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Old 22-12-2018, 09:07   #31
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Re: Second language for kids

Relevant at Christmas https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/stories-46650911
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Old 22-12-2018, 18:35   #32
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Re: Second language for kids

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Hello everyone, I had a question about what would be a good second language for children to learn / be exposed to before going out cruising. We are a Canadian family that is essentially monolingual English. I am able to get by in French. Our children are starting kindergarten next year, and the wife and I are debating whether or not to put them in an immersion language program, or just to keep them in the English stream.

We initially thought that Spanish immersion might be good, because we plan on cruising for 1-2 years in the Caribbean to get started, before considering cruising in the South Pacific afterwards. However some people suggested perhaps French might be a good second language to pick up, so that that way the children can meet more friends, for example another kid boats.

Thank you for your advice and experience in this regard!
If it was going to just be the Caribbean then it would be a toss up between Spanish or French depending on route taken. Going into the Pacific, French.
French will help them along at home in Canada.

I would go with having them learn French and work on Spanish myself to deal with the possibility of travelling along Central America.

We were considering a trip to NewZealand. My research indicated everywhere along the way spoke 2 languages, English and some local language or French and some local language. I started working on French but that has stalled since the trip seems to have died on the vine.
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Old 22-12-2018, 18:40   #33
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Re: Second language for kids

Spanish if you want to spend a lot of time in the Americas.


Chinese if you want to speak the language of the future and spent time in SE Asia.


Russian if you want to immerse yourself in poetry, literature, and theater. If you want to hear and know the untranslatable. Warning though -- it's a really hard language.



French if you want a little of everything -- great literature, plus quite a few places where you can practically use it.
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Old 22-12-2018, 20:29   #34
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Re: Second language for kids

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7,000 languages are currently left in the world.

One disappears about every fortnight.

Half are expected to be extinct by the end of this century.

And over 800 of them are spoken in just one country
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Old 23-12-2018, 14:44   #35
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Re: Second language for kids

I have a German ex and the kids grew up in a dual language house. I'd go to work and the house was full German till I got back. German cartoons, German story books, etc. It took some effort/discipline to keep the house in a different language but was worth it. One thing that really helped was to keep making them proud of knowing more than one way to talk. Of course, the rest of their friends spoke English and it was on the TV and in school, so they had no problems with it. Then the kids picked up Spanish in high school and from friends. Out in public was fun because most Americans are stuck in English so we could talk privately by just switching.

My first two thoughts are to start them as soon as possible and the 2nd language almost doesn't matter, the point is for them to get used to being able to switch. After the first couple of languages, picking up more gets more interesting and less difficult.

The trip is in the future, they are Canadian citizens, and you live in Canada for the foreseeable future, so the obvious choice to me is French. There were so many French colonies that it'll help wherever you go. Plus, picking up Spanish words are pretty easy if you already know French. Since you are already fluent in one of the most common Asian languages, make a game out of teaching those words at home, too.

Their ability to pick up and learn at this young age while you have complete control has no limits like we all have as we get older.

Most of all - Have fun with them in this!
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:51   #36
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Re: Second language for kids

How are you not teaching your kids Cantonese? Or the writing?
Knowing a bit of French, you can get past restaurant Spanish quite quickly.

Some Canadian school boards - Toronto being one - offer 'extended French' beginning gr4: English everything except for French class and I sometimes one other. What a concept!

Learning on boats, I think, is a bit like learning on a farm: this thing I'm teaching you is useful now. Here, now you try. "This will be useful someday, pay attention" style teaching saps the joy out of the experience. Learning Spanish in a Spanish country makes all the difference.

I am somewhat wowed at the people who park somewhere for months while their kids attend local school.
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Old 14-03-2019, 01:19   #37
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Re: Second language for kids

i've got a french girlfriend (here in France) who, with the help of her japanese husband, raised her daughter to speak four languages fluently.

How did she do it?

she would let her daughter watch films in Japanese or in French ONE TIME for comprehension.

her daughter loved the Ghibli films (Princess Mononoké, Naussica, Torotoro), so she watched these first in Japanese (one time), then in English, then in Spanish, depending on their social lives.

for instance, my kids and i (who speak English exclusively together in France) spent time together with her daughter during the English phase of learning

and then my girlfriend's brother-in-law spoke spanish with her nieces, so the two families would arrange vacations together. during this time, she would let her daughter watch her favourite films in Spanish only

Her polyglot daughter is 16 today and can pick up languages just like that. she is amazing!


so my suggestion is that whatever language you pick for your kids, let the dvds they watch do the work for you (do not let them watch anything in English a second time) and look for ways for your two to play with kids who speak that language. ideally you would organise vacations in a place where there will be local kids playing.

at any age, interactions and fun make for huge progress.




good luck to you!
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Old 22-03-2019, 11:24   #38
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Re: Second language for kids

My suggestion is Spanish unless the Canadian in you would find more value with French. Unless you plan to spend time in Asia, Spanish is likely the most utilitarian language in the Americas, and if you already have English and some French, it adds something the family doesn't already have. Then again, if they learn French you can all work together as a family to improve and maintain.
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