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PostPosted: Thu 10 Aug 2017 12:56 pm 
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Interesting thread. My wife and I want to have children soon, I want her to speak to them in French, and I'll speak to them in Breton and Irish. So far I thought about alternating Breton and Irish every other day. There are Breton-speaking people here (but we don't see them every day) but of course nobody else who speaks Irish...
I know the rule 1 person=1 language, but I really want my children to speak Irish so I don't see any other solution...

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Aug 2017 3:33 pm 
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Lughaidh wrote:
I know the rule 1 person=1 language, but I really want my children to speak Irish so I don't see any other solution...

I've been speaking 3 languages to my son and it's going very well. But I make a big effort, and I think this is necessary for what I'm doing. English is our main language but he goes to a French-speaking crèche, so I taught him French so that his time at crèche would be used practising French with native speakers instead of wasting that opportunity. And he might start in a Dutch-speaking play school next year, so I'm teaching him enough Dutch that he won't be at too much a disadvantage compared to the natives. When he's using French and Dutch with natives, I'll stop using those languages with him.

One of my tactics is to constantly talk. Every time we go up or down a stairs we count the steps or do a, b, c. When I push the buggy down the street I narrate all the parked cars "White car, blue car, yellow van...", or I ask him all the colours. We read together for 30 or 40 minutes every evening. And I make him use correct words instead of just pointing or saying "this, this, this".

If I have more kids, I'll speak Irish right from the start (even if that means 4 languages), for two reasons:

One is that I saw a study showing that babies already have an accent by 8 months - babies in the West of Flanders cry different to those in the East. So they're already absorbing what they hear before that age.

And my own experience is that before 24 months I could tell him what language to speak in, and he would. Or ask him to translate words into another language. I guess at that age they're just happy to be getting attention, or maybe they just don't realise they could say no. But after 24 months, he's starting to rebel and he sometimes wants things in English since it takes him the least effort.

I know that he'll speak Irish - I have enough strategies and patience - but it probably would have been easier if I'd started earlier.

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A page I made: Teaching Young Kids Irish
(It's just some notes, and very much a work in progress.)


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PostPosted: Thu 10 Aug 2017 10:22 pm 
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Our man in Brussels wrote:
One is that I saw a study showing that babies already have an accent by 8 months


I read that too. Up until that age, maybe a little longer, babies babble in all the sounds likely in any language. But once they start learning what is to become their native language they will forget the other sounds. And after that whatever new language they learn will have an accent, maybe a little or maybe profound but there will be a difference. That's where accents come from. It doesn't matter how educated you are but if you are Japanese you will speak English with a Japanese accent, or speak English with an Indian accent etc.


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PostPosted: Tue 15 Aug 2017 8:14 pm 
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A study we read about in a language acquisition class I took in university found that feti already acquire a basic "accent" in the womb. Babies born of French speaking families and of German speaking families had significantly different cries immediately upon birth. It gives a whole new meaning to having the language ó dhúchas!

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