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Hi All,

I am Scottish who is living in Holland and married to a lovely Dutch woman. We are at a point now where we are trying for a baby! I am really worried about raising the child in Holland as I can’t speak much Dutch at all (been tring for 5 years and I just can’t get it!!). My wife speaks Fluent English and off course Dutch. I want the child off course to speak English, but as we are in Holland, Dutch is also essential for the child. Can anyone give some advice as I really don’t want to be isolated from my family (to be). I am very keen to have a child that speaks two languages, but I’m really not sure how to approach this.

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We also live in the Netherlands.
I am from London, and my husband is an Israeli-American mix.
Our 3 year old son speaks three languages.
This is the way we do it: I speak English, my husband speaks Hebrew with him, and at playschool he gets his Dutch.  We are VERY strict also with other people that each person picks ONE language and sticks to it strictly with him.  He is a little behind (slightly) but not behind average. 
I think that we may run into problems later when he is older and probably finds that it is not cool to speak other languages that his friends don’t speak. But we will cross that bridge when we get there.
By the way, there is a group called BILINGUAL KIDS here in NL which has organised playgroups and “lessons” for bilingual kids and expats.  There are also many schools that teach in English.
In short, the fact that you don’t speak Dutch bears no relevance. Speak only English with your child and s/he will pick it up.
Good luck.

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What language do they speak in Scottland? Just curious.

Anyway, I’m not sure you have a problem. Probably just the “pre-baby jitters” If your wife is Fluent in 2 languages, then dont worry about it.

You can both just speak in English at home. He’ll get Dutch from the community, besides, Dutch will soon overtake English in his life anyway. If he HAS to speak English at home, then he will, and perfectly. Trust me.

You dont need to be Fluent in Dutch to  talk to your child. Your wife can practice speaking slowly around the house when saying basic, common things so that you can at least become a “receptive” bilingual, meaning you can understand a 2nd language. You just cant speak it. You can listen to childrens stories in Dutch also, the Hungry Caterpillar will make a great Intro “textbook” to anyone interested in a language. lol.

But seriously, speak English at home like you do, learn a touch of Dutch, basic phrases and such then leave it alone. Its nothing to get stressed out about or fret over. You’ll do great if you commit yourself to OPOL in the very least.


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