My native language is Tagalog because I grew up in the Philippine Islands until the age of seven. That’s when my siblings and I moved to the United States and started our new life with our adopted parents in Enid, Oklahoma. I started going to school and as I spoke English more and more, I spoke Tagalog less and less. Then one day I forgot the entire language.
Yes, I took French in high school and college. Je m’appelle Diana. Comment allez-vous? Je vais bien, merci!
But no, the language did not stick. I can hardly remember much at all. (What I wrote in French just now, I had to Google!) It’s much harder to learn a second language as an adult, and it didn’t help I never traveled to France where I could put it to use.
My mother-in-law Melody is Venezuelan, and she is fluent in both Spanish and English. When I became pregnant with my son, I asked her to please please speak Spanish to him so he will grow up bilingual. I told her that’s the best present she could give me or her grandson!
My son, Aiden, is 18-months old now and thanks to Melody he is definitely bilingual. Aiden doesn’t say a lot of words yet, but he follows commands in English and Spanish and he knows his body parts in both languages!
For Mother’s Day this year, I wanted to put together something for Aiden to give to his beloved Mimi (Melody). I purchased a stack of Spanish Children’s Books (we didn’t own a single one) so she can read to him in her native language any time he’s over at her house.
I see them spending many hours of quality time together enjoying the books!
Learn a second language, gain a second soul. – Czech Proverb