ForeignMom's Blog

Bicultural mom adjusting to motherhood in a foreign country

Which Language Will Be Spoken First October 13, 2010

Filed under: Living in the US,Raising Multilingual Children — ForeignMom @ 3:00 pm

Ever since I found out I was pregnant my husband and I wonder how we were going to teach our baby the three languages spoken daily at our home. It may seem overwhelming to some but in reality they flow easily between sentences as my husband speaks Arabic as his first tongue, I speak Spanish and we share the English language as the common one.

We decided to do research about the best way of introducing our child to the three different languages and I found that Virginie Raguenaud had the most interesting book about the topic: Bilingual by Choice (http://bilingualbychoice.com/). I read all of her research and came to the conclusion that if I spoke Spanish to my child, and daddy spoke Arabic, she would learn the English at playdates and preschool and just by living in the US.

Once we had our game plan, we started talking to the baby in the womb in our respective native tongues and have continued doing so now that she’s here with us. But we often wondered almost in a competitive way, which language would her first word be in.

Over the last two weeks we finally got the answer to our question. You may guess that because I stay at home and she listens to Spanish the majority of the time her first word was in that language, right? Well, wrong! Funny enough, her first word “Baba”, is Arabic (dad in that language). It came as a surprise to me because, out of the three languages, Arabic is the one she listens to the least. I guess my little doll just adores her “Baba” and wanted him to win the bet.

Now that Arabic has been the winner of the first word, we wondered what the second word would be. I, again was hopeful and thought that maybe since she said “dad” she would say “mom” now, but no. She said “agua”, the word for water in Spanish. Better luck for me next time, I guess.

The truth is that I really don’t care what language she’s beginning to speak in, I’m just happy to know that she is getting the different sounds of at least both of her parents’ native tongues.

Will the next word be in English?

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