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Old 10-10-2018, 06:05   #16
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Re: Second language for kids

If you want your kids to be able to talk to other cruiser's children then English will probably work 90% of the time. If you want your kids to be able to talk to the kids they meet on the islands that you visit (which is what I would want), then Spanish is more prevalent in the Eastern Caribbean than French. More of the local kids that your children might interact with will be Spanish speakers than French speakers (with the obvious exception of the few French islands). Though the reality is that even if they only speak English they will manage well enough with other children most of the time.


Good luck, whatever you decide.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:10   #17
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Re: Second language for kids

Following.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:35   #18
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Re: Second language for kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
If you want your kids to be able to talk to other cruiser's children then English will probably work 90% of the time. If you want your kids to be able to talk to the kids they meet on the islands that you visit (which is what I would want), then Spanish is more prevalent in the Eastern Caribbean than French. More of the local kids that your children might interact with will be Spanish speakers than French speakers (with the obvious exception of the few French islands). Though the reality is that even if they only speak English they will manage well enough with other children most of the time.


Good luck, whatever you decide.
I have been here in the Eastern Caribbean for 3 years and not met any children that spoke Spanish south Puerto Rico. However, pretty much every one of them spoke French (including all the local kids here in Grenada). Of course most of them also spoke English (with the exception of Gaudaloupe). I'm not sure why you would say Spanish is more prevelant.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:46   #19
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Re: Second language for kids

If you have specific destinations, look up the language and estimate how long you will be in each. Of course look up English as a second language in those destinations. Particularly in tourist areas, it's rare to have difficulty with just English. (wikipedia has several articles breaking it down by country)

If you are just going for long term utility even after the cruising days are done, Spanish is the most wide spread and being a Romance language will make it easier to pick up the other Romance languages or at least muddle thru in a pinch, so that would be my recommendation.

Unless you plan to work in and around China...really not worth the trouble and even then, English is the lingua-franca, so not really critical.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:20   #20
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Re: Second language for kids

Without question, ALL kids should master Spanish-Latin American style. This is the way of the future. In my lifetime the USA will become a Spanish speaking majority. English will become the small second line on signs. Demographics do not lie.
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Old 10-10-2018, 13:14   #21
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Re: Second language for kids

Hello, elee,

Super question, and here's my two cents:

1) French first, because Canada's bilingual. French and Spanish are very similar, actually, in their grammar, with many cognates, so either can provide an underlying basis for the other, but I think French first, because the children are at the time in their lives where it is easy to learn language, and if they have the French, they will pick up the Spanish, in the Caribbean, almost by osmosis! And Spanish opens the door for Italian, too, so that's all good.

2) French first, also, because i expect you'll encounter more French speaking peoples than Spanish, unless you're going to South America.

3) If your kids can also learn Mandarin at this time (if the instruction is readily available), then you could certainly talk to the teachers about it. It might be overload; it might be an amusing compare and contrast sort of situation, and open up all of linguistics!

Sorry, that was three cents.

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Old 10-10-2018, 15:50   #22
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Re: Second language for kids

In particular re Ann’s first point, our daughter grew up bilingual French-English, and has since had no trouble picking up other Latin languages to the extent required for her travels. And my own experience is that if you are at least able to provide some feedback in the language they’re learning it will enhance the experience. In our case I provided English feedback and my wife provided French.

(And BTW - what part of Alberta? I grew up in Lacombe - French name, no French spoken.)
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:09   #23
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Re: Second language for kids

I believe that children can soak up multiple languages at the same time. Spanish and Mandarin would be my picks. Spanish for cruising Caribbean/South America and Mandarin for later life. Being able to speak Mandarin will open doors in the future (plan ahead). As China’s tourist numbers increase rapidly, shop owners, hotels, and immigration officers in many countries have learnt Mandarin. My wife, who can speak Cantonese and Mandarin, is often greeted and spoken to in Mandarin in places we travel. Even in USVI and BVIs I was surprised at how many people would speak to her in Mandarin. To do any business in China you need to speak Mandarin.
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