Statistically speaking my daughters should not be speaking Spanish. It is a well known fact that most U.S. born individuals lose their parents or grandparents “native” language by the 3rd generation. First generation being the parents that immigrated to the U.S. and 2nd generation being the children born in the U.S. I have to admit we are likely an anomaly in the world of bilinguals in the U.S.A. It really should not come to a surprise that I have managed to raise one very bilingual 5 year old and a 2 year old well on her way to speaking 2 languages as well. After all, I am in the process of getting a Ph.D. in bilingual and bicultural education.
I am writing this post because I think there are distinct approaches in passing a heritage language to 2nd and/or 3rd generation immigrant children being raised in the U.S. As a parent I have certainly experienced what the process is like and as an academic, very well read in the literature of bilingualism, I am also very aware that we raise bilingual kids differently than parents who only speak one language and are seeking to have their child become bilingual.
In future posts, I hope to share a few of the strategies my husband and I learned along the way in our raising of 3rd generation bilinguals.