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Preserving your home language

Would it be nice if your child was able to speak your (your family’s) native language? But do you feel that no matter how hard you try he is losing it? Many immigrant families in the U.S, France, Germany, Spain and other countries feel that way. Is there a way to help your child to keep it and to be able to use it? I say that you (the child’s parents) know your native language well enough, then it shouldn’t be a problem at all for your child. Persistence is a key word here. In this article I will share some LOL (laws of language), or, the tips, which, I believe, are critical in preserving your native language. Those are the same principles I use in my own family, and all my 3 children (3, 8, 10) speak, read and write fluently in Russian. And because I live in the US, and my native language is Russian, I will refer to this language in the article. Feel free to substitute it for your own language/country – the LOL (laws of language) will stay the same.           1.  The top secret here (which is not really a secret) is to speak this language exclusively at home. You know that learning comes from hearing and practicing               (repeating). Make your child to constantly hear Russian language when you, the parents, speak it, and make him or her to answer your questions, or make their initial requests ONLY in Russian. One of two things can happen: either you will shift to your child’s language (English), or child will shift to yours (Russian). It’s proven. I have seen lot’s of families, and it goes like this: if Russian has always been spoken at home, kids will always use Russian to communicate with family members. No matter where they are (school, clinic, store, etc…), they will talk in Russian to their parents. It’s psychology – their brain clicks to adjust to the correct language with correct people…or else, you can call it a habit. By the way, this “clicking” makes brain to work harder, which increases children’s intelligence. My kids see (or hear) me speaking in English only to the people that cannot speak Russian. And guess what – they do the same thing. So, the rule of thumb here is: when kiddo approaches you speaking in English, please don’t bother to “transfer” to... read more

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