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Hatice Ciyanci

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I and my husband are both Turkish and live in Turkey. Our son is 10 months and already saying around ten words in Turkish. Up to 3 weeks ago I was talking to him English sometimes and listen to music together but 3 weeks ago I decided to take up not only but mostly OPOL method. I cannot call myself close to native speaker even if I don’t have a strong Turkish accent. Being far away from native speakers and using my English mostly for my business I lost my wide vocabulary knowledge in time. I am trying to keep up again.

After this little explanation my main question is:

I am too much worried about my son’s accent he might take from me. Although we have some supports such as audios, musics, online stories etc, he is with me most of the time. As he is so young I cannot prevent myself from thinking about his quick learning by copying me. After 3 weeks I feel little distracted comparing with the beginning.

I need some courage and would like to hear your opinions about it.

Thanks a lot

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Hatice, you embarking on a great adventure and your son will benefit from it for the rest of his life. I think, if you are his only source of English, he might pick up your accent from you. So what? What are your options? NOT teach him English? Do you have access to a native English speaker? In my opinion, speak as much English with him as you can how you can. It is better than nothing. When he is older, you may come across a native speaking resource for your son, like an English playgroup or school. But until then, give him the best you can give him in terms of English – yourself.

Even if he has an accent at age 2, it does not mean he may still have at age 20! Knowing some English rather than none will open doors for him into more fluent English environments, boost his self esteem while there and give him a selse of belonging.
Hatice Ciyanci

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Thank you Natalia for your comments. When I think in this way I relieve a lot.

Beside, I am reading “The Bilingual Edge” at the moment. It gives me so many helps in terms of answering my questions and showing the right ways.

I hope it will be worth in the end.


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Hi Hatice —

Just talk. Forget the accent!

That’s what I’m trying to teach my kids (and myself!).

I think we should teach our kids that language is for communicating, and to communicate well we should be comfortable and confident and not self-conscious.

I’m American, and have learned French, Spanish and now Danish. My downfall with all of them is that I can’t overcome my own self-consciousness when I speak. I have to tell myself: who cares if I make mistakes? who cares if I don’t sound like a native? who cares if my personality is not the same in each language because I’m trying so hard? what a waste if I don’t use what I have to communicate!

My two kids (5 and 2) are growing up in Denmark. Dad is Danish and we use OPOL. They go to Danish daycare. Both are impressively bilingual and both have age-appropriate language skills.

When people ask me if I think my kids have accents in English — or when they point out that the kids do have accents and that is somehow “bad” — I get really frustrated. Of course they do! So do I! Mine is east coast US, specifically Philadelphia. Different from South Carolina, North Dakota, New England… not to mention the UK, Canada and the rest of the English-speaking world.

I am trying hard to show my kids that multiple accents are part of every language. Meanwhile, along the way, I hope to show myself the same thing and be much braver speaking the languages I have learned, for it is certainly true that our own behavior influences our kids’ so very very much.



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