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Irene Boura

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I’m a mother of a twenty-month-old boy and a three-month-old girl from Greece. I’d like to bring up my children bilingually. I’ve read some articles on bilingual raising. But I have a problem on the language system in my family. I’d like to know the best approach and how. All your comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Both my husband and I are Greek, and Greek is our native language. We live in Greece, so children can hear English only from us, although not perfect, but i am sure the benefit is more than not learn at all. 

Until now, my son hears english songs and i try to speak to him in English, but not all the time. He’s still not talking, but he understands everything in greek, not so much in english. I am not sure which is the right way to do it. Do i have to speak to him only in english so that he is not confused or is it ok to speak in both languages? What other ways can i use to teach him, can you suggest any websites?

Many thanks in advance,




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Hi, there

I am also Greek but will respond here in English for the benefit of non-Greek readers.

Don’t worry, what you want can be done.

I was born and brought up in the ’70s in Greece by 100% Greek parents in a small town (Kozani), but they started me learning English when I was 2 years old. I ended up being bilingual.

What they did is this: they hired an English teacher from a nearby language school (frontistirio) to come over and speak English to me, sing nursery rhymes etc.

By the age of five, they enrolled me into a language school and I also had English private tuition at home at least twice a week.

We later moved to Thes/niki and I went to a school where English language learning is encouraged and many activities take part in English.

I enjoyed learning English and kept it up by my own free will as a teenager. I used to listen to the BBC World Service, watch English films, go to British Council events, try to meet English people living in my home town etc.

I moved to England at 19 to go to university, and now live here permanently, married to a Greek-British man and expecting my first child.

I will speak to him/her in Greek only and encourage them to learn Greek from birth, in an almost reverse way to what I experienced growing up.

So please don’t worry, it can be done successfully, especially if you’re trying to teach him/her ENGLISH ~ nowadays with Internet, Amazon, DVDs and all the other resources at our disposal there is no way you’ll fail. It just takes time and, of course, money to pay for tuition/ trips to England etc.

Good luck!


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