Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

foreign mother, foreign language?

I am having a language problem to raise my children...I am from Japan and my husband is an Arab. We live in Arab region and raising our children in Arabic but my Arabic is still poor. With my husband, i talk in English at home.

People say that I should talk to my children in my mother tongue and i think so, too.

But, it was more difficult than i had expected.

When my first baby was born, i didn't know how to talk to a baby in any language, so I copied what my mother-in-law did. That was how i started to talk to her in Arabic.

I don't have a Japanese friend or family here to have a Japanese conversation so that my children might have caught some basic essence.

Now, my 4year-old daughter already talks better Arabic than I do. I need to talk with her more.

I still keep trying to speak Japanese but it seems nobody understands how it is difficult.

People still keep asking why i don't talk to them in Japanese and it's depressing me..

Would you understand what I mean..?

8 Answers

  • s
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I can imagine so well what you mean...

    Though I don't have children (yet), I have always had it at the back of my mind that my children would be bilingual, since I was so lucky to learn a second language without effort as a child (by going to an international school)...

    But from what I have heard and read about this topic, bringing up children to be bilingual is so much harder to do than people generally think. It requires an incredible amount of discipline to be consistently using a language that no one else around you is using. And apparently it is important to consistently talk to your child in your mother-tongue because otherwise the child will see no necessity to learn Japanese, as it can talk to you just as well in Arabic...

    I mainly wanted to reply because I understand so well. I would be feeling exactly like you. Some people talk from their own initiative - for them it may be easier to just talk in their mother tongue with no one else there to get them started. But you seem to be like me... I don't start talking easily of my own accord, I react to other people. If you're like that, it's incredibly hard to just talk in your own language when you're so alone with it. For the same reason, I also find it so very difficult to talk to babies. Because normally I react, but with babies I have to be inventive and start saying something myself, and I never know what to say and it makes me feel really silly.

    The only advice I can think of is: Do you see any chance of finding other people of Japanese origin who also have children, so that you could socialize with them, so that speaking Japanese would be easier and would make more sense to you and your daughter?

    All the best to you! Don't let other people make you feel bad about yourself, I think it's so incredibly courageous to be living in a completely different culture with such a different language. You are obviously doing the very best you can. I hope that you will find a way to teach your children Japanese that works for YOU, I hope you will find support so you don't have to be alone with this task. But in the end what's most important is the language of love, anywhere in the world, and your children are sure to learn that from you.

  • mbm244
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I wouldn't worry too much about HOW you talk to your children. Speak to them like you would an adult, only a little slower. Children have an amazing capacity to figure out language, and if you are patient they will learn rapidly. The more they hear, the more they observe, the faster they will learn.

    I teach my niece French sometimes and she often amazes me. Sometimes she comes up with words that I had taught her months before, without my ever having used them again.

    Just keep working on speaking to your daughter the best you can, and she will learn the language. Even if she doesn't become totally fluent, she will still be able to communicate in the language. Also, if she decides to take classes in Japanese later in life, it will be that much easier for her to perfect her abilities because she can already think in the language.

    Best of luck to you.

  • 1 decade ago

    Talk to your children in you native tongue and let your husband do the same. My husband is Arab and I am American. We have no children yet, but I want my children to speak both english and arabic so they can communicate with both sides of their family. I am trying to learn arabic and it is very dificult.

    Teach your children japanese so they can talk and it will be easier for you to keep your language.

  • 1 decade ago

    Try talking to your children in two languages. Maybe you take Japanese and your husband can use arabic. Young children are more or less programmed to learn language. They may learn a little bit more slowly at first, but as they grow they will catch up, and they will be bi-lingual, or even tri-lingual.

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  • 1 decade ago

    i think you need to teach your children your native language if it's okay with your husband. it's good for them to embrace half of their race.

    kids grasp any language really fast. it's really a shame when your kids will not learn your language. i noticed the same with my friends, both parents are filipino or one parent is but their kids can't even understand or speak the filipino language.

    that's what i think. just do whatever is good for your kids. i know it's really hard.

  • 1 decade ago

    My mom was from Germany and My dad from Ukraine. We went to, and I still go as an adult to a Ukrainian Cath. Church and I grew up in the Ukrainian Community. Growing My bother was born in Germany and I Was born here in Connecticut. My dad did not allow either language spoken in the house. Only English. But when Dad went to work , mom spoke to me. sang to me and read children's books she brought from Germany to me. Because of her I speak almost perfect German. As I got older, the kids at church spoke Ukrainian and I couldn't so he sent me for lessons but sadly I still have problems picking up the language. my friends from church who also dad parents from Germany and Ukraine were allowed to and encourage to speak both languages and learn both of them. So I encourage you to talk to your children in all 3 language. Read to them, sing to them and talk to them. They will thank you. Oh by the way. My parents were married almost 50 years and my mom never got to learn the Ukrainian language. Even for years when she attended church and it was only said in Ukrainian, we both did not under stand the service. As a child i asked my mom why w go if we don't understand. She told me that we did not need to understand as long as we believed and prayed to our language, English or German. Teach your children all languages they will thank you when they get older.

  • 1 decade ago

    More languages they will know, more they will have success in travels/jobs/etc....or more confused!

    Try and see!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    ? ? ?

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