return to Colombia. And, I know a family (Spaniards), who just emigrated, from Spain to Cali, seeking a better life here.

 

If you want to hear Castilian Spanish, you can hear that on the Spanish TV channel, TVE, from Madrid. And, on other channels from Spain. When DD was younger, I watched a *wonderful* program teaching children about Classical Music, on TVE, with her.

 

If you want to hear Colombian Spanish, CNN en Español probably has at least 2 news anchors who are from Colombia. That channel is directed to Latin Americans. And, if you get the Colombian channels, Caracol and RCN, that is 100% Colombian Spanish, all the time.

 

HTH

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Lanny, Thanks for the thoughts on which type and why! We have no TV, but I expect those leads will help some people, and also gave me the idea to check what radio stations we might have with Spanish. I used to have a good short-wave radio, but alas not right now. And maybe we could stream the CNN en Espanol (how did you put in a tilda?) to hear the Colombian Spanish. What are the names of those particular anchors, or how is the Colombian accent recognized?

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The vibe at the Spanish School is night and day from the French School -- the Latinos are so much nicer.

The French Latinos or the Spanish Latinos?

 

We can understand Castilian Spanish, with a little difficulty. My understanding is that the purest Spanish is spoken here in Colombia, and the worst Spanish is in Puerto Rico. I'm sure the people I know in Puerto Rico would agree with that, regarding the "Spanglish" they speak in Puerto Rico.

The "purest" spanish is spoken in Salamanca of Castilla, Spain (Valladolid is OK too), it is called Castellaño and not Español in Spanish for some strange reason ;)

 

IMHO, because almost 100% of the Spanish speakers in the USA are from Latin America, it would make more sense, for someone in the USA to learn Latin American Spanish. To be able to communicate with them, for job opportunities, etc.

It would, IF such a thing as Latin American Spanish existed. As it does not exist, but is a whole group of different dialects dialects that basically only have in common the accident of all being spoken in different areas of the Americas you are left with a choice of which one to pick anyhow. Now, it is true that some are closer to Castillaño such as those found in Paraguay (with Vos) and Colombia whereas others are further away.

 

Then again I would suggest that Americans learn English in school, but that´s just me. As for the Spanish, I wouldn´t worry about the accent, however as someone who learned Castellaño and not Español, I might point out to those that have concerns about such things that when in LatinAmerica NOBODY will pick up on my accent, they will just assume that I am Spanish, whereas when in Spain they do note my accent, a little.

 

Hence, there is much to be said to learn "proper" Spanish, and I believe little to be gained by aiming for a heavily accented Latam alternative. The cultural differences on how you take the bus or taxi in each place is left for your amusement and appreciation of local differences. :)

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Could you speak a little more to Latin American vs. Spanish spoken in Spain? How is Castillian Spanish regarded in Latin America?

 

And since there are differences as between the various countries of Latin America also, what should one aim for, and why?

 

Some materials I have I think must be Spanish as spoken in Spain, because they have the "Vosotros " form--but beyond that, if the book or audio does not specify what it is, I do not even know how to determine which it is unless it is audio and I hear a lot of "th" sounds, though as I understand it, that might also be Argentinian Spanish. ??????.

 

Most American textbooks or language learning materials use native speakers of different countries for their audio/video components so you'll hear lots of different accents. If you want to do Rosetta Stone, I'd choose LA Spanish over Castilian. People who are learning English usually want to hear a variety of accents, too. There's a big difference between a Scot and a Texan, but you eventually get the hang of it. The same thing happens in Spanish so I wouldn't stress about it at all.

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Lanny, Thanks for the thoughts on which type and why! We have no TV, but I expect those leads will help some people, and also gave me the idea to check what radio stations we might have with Spanish. I used to have a good short-wave radio, but alas not right now. And maybe we could stream the CNN en Espanol (how did you put in a tilda?) to hear the Colombian Spanish. What are the names of those particular anchors, or how is the Colombian accent recognized?

 

 

You are welcome. If you are using a Windows PC, with a U.S. English keyboard (that is what I am using) to make the Spanish letter "ñ" this is the procedure. On the keypad, push down on the key that says "Num Lock" (a light on the keyboard will go on when you do that). Then, hold down the "Alt" key and press the numbers 1 and 6 and 4 on the keypad, in that order. My wife taught me how to do that, but I can't remember how to do other Spanish letters... That may also work on a Linux PC or on a MAC, but I'm not sure about that and don't have a Linux box turned on, as I write this.

 

Without a TV, you are at a little disadvantage here, with regard to the TV channels I mentioned... However, I suspect that Caracol and RCN have their radio signals streaming on the web from Colombia. On this URL http://www.caracol.c...amas/programas/ it looks like you can click on "Señal en vivo" and hear their streaming audio from their radio network. On this URL: http://www.rcnradio.com/audios it looks like if you click, in the upper left, where it says "radio en vivo" you can listen to the audio from the RCN radio network in Colombia.

 

I very rarely watch TV and it was years ago, when my wife told me that some of the CNN en Español TV anchors are Colombians. My wife and DD went out of town yesterday, to the house of MIL, for Mother's Day, so I can't ask her at this time. I think one of them is Patricia Janiot (spelling?).

 

Probably my wife would tell you that Colombian Spanish is without an accent. There are definitely some regional differences, in some of the words that are used, between countries, Even within Colombia, there are regional accents. but we can understand. With my Spanglish, 4 years ago, I went to Bogota, for 2 concerts, and there were 3 people in my group who came up from Lima, Peru for the first concert. I stayed in the same little hotel they stayed in and we were able to communicate, without any problem. The webmaster came down from Puerto Rico and I spoke Spanish with him, since some of the others don't speak English. And the singer and group are from the Dominican Republic and I spoke Spanish with them, so the others could understand.

 

I haven't met the woman who moved here with her family a couple of months ago, from Spain. That is something I need to do, ASAP. Probably we will have a little difficulty communicating, but nothing major. And my favorite singer does concerts in Spain that are very well attended, so they must understand his Spanish, from "La Republica Dominicana", without any problems...

 

There are some differences with words. For example, the woman from Spain, on her resume, had "coche" to indicate that she has a car. Here, someone would use "carro". About the same as the differences in English. In the USA, someone would refer to the "hood" of their car. In the UK, it is "bonnet" I believe

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Thank you all; this has been really helpful for me. I think I had been feeling that I needed to pick one or the other. Now, I feel like it is doable to learn two other languages. I shouldn't shortchange us. They have an opportunity to learn French because I know French and can teach them, even if I don't have a native accent, so what. We also have a great opportunity to learn Spanish together because there are so many speakers here that we can practice within our community so easily.

So, what I am thinking is that we will continue on in our French for now. We already started with it, and it does sound like it is the harder of the two, phonetically speaking. Then once we have a good bit of French solidified in their minds, we can learn Spanish together. I honestly feel like Spanish is going to come easily to them once they know French, and because we hear Spanish so much I think they will just pick it up right away. That way they can learn both. And maybe they become more fluent in Spanish ultimately just because it is the more practical, but then they will always know some French too.

I am thinking all of this because, for example, I have a friend whose child is truly bilingual, because he grew up learning a language from each parent (Spanish and English), but now the child is also learning a third language in school, and is becoming fluent in that language too. So, it just makes me feel like I shouldn't limit them. We can have fun with it and they can learn three languages. They might even go off to college and decide to learn Italian or German or some other fourth language.

I think my hesitation comes in when I start thinking negatively, like, oh, they will not get a good French accent because they will be learning from me, and I need to do it right. So I start thinking I have to do it perfectly and get the right native speakers, etc. But really, I feel like whatever language learning they can get, even if it includes my French with an American accent, will only enhance their experience of the world. So I should let go and not worry about doing it perfectly. I have a very neutral accent anyway.

What do you guys think? I want honest opinions. Am I trying to spread us too thin and then they will only learn a little of both instead of truly becoming fluent in one? Am I taking that too lightly? I really DO want them to become absolutely fluent in at least one other language. Thanks for your feedback.

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What do you guys think? I want honest opinions. Am I trying to spread us too thin and then they will only learn a little of both instead of truly becoming fluent in one? Am I taking that too lightly? I really DO want them to become absolutely fluent in at least one other language. Thanks for your feedback.

There is truly only one way you are going to achieve true fluency, and that is total immersion, when and if you decide to do something like that you MAY start thinking about accents (that is where you want to do the sink or swim experience). Until then you are just needlessly worrying yourself. The question of how many languages you should do, well depends on what else you want to get done.

 

I have 3.5 languages down, and looking at another 4 to start this autumn or next year, but I cheat, I do full immersion. Now, I not overly concerned about the "overstretch" (yet). :huh:

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Thank you all; this has been really helpful for me. I think I had been feeling that I needed to pick one or the other. Now, I feel like it is doable to learn two other languages. ...

 

What do you guys think? I want honest opinions. Am I trying to spread us too thin and then they will only learn a little of both instead of truly becoming fluent in one? Am I taking that too lightly? I really DO want them to become absolutely fluent in at least one other language. Thanks for your feedback.

 

 

In terms of accent, I am looking for good audio programs that will give proper accent. In terms of which language or both, I think the children's own interest is key. If they want to do it and have the motivation it will make a lot of difference.

 

I don't think you would have to spend twice the time to get 2 languages to fluency if they are related as Romance languages are, since some of the learning will cross over. But if you take the time to get fluent in only one language and divide it up between the two then they will probably not become fluent in either.

 

How are you planning to study the language(s) to achieve fluency?

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Well, with French, I thought we'd speak it around the house (not all the time, but that we'd speak together in French), use native speaker audio materials and language learning software, books, etc. That would be a start at least.

 

With Spanish, we would be learning together, but just the same process. But with Spanish, we would have more frequent opportunities to speak with native speakers in person.

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After my own debates on what language and thinking Spanish (which I myself started studying) my son decided on German yesterday and took it up on Duolingo. What I am seeing, for what it is worth to OP or anyone else, is that his own motivation, drive and determination helps a lot--he is on lesson 3. And in his case, he is liking having something that I know next to zero of, so that he can tell me, rather than have it be something where I can help guide and teach him!!!

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After my own debates on what language and thinking Spanish (which I myself started studying) my son decided on German yesterday and took it up on Duolingo. What I am seeing, for what it is worth to OP or anyone else, is that his own motivation, drive and determination helps a lot--he is on lesson 3. And in his case, he is liking having something that I know next to zero of, so that he can tell me, rather than have it be something where I can help guide and teach him!!!

 

Not sure how old your son is but he can try this

University of Cambridge German opencourseware (free) http://www.langcen.c...rman_basic.html

Also plenty of german threads on the bilingual education board

 

ETA:

My kids pick french over spanish or latin for next school year. My former german teacher (from Netherlands) who is certified to teach five languages said French is easy to start but hard to be an expert. German is hard to start but gets easier after the initial hardwork.

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