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I am probably panicking too early but I can’t help it. My boy is 19months old and from the start I have spoken polish to him and my husband English. I am a stay at home mum and therefore my little one is more exposed to my language then English. However, we do go to quite few mum and toddler groups and most of my friends are English. I speak English inform of him but never to him regardless to where we are.

But now he started talking and from saying few polish words it went too all English. I understand that polish is more difficult to pronounce then English but I am now panicking he will have a blockage speaking polish in the future. I just read so much about children developing a block in speaking one language or another.

He understands everything i say to him but he ll just use the English words he recently learned and not the polish. Am I panicking without a reason or should I do introduce more polish around him!? Should I maybe pretend I don’t understand what he is saying to me? At the moment when he says door I say yes that’s ‘dzwi’ (in polish). 

What is the best approach? and ll he learn the difference between the two or will he always just choose the easier language??


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Hi Maja,
I think it’s very important that you DON’T panick now 🙂 Your son clearly understands everything you say to him in Polish. Your job is to make sure he grows up hearing both languages, but you can not make the decision for him which of the languages will be his prefered one. Right now he preferes English, and he’s very aware that you understand English too, so he chooses what’s easiest for him at the moment.

It’s tough being the parent with the minority language, but you need to just hang in there. Is there any way you can find other Polish speakers in your area? It would be good for your son to realize that there are others who speak “like Mummy does” – and other children.

One thing is important though – don’t put pressure on him to speak Polish, don’t pretend to not understand his English, don’t show him that you are worried/frustrated! He’ll associate all this with Polish and might just create the dreaded “block” that you mention. He’s still very young and only just starting to talking, so give him time! I’m sure he’ll be just fine and grow up bilingual – but give him time and make talking fun no matter the language!

(My two sons (10 & 12 y.o.) are growing up trilingual and it’s not been easy all the way but it’s been worth it.)

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