As our little “babies” get older and enter daycare and preschool, both Yono and I were presented with new challenges and some edits to our different family language diagrams.
These days my 4 year old speaks predominantly in English and my husband and I are fighting the good fight to keep his conversational Cantonese skills up. I do use English with my kids but only when I myself have run out of the correct vocabulary in Cantonese. There are many times that I felt it was more detrimental to use circumlocution with overly basic Cantonese than to use more advanced and accurate words in English. I’m doing the best to use Cantonese as much as possible, and to also pick up new Cantonese vocabulary to stay afloat. Though it is definitely feeling more and more difficult to keep up. This year I’ve felt more committed to really using the mantra that it takes a village to raise my kids to speak Cantonese. We spend as much time as we can with both sets of grandparents and work to make playdates with fellow Cantonese families. I have also found that it is extremely important to realize that we are not alone. We’re not alone in raising our kids to be bilingual or multilingual. We’re not alone in being second generation speakers with limited fluency. I’ve really only just begun to find support online through groups and fellow bloggers and I am extremely encouraged to continue this language journey with my children.
Baby J’s language skills have been exploding recently. While the graph is structurally the same as the last time we looked, the number of words coming out of his mouth has dramatically increased. My mother visited us for almost two weeks, recently. I’ve always told her that she’s only allowed to speak Hebrew to Baby J. Of the three languages, with which we’re raising him, I’m most worried about Hebrew “sticking”. He has far fewer Hebrew sources than German or English. During those two weeks, Baby J’s Hebrew vocabulary improved leaps and bounds. Although, my mother has already left, he still is using more Hebrew than prior to her visit. While Baby J still speaks all three languages to everyone, I have a feeling that he’s starting to separate them. I’ve noticed that Baby J speaks primarily in German to my wife and primarily in English and Hebrew to me. It’s a lot of fun to watch and take part in his language development!