…by not teaching them a language other than the one they hear every day?
I am not talking about the two or three years of language your child will take in school. I took 3 years of Spanish and still consider the 10 days I spent in Costa Rica at age 16 a better language learning experience. You might know some who took a specific language in both high school and college and can translate and converse well to this day. But I am not talking about that. I am talking about becoming a bilingual family.
As of right now both my husband and I speak fluent American English and that is it. We plan on changing that. It made sense at first to learn Spanish. There are a lot of Spanish speaking people in America. We are also close to many Spanish speaking countries that would be nice to visit. Many items in stores are now boxed with labels in both English and Spanish, making it very recognizable. Spanish seems like the most useful choice while living in America.
But then I thought about something different. Speaking Spanish will be extremely useful in situations where English is not known. But English can be learned. What about American Sign Language? Those who use sign language can not learn any other language. They are reliant on their knowledge and the knowledge others have about the language. In a situation where I would need to speak to someone who is deaf I would not know how. I would have to hope that writing things out would suffice. I can not simply rely on a deaf person to fluently speak my language to talk to me (as we sometimes think with others who speak different languages). I think I have to be the one to learn theirs.
Has anyone attempted to learn (as a family, not just teaching babes “signs”) sign language in order to use it fluently? I know nothing of it, even of it’s difficulty.