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Persio Pucci

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Hi everybody,

I am just starting to speak English to my two sons. The older is 18 months old (gosh I wish I started this earlier) and the younger one is 4 months old.

My wife and I are both native Brazilians (Portuguese speakers) and I am near-to-fluent in English. I am really excited about this, I started it over the weekend and I already got my older to say “daddy” and “mommy” (and he is quite a talker in Portuguese already).

My main question is is there any book targeted for non-native speakers?

Really glad to find this forum and hope to post updates!

Persio & Denise
+ Caio (18mo)
+ Théo (4mo)
Santiago Hernandez

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Hi Persio and family,

    I read a book called “The Bilingual Edge” and it has a section dedicated to non-native speakers raising their children in their second language. The authors themselves are raising their kids in a foreign language. I hope it helps. I wish you good luck.


Persio Pucci

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I’ll look it up! Thank you for your suggestion.

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HI Perccio!

I’m a spanish mum and I’ve got a 6 months baby son and like you Im also trying to do the English raising adventure on my own!
i do believe we can do really well if we ignore lots of people comments on how artificial a thing like this can be and so on, I just know Im doing the right thing and I felt great when I found this website and realized I wanst alone!
i just speak english with my son Marco, and so far so good since i dont feel ackward at all. But it is also true that I leave a little room for my affective language with my baby  in my mother tongue. there are things that you have to tell to your children and cannot be translated!!! Anyway I just use Spanish 1% of the time the rest is English and just english!
Nursery Rimes are traditional short english children songs very easy to learn and quite catchy for the child to pick up. Incy wincy spider, three blind mice are just but a few of these songs.
I use them every day and bought cds which I also play in the car etc
Marco now smiles every time I sing one of these songs to him and I assume he’s showing his first sings of familiarity and understanding, i hope so!

Storytelling is also a great way of teaching English, I tell him a story every night before going to sleep. I really think it will be a good idea to get my hands on that book santiago recommended, let me know if you found it and how to get it!
Good luck!
Persio Pucci

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Hi Alicia!

Thank you for your support. I think I am going to be ok with Théo (4mo). Caio, the 18mo, however, looks puzzled and I can almost hear him thinking “what happened to daddy and why can’t I understand him anymore?”. He will repeat some words, but gets frustrated when I say something to him or try to ask him to do something. I resist on falling back to Portuguese.

Another thing that I noticed is that while I consider myself near-fluent in English, I found out that it does not include “children talk”, as I find myself unsure what to say or how to say sweet things to them.

I am going to order that book on Amazon, too bad it takes 30 days to get here… Good luck to you and Marco, looks like you got a really good plan going on!
Sean Cosgrove

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The classic books for non-natives are probably the two by the Australian academic George Saunders who raised his three children to be bilingual German and English in the 1970s and 1980s. Can’t remember the names of them offhand (thuogh I have read them both and even own one!) – I mentioned it in more detail on my blog on Aug 4 2009 and some of my links might help too.

I think they might both be out of print but second-hand copies can be had reasonably cheaply (under £10) if you look around, or (in the UK at least) via the public library interloan service.

Thwere is also a book by Jane merrill, “Bringing Up Baby Bilingual” but I found this less useful personally.

Hope this helps!

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