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She Insisted on Speaking Her Native Language to Her Child, But When the School Noticed a Speech Problem with Her Daughter, They Suggested She Only Speak English.

A fierce linguistic battle ensues when the Original Poster (OP), a Bulgarian mother living in England, fiercely insists on speaking to her toddler in her mother tongue, despite her English partner’s opposition. The climax intensifies when the child’s school suspects a speech delay and sides with the father, promoting English for the child’s educational development. Left with a crucial decision to make, the mother must navigate between preserving her cultural heritage and ensuring her child’s social adaptation in a foreign land.

Roots in Multicultural Soil

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OP’s daughter, a 20-month-old toddler, resides in England, born to a Bulgarian mother and an English father. The child presently only says “bye-bye.” OP is frustrated regarding a dilemma that has arisen due to her family’s unique situation.

Discord in the House

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OP’s partner insists that she should speak English with their child, arguing that it should be considered her “mother tongue” since she was born and will be raised in England. He emphasizes the necessity of the child knowing English before Bulgarian due to her future schooling in the country.

The Language of Love

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OP disagrees with her partner, stating that she cannot express her love and affection towards their child as deeply in English as she can in her native Bulgarian. She argues that it’s essential for her daughter to understand and know her language.

Bilingual Understanding

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Despite the debate about what language should be spoken at home, it’s revealed that the child is already bilingual at her comprehension level. Even though she doesn’t speak any words other than “bye-bye,” she understands both English and Bulgarian. This forms a common ground in the ensuing linguistic conflict.

A Mother’s Defiance

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OP is adamant about continuing to speak in her native language to her child, refusing to adhere to her partner’s demands. She seeks to establish a personal connection with her daughter through her mother tongue, despite the increasing tension at home.

The School’s Intervention

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The preschool intervenes, informing the parents about a possible delay in speech development due to the dual language environment. This creates a further stress point in the already strained relationship between the parents. The school’s recommendation sides with the father’s argument of prioritizing English.

The Bilingual Stalemate

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The intervention causes the parents to reassess their linguistic approach. OP is torn between her desire to maintain her cultural heritage and the need for her child to fit into the English-speaking society. The father’s insistence on English only becomes more adamant.

The Compromise

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In order to find a resolution, the parents start discussing a possible compromise. This includes the possibility of OP using both languages when communicating with the child, attempting to balance the language learning environment.

A Dual Language Trial

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The couple agrees to a trial period where OP would use both English and Bulgarian with their child. The result of this experiment would then influence their final decision. It’s a tense period for the family as they wait to see the results.

Growing Pains

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During the trial period, the child initially seems to struggle with the dual language approach. There are moments of frustration as the child tries to make sense of the two languages, causing additional stress for the parents.

The Breakthrough

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Just when the parents are starting to question their decision, the child begins responding in both languages. It’s a breakthrough moment that reassures the parents about their dual-language approach.

An Unexpected Setback

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Despite the initial success, the child faces a setback in school, struggling to keep up with her peers who speak only English. The argument reignites, putting the dual language approach into question again.

A Specialist’s Insight

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The parents seek a language specialist’s advice to resolve their dilemma. The specialist provides an unbiased perspective, indicating that it’s normal for bilingual children to have varied language development patterns. The parents are urged to be patient and supportive.

Was The Mother’s Behavior Appropriate?

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OP posts her story online for feedback. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter. Here are some of their responses:

Forum Responds

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One reader said, “Studies have consistently shown that exposing children to more than one language is extremely beneficial to them. Keep doing it.”

Another Commenter Thinks

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Another responder wrote, “Look up the British Council’s Parent’s Guide To Bilingualism, which summarizes the results of decades of research studies into an easy-to-read guide for parents about what bilingualism is and how it benefits children.”

A Third View on The Story

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A different person stated, “She’ll be quite fluent in English through school, speaking to her father, etc. She’ll learn Bulgarian from you. Speaking to her in English merely robs her of the opportunity to be fully bilingual.”

A Final Perspective on the Matter

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Another reader commented, “If he speaks to her in English and you speak to her in Bulgarian, she will grow up speaking both, and it’ll be natural to her – unlike learning a second language as an adult.”

What Do You Think?

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What are your thoughts on their actions?

What would you have done in this situation?

This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.

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