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Multilingual baby first words

Since I am the person who spend most of the time with my baby girl and despite all the Hungarian and English she has been exposed to, I was really thinking that she will speak in Spanish first. Of course, I was wrong. No matter how many stories I have told her, how many games we played everyday and how many songs we listened to in Spanish, her first word was “Apa” (Dad in Hungarian). What a disappointment, right?

I belive all mums hope that “Mum” will be the very first word of our babies, unfortunately “mum” it is unlikely to be the first word of any child and it is… understandable. With “understandable” I mean that there are plenty of papers and researches proving that when mum is staying at home, Dad is more likely to be the first word baby says.  However, when you are raising a multilingual baby you kind of hope “Mum” to be the first word but your child will say in your mother tongue.

My adorable 13 months old baby girl started calling me “Anya” (Mum in Hungarian), even if the Hungarian family refers to me as “Mami or Mamá” (Mum in Spanish), she decided to call me in the Hungarian way. My husband insist she is not actually saying that, but believe me: she is. I know he says that to give some hope but it is ok darling (I know you are reading this), I am not that disappointed anymore 🙂 Actually it does not matter which language she speaks to me, my heart always pump faster when she calls for me.

First Words

I am not disappointed with the fact that Hungarian will be her first language, that was part of the deal when I decided to have a baby in this country and with a Hungarian man. So it would be unrealistic to think it would be any different. Moreover, I know she understands Spanish because she shows agreement or disagreement towards my sentences or commands and she is visible happy when I tell her “is lunch time” or  “we are going to the playground”. Moreover, she is saying some stuff in Spanish: “teta” (boob –saying it when asking to be breastfeed-), “hola” (hi), “no” (no).

Regarding her English comprehension I must say it is “a work in progress” on one hand and thanks to all the songs and games we are doing at the English Club (and sometimes at home too) she seems to start putting together words with actions or objects. And on the other hand, whenever she hears English she raise her head and pays attention to whoever is speaking. I would say that she knows “it is not normal” for people (I mean in her enviroment) to talk in this language because she seems always very surprised when she hears English outside the English club (read more here) or  the radio/tv, etc..

This multilingual challenge is only starting. I am really exceited about it! I will keep you posted with her progress 🙂

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Multilingual baby first words by madrexilio is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Internacional
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4 Responses
  • Leanna @ Alldonemonkey
    diciembre 17, 2013

    Ah yes, I remember when my son first started speaking, and my husband and I were having a friendly competition about what language he would choose to speak more of! In the end, it all changed once he got older and started to spend more time with local children. Now the scale has definitely tipped in favor of the local language (English), but I believe that as the stay-at-home mom you will have a heavy influence on his language skills, so keep up the good work! It will definitely pay off! (Our case is a little different, since I am the stay at home mom and also speak the local language).

    • madrexilio
      diciembre 19, 2013

      Thank you very much Leanna for you encouraging comment
      I’m doing my best. I know she will speak faster Hungarian than Spanish, but as I said: it’s part of the deal 🙂

  • Abbi Gutierrez
    diciembre 17, 2013

    Thanks for your post. I am excited to see what language my son’s first words will be in. He’s now 15 months… lots of babbling and he understands some Spanish and a little English.

    • madrexilio
      diciembre 19, 2013

      Thank you for stopping by and leave me a comment. I’ll be happy to hear more about your son first words 🙂

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