Canadian: A Guest Post by Bea of The Little Grovers

When Natasha asked me to guest post, I was faced with severe writer’s block and have been putting it off. I am so impressed with how the previous guest writers are teaching their children multiple languages and feel a little intimidated.

I discussed the subject of raising children in a multicultural family with my husband and we came to the same conclusion. Though my heritage is Italian-Irish, and T.’s is Korean we both feel Canadian. My parents immigrated to Canada when they were children and I was raised, for better or worse, in a single language speaking home.

My husband came to Canada as a small child with his grandparents and speaks Korean with his family. Because he has no formal education in Korean, and I’ve been told he speaks like an old country woman due to his dialect, he is not that comfortable conversing in his native language.

This is all a long winded way of saying that we only speak English with our kids at home. There will be the obligatory French language classes in school, but we have no plans to teach our kids Korean or Italian outside of a few phrases.

Both of T.’s grandparents have passed away, and he has a few aunts and uncles here in Canada. I’m sure they would love it if our boys learned Korean, but we do not see them often enough for them to have much influence over the boys language development. And three out of four adult relatives do not speak English though they have lived in English speaking Canada for decades so I do not have a well developed relationship with them.

I took some Italian language classes as a child, and again as an adult but I never really put it into practice and would be incapable of holding a conversation now.

Am I doing a disservice to my children by not teaching them more than one language in these early toddler years? If we as parents are not able to speak more than one language with our kids, should we invest in language classes for our kids?

To catch up with me and my toddler twin boys, you can find us at http://www.littlegrovers.blogspot.com.

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4 thoughts on “Canadian: A Guest Post by Bea of The Little Grovers

  1. Hey Bea,
    Thanks for doing this Guest Post. It’s interesting how language can be lost after immigration. In my case, my parents both speak English and Gujrati, but only spoke to us in English. Like you, I also took some language lessons as a child. Not for very long though, I remember other kids in Lusaka where I grew up, the Greek kids went to Greek school, the Italian kids to Italian school..many of us complained about having to do it. Not sure if they even have lessons for toddlers? And of course the pressure is on for us parents to teach our kids as much as possible while they are little. – I TRY to do what feels right and natural! not sure what it is exactly…..Maybe as older kids, in uni or later, they’ll try to study the languages in their own way, if they are so inclined?

    • Thanks for inviting me Natasha. I do feel it is a loss when our families immigrated to Canada that two or three generations in our original languages are gone. But I guess we’re not alone.

  2. I guess it doesn’t matter how many languages you speak to your kids.. In this series I read about kids growing in a 2, 3 and even 4 languages! But all the mothers say the same: is it enough? Am I denying precious knowledge by not exposing them to more stuff?
    We only speak one language at home, but I was reassured when I realized that more important than teaching languages, is teaching our kids to love diversity and interest them in different cultures . You and your husband are already doing that and that’s fantastic!

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