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Hi all,

My wife and I are native Spanish speakers (from Mexico). We recently moved to Montreal and are expecting our first baby. We both speak English fluently and are currently working in improving our French.

Our plan is for our baby to start in daycare when he’s one year old, so that’s when he’ll start being surrounded by the majority language which in our case is French.

Obviously the best method for us is the ML@H. We’ll be speaking to him in Spanish only, watching some films in Spanish and reading him in Spanish. Now, we normally watch TV both in English and in French. I know that TV doesn’t provide enough interaction to learn a language, but is it a good way to at least provide exposure to these languages? Or does that go against having a standard language at home?

And what about books? Would it be counterproductive to read him from time to time in English? I’m not too worried about French, since that’s the majority language, but I do worry a little about English. Montreal is a very bilingual city, so that’s a big advantage, but certainly we need to find a way to promote English since the public schools and daycare are mostly in French.

Thanks in advance for your answers.


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I would read books to him in english.. sure it will help..
Also can you maybe find a meet up group that speaks english or other parents so you can meet and get together.. maybe hire a english speaking babysitter..
Good luck

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Thanks for the response Sandra. I guess we’ll have to work out some system to read him both in Spanish and English, maybe weekdays in Spanish and weekends in English, something like that.

Any opinions about watching TV in different languages?


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Hi Miguel. I think watching TV in different languages is a fun thing and valuable to a child as well. We live in America, my daughter is 5.5 and I speak only Latvian with her, her father only English. When she was younger, we would watch cartoons on the Spanish channel, and I had a disc of Russian cartoons. These she watched and enjoyed.  I would like to think because of this exposure she was more open to other languages and other sounds that were less familiar. I was disappointed that when she began Chinese immersion, school integration for her was still a struggle. However, I do think it made her more conscious of language overall, and opened her mind just a little. She does not speak Spanish or Russian, but she is curious about languages.  I do not know about using TV as a teaching tool, but this is certainly what is going on even for English speakers in America, with many children cartoons and shows aimed at teaching counting and the alphabet and spelling.  We have used some Chinese videos, but not too much, and more for fun and songs. Good luck! 

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We came to the US with our first child when he was about a year old, with no exposion to English, at that point we placed in day care where only English was spoken, we saw how his speach development in our native language got delayed for few month and then both languages kicked in. He is now 8 and has perfect English and he has very good level of our origin language. Our second child was born here, her nannies were American so she heard both languages almost from birth.
To date I don’t see a big difference in their English or other language level. I would stick to Spanish and maybe when referring to things like water/diaper/food etc would use also the English term.
Another option you might want to consider if the use of baby signs and finding a school that use them with toddlers, this will make it easy for all of you assuming that you will use the signs they are using.

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I just use the books I already have (in English) and write translations in the target language. Then I read the translation to my child. It’s like making your own bilingual books for free! I have other affordable tips on my blog. Check it out!


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