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Expecting a baby with Polish partner - "multi-cultural pregnancy/parenting"?


Natalka_84 1 | 11
13 Aug 2011 #1
I'm currently 6 months pregnant with my partner and I's first child - baby will be multi-cultural as I speak both English & Spanish (I'm Scottish) and my partner is Polish. Would like to hear of anyone else's experiences of "multi-cultural pregnancy/parenting".... :)
Wroclaw Boy
13 Aug 2011 #2
Would like to hear of anyone else's experiences of "multi-cultural pregnancy/parenting".... :)

we had a baby - end of, what would you like to know specifically? Are you worried about something?
OP Natalka_84 1 | 11
13 Aug 2011 #3
Where is your partner from? Is your little one growing up bi-lingual? Any problems learning different languages?
Wroclaw Boy
13 Aug 2011 #4
You cant bombard a baby early on with two different languages IMO, they'll just become confused. I dont have the parent manual on being a parent let alone being a parent of one nationality and the other another. Not being sarcastic just stating a fact.

However the way we plan it is for our daughter to primarily learn English and then introduce Polish gradually, Shes only just started stringing together English words, of the very basic format, daddy go to work, i want ice cream etc.... My wife does speak to her in Polish occasionally and she has picked up some words. Its early stages, i dont really know to be honest. I have friends whos children spend a couple of months a year with their Polish gradparents and they pick it up very easily.

What i do know is that it would be a tragedy for a child of foreign parents to not be bi-lingual.
f stop 25 | 2,513
13 Aug 2011 #5
Just do what comes naturally. Unless you won't have the child watch TV or in daycare, he'll speak English by kindergarten.
Neither me nor my son's father were native speakers and he steadfastly refuses to learn foreign languages. In his travels he tries to help everyone with their English. ;)

Stubborn, he got from his Polish side, lazy - Cuban.
Best of luck!
OP Natalka_84 1 | 11
13 Aug 2011 #6
Completely agree -- we've always said baby will eventually speak at least 3 languages as a lot of my family are still in Spain,inc my mum, and all his family are in Poland. We all learned Spanish from a very early age except my youngest brother who learned it from a baby - if I remember rightly he was fine,but I think its a helluva lot to take in at that age.....sounds like you've got a good plan in gear,with regards to introducing it gradually. Just worry really that its too much as you get the usual advice that kids learn quicker at a young age but dont want to fry the kid's brain either lol
isthatu2 4 | 2,702
13 Aug 2011 #7
Kids brains cant get fried,they just stop taking in when it gets too much,and,frankly,unless your kid has problems( and it wont ) the limit is far higher than most expect.

Think about it,essentially in the space of 4 or 5 years a child learns more than an adult does in a lifetime.
And,at first if they add in one or two Polish words in an English sentence,hey,c'est la vie ;)
f stop 25 | 2,513
13 Aug 2011 #8
Well, what felt natural to us, was English, because that's how we communicated (terms of endearment, lullabies and extended families notwithstanding).
What my son got out of it was that we all should speak the same language and he's betting on English. ;)
rybnik 18 | 1,461
13 Aug 2011 #9
my daughter was born in Poland when she was 3 we moved to the States where she learned English by osmosis(TV mainly) while we continued speaking Polish at home. She's been comfortable bi-lingual ever since.
pip 10 | 1,659
13 Aug 2011 #10
You cant bombard a baby early on with two different languages IMO, they'll just become confused.

actually you are grossly off on this. Children can learn up to six languages by the time they are six. Teaching a child from the beginning is the best thing a parent can do. Their brains are sponges and the part of the brain that assimilates languages is ready for languages.

I know this because I studied it in school in Canada.
I also know this because I have two completely bilingual daughters. We speak two languages at home. My husband speaks only Polish to the girls and I speak only English. We have no problems at all.

It is later in life that language becomes more difficult to learn.
The best thing you can do for your child, and cheapest and easiest is to speak your mother tongue and your partner speak his. The baby will be able to handle it.
OP Natalka_84 1 | 11
13 Aug 2011 #11
Will bear this in mind pip -- like your kids,we were brought up from a young age completely bilingual,after mum moved to Spain. Youngest bro was brought up with both languages from birth and he hasnt had any problems. We spend a lot of time in Spain and Poland so its inevitable that kid will learn all 3 -- not a bad thing! Will hopefully bring good job prospects! lol :)
Wroclaw Boy
13 Aug 2011 #12
Will hopefully bring good job prospects! lol :)

Indeed we have to concern ourselves with our little ones financial earning capabilities from a very young age. Lets just forget about a sound upbringing and concentrate on our children's ability to succeed in a monetary fashion.

I know this because I studied it in school in Canada.

Ohh for fcuk sake if youre not talking about your economic husband then its all about yourself and your education. So, you studied this in School therefore it must be correct, people are different. Do you actually have any of your own opinions other than your husbands and the one taught to you by a government agency aka School?

Get a life PIP seriously, you need to un teach yourself what you have been taught.
OP Natalka_84 1 | 11
13 Aug 2011 #13
Do u know something,theres no need for that - ive hardly posted on this site,and no wonder,apparently u cant make a joke without someone jumping down your throat! And for the record -- in this financial climate - i think u DO!!
Wroclaw Boy
13 Aug 2011 #14
Im not talking to you Natalka, i'd never insult a pregnant woman, you have a little one inside of you, you need to be thinking about strawberries and cakes and stuff, all nice little fluffy things and just general niceness. You should be dreaming fairies with cute little fluttering pink wings.

Nah its PIP that annoys me a little bit, thats what i was talking about, you just concentrate on measuring your belly, eating stuff etc... Garlic cheese burgers - bring it on, your friggen pregnant....

WB: has a soft spot for pregnant women.
Culturesrock - | 3
14 Aug 2011 #15
If you want your baby to get familiar with Polish, you might play her some of these Dino Lingo Polish DVDs. After she gets at least 6 months though dinolingo.com/languages/polish.html
pip 10 | 1,659
14 Aug 2011 #16
Ohh for fcuk sake if youre not talking about your economic husband then its all about yourself and your education

you really are a major arsehole. Why would I comment on something if I haven't studied it? I went to school in Canada to be a preschool/nursery school teacher- I studied language. This has nothing to do with my husband or the fact that he studied economics. This is what I know from my school and from work experiences. I have worked with loads of children that have no problems assimilating two or more languages as well as my own children who are completely bilingual. Not to mention teaching English to Polish children and adults and noticing that the children learned so much easier and quicker than the adults.

I disagree with your opinion that children will mix up two languages. So what. I disagree because it is a fact. Perhaps you should actually learn something so that your opinions are not wrong and stop insulting people when they disagree with you.

As for my husband being an economics major- the only one who brings this up is you. Time and time again. I have maybe said it once. He is actually in real estate- which I have also only said once, now twice.

Clearly you have a problem with me, that is fine, because it would appear as though you have a problem with a lot of people. What I don't understand is why you think you are so much better than anyone else. This is a personality issue that you have and not a nationality issue. My grandparents immigrated to Canada from a town just outside of Liverpool as did the majority of relatives on my mothers side. They were the nicest and funnest people I have ever known.

You are just a typical obnoxious as$hole who hides behind a nationality.

Will bear this in mind pip -- like your kids,we were brought up from a young age completely bilingual,after mum moved to Spain. Youngest bro was brought up with both languages from birth and he hasnt had any problems. We spend a lot of time in Spain and Poland so its inevitable that kid will learn all 3 -- not a bad thing! Will hopefully bring good job prospects! lol :)

Natalka, once of the best gifts you can give your child- and the cheapest is the gift of language. Honestly, your children will have no problems learning more than one language. There is a little girl next door to us who speaks Polish, Italian and English.

My husbands good friend speaks Polish, French, Italian and English.
I speak English and Polish -I used to speak French.
My husband speaks Polish, German and English (he won't admit to Russian but he speaks that too)
I could give you the technical reasons of why it is better to learn when they are younger- but it is probably too boring but just know it is a good thing.
dr_rabbit 5 | 90
14 Aug 2011 #17
Natalka, once of the best gifts you can give your child- and the cheapest is the gift of language.

I absolutely agree: we are expecting our first baby within weeks and we are planning on each of us speaking our mother tongue. HOWEVER I was initially wondering about introducing German along with Polish and English, because my mother speaks German fluently, and the research that I found suggested that while 2 languages is good for a baby from birth (both parent's mother tongues), you need to wait a while for the introduction of a third language. I can't recall where it was that I read that, but it was certainly some sort of cognitive development/ linguistic research and not an internet forum ;-) Have a bit of a read on google scholar, you'll find some good articles.

Three languages from each of the three major language groups of europe has got to be great for your kid!
Wroclaw Boy
14 Aug 2011 #18
Not to mention teaching English to Polish children and adults and noticing that the children learned so much easier and quicker than the adults.

OK fine, of course children will learn quicker im not debating that. In your expert opinion at what age do you think you should start introducing the second language? How can children differentiate between the two? I have been told that if you introduce the second language to early the baby will become confused.

You are just a typical obnoxious as$hole who hides behind a nationality.

what, steady on. I'm not hiding behind a nationality at all, nationality is totally irrelevant.
dr_rabbit 5 | 90
14 Aug 2011 #19
How can children differentiate between the two?

The children differentiate if each parent exclusively uses their mother tongue while addressing the child. Children can strongly identify their parents voices and when they are being talked to much before they can speak themselves (assymetric language acquisition). Haven't had the opportunity to put it into practice yet... :)
pip 10 | 1,659
14 Aug 2011 #20
In your expert opinion at what age do you think you should start introducing the second language?

from the beginning.
I am not going to get technical with words- you can google that yourself, however- the part of the brain that assimilates language and speech etc (neocortex) from birth if a child is immersed in two languages this part will allow the languages to grow in the brain together. (I hope this makes sense) I guess you could say the brain files them together.

If a child learns only one language and later on in life learns another (I believe it is after age 13- but I could be wrong about that) the neocortex will categorize the first language and the second language separately. They may know two languages but how the brain categorizes them is different.

It is totally possible to be bilingual at a later age- however, it is easier for the brain to do this from the very beginning when it is still developing.

I am not sure what you mean by "the baby will become confused" All languages are confusing for children as they learn and grow.

My immediate experience is my family.
I have two girls- girls typically learn languages faster than boys- this is not a hard and fast rule but statistically it is the case.

My eldest was born in Canada. From the beginning my husband and in laws only spoke Polish to her. English, however, was the dominant language. When she was 3 we moved to Warsaw and she went to an international school where her teacher was Polish but spoke English. My daughter was picking up these crazy pronunciations and one day we were driving and she asked me what that bright yellow thing in the sky was called- that summer we spent in Canada. She now goes to a different international school where the teachers come from all parts of the world- as do the student.

my youngest was born in Warsaw. Polish was her dominant language until she started international school and spoke English with her classmates.
My eldest always new who to speak Polish to and who to speak English to.
My youngest often mixed up the languages but now she doesn't.

It is much like learning to talk, read or write. Initially there is confusion (not major confusion) but as the brain grows the languages grow and develop too. Ultimately what is the big deal if children make grammatical or language errors when they are young. It is part of the learning process.

How can children differentiate between the two? I have been told that if you introduce the second language to early the baby will become confused.

The children differentiate if each parent exclusively uses their mother tongue while addressing the child. Children can strongly identify their parents voices and when they are being talked to much before they can speak themselves (assymetric language acquisition). Haven't had the opportunity to put it into practice yet... :)

I have put this into practice two times with no problems. Their brains are sponges- they can accommodate a second language with no problems.
Wroclaw Boy
14 Aug 2011 #21
And for the record -- in this financial climate - i think u DO!!

its this financial climate that has galvanized my opinions.

I hate the fact that i need to be concerned about my child's education with making money being at the forefront - and its getting worse. Parents dont let their children pursue education for the sake of learning anymore, its all about the money and future job prospects. Economics, advertising, banking, the stock market - doesnt benefit society at all, only takes.


  • thats what its all about in this society.

  • is this not the Truth of capitalism?
bullfrog 6 | 602
28 Aug 2011 #22
The children differentiate if each parent exclusively uses their mother tongue while addressing the child.

Totally agree with Pip.. I am myself french, my wife polish and we each spoke in our own language to our kids. Since we were also living in London when they grew up, they ended up being fluent in english, french and polish, and to answer WB, no they don't confuse the languages!
pawian 182 | 17,048
28 Aug 2011 #23
Would like to hear of anyone else's experiences of "multi-cultural pregnancy/parenting".... :)

With two parents who love each other, the child won`t have any problems at all, no matter of his/her origin. As simple as that.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
28 Aug 2011 #24
A case I have personally observed was a Brit married to a Lebanese lady -- he spoke to their baby daughter in English, the mother in French, the grandfather in Arabic and the nanny in Polish. (They were living in Warsaw.) By age 3 the little girl in a room unfailingly addressed her dad in English, automatically switched to French whent he mother appeared, then turned to the nanny in Polish and asked her granddad about soemthing in Arabic. Whether this is a normative thing or a one-off sitaution -- nie wiem. But having myself been raised bilingually, I had a much easier time of it than my monoglot peers when studing German, French, Russian and Spanish.
Guest
28 Aug 2011 #25
You cant bombard a baby early on with two different languages IMO, they'll just become confused

WHAT A LOT OF RUBBISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !
I AM POLISH MY HUSBAND IS ENGLISH,WE LIVE IN ENGLAND,MY HUSBAND SPEAKS TO OUR CHILD IN ENGLISH AND I SPEAK IN POLISH ONLY!!!!!!!!FROM DAY ONE!!!!

MY DAUGHTER NEVER GOT CONFUSED!!!!NEVER EVEN MADE A MISTAKE,YOU HAVE TO SPEAK TO YOUR CHILD IN 2 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES FROM THE START,THEY WILL UNDERSTAND THAT POLISH IS THE MUMS LANGUAGE AND ENGLISH IS DADS,OR THE OTHER WAY AROUND

MY DAUGHTER IS 6 NOW AND FLUENT IN BOTH LANGUAGES!!!!WHEN WE GO TO POLAND PEOPLE THINK THAT SHE WAS BORN IN POLAND THAT IS HOW WELL SPOKEN SHE IS.

IF YOU START SPEAKING TO YOUR CHILD LATER ON IN LIFE IN POLISH IT WILL BE LIKE LEARNING A FORIGN LANGUAGE......,AND THEY MIGHT NEVER SPEAK FLUENT,AND THEY WILL HAVE A "FUNNY" ACCENT,I KNOW A FEW PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE JUST THAT AND THEIR KIDS BY AGE 6 SPEAK JUST A FEW SIMPLE WORDS!!!!!WHAT A SHAME
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
28 Aug 2011 #26
!!!!NEVER EVEN MADE A MISTAKE

don't exaggerate.

all kids have problems pronouncing some words and have little or no idea of grammar or vocabulary. so to say that any child never made a mistake is complete nonsense.
urszula 1 | 253
28 Aug 2011 #27
You cant bombard a baby early on with two different languages IMO, they'll just become confused

No they won't. I speak only Polish to my children and their father speaks english to them. They are not confused. They automatically translate words into the other language, they are more advanced in school because their brains aare more developed. They do not mix words from one language with the other. Teach your child the other language as soon as it's born because as people get older, they speak with an accent. Also if you live in the US, english will be no problem to learn, as the child watches TV, goes to school and hears the english language everyday, so when at home, the emphasis should be the another language.
pip 10 | 1,659
28 Aug 2011 #28
They do not mix words from one language with the other.

my oldest one didn't but my youngest one did. It depends on the child.
f stop 25 | 2,513
29 Aug 2011 #29
AND THEY MIGHT NEVER SPEAK FLUENT,

your CAPS LOCK button is stuck on. And we need more exclamation points.
TheMan - | 56
29 Aug 2011 #30
Lol, you lot crack me up. My other half speaks 3 languages fluently and 2 a little. I only speak two (English and Bad English) I can't really offer much variety.... :(


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