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Language spoken in your house


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#1 Guest_musaafirah_*

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 04:41 PM

Asalaamu Alaikum,

I am not pregnant yet, but this is something I wonder about a lot. I speak Moroccan Arabic (darija) and dh speaks Palestinian and a considerable amount of fusha. I want our children to learn fusha which is a lot closer to falasteeni Arabic than Moroccan. But to tell you the truth, I don't understand his dialect at all, and he doesn't understand mine, so we end up speaking English in the house (which I don't like!  126.gif ). When we have children, I don't want them to first learn English, but I don't know how to solve the problem, because dh definitely doesn't want them to learn Moroccan (at least not first) for many reasons (which are probably obvious to most  laugh.gif ). And even though we'd like to speak Arabic with eachother, we can't!

So, what language do you speak in your household and what languages do your children speak?

#2 ummsulayman1

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 06:43 PM

Assalamalaikum,
Ahh, this is something that has bothered me since marriage as well. We speak english at home.  My husband does speak arabic to the kids once in awhile, which I dont think is good.  I wish he'd be more persistant and speak only arabic to them.  I used to speak arabic to the kids.  I stopped because I'm not fluent in arabic, so as my oldest son grew up I couldn't explain myself well.   Since our plans changed and couldn't move to the ME, I switched to english.  This kind of effected him in the long run because although he does well at school, he can't explain things as well as other kids in his grade.  

So it is good that your thinking about this before hand.  I remember reading an answer to a multi lingual couple and how they should raise the child.  The answer was that the parent should speak to the child in his/her native language.  That kids can speak many languages.  For instance if mother's native langauge is french she should speak to her child in french.  If father's native language is spanish, he should speak to his child in that language.  The child will identify the person and the languages.   But I understand where your coming from, morrocan arabic is way different than most arabic dialects.

I'd suggest you speaking english and your husband speaking arabic to your child.  Then again, if the child hears you speaking to eachother in english, that wont help much either.   blush.gif   Another option would to be, speak english at home and rely on a relative that would be able to only converse to your child in arabic.  That could work.

#3 UmmHafsah

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 07:16 PM

Assalamu aliakum,

We're both Falasteeni, but with different accents (mine with a Jordanian tint, and his with an Egyptian tint).  We speak mostly in Arabic together and with the girls (with English thrown in here and there in about every other sentence  rolleyes.gif , mostly on my part).  Masha Allah, Hafsah speaks mostly in Arabic with a few English words here and there (Excuse me, please, thank you, sorry, it's ok, etc. etc.).  

I totally understand about the different accents, though.  It can be hard.. especially going from Morrocan to Palestinian... but practice makes perfect, right? wink.gif  Him speaking Falasteeni with loads of fus-ha, and you speaking Morroccan with loads of fus-ha kind of puts a middle ground between you two and opens up lines of communication in Arabic  happy.gif  .  Plus you'll get used to each other's accents with time.  Have you moved in together or not yet?  When you're living together there are more opportunities to make it work.  I have a Lebanese friend who is married to a Tunisian brother (you can imagine!).  At first they both had trouble.. her Arabic is weak already, and the Tunisian accent is hard to understand! But now, 2.5 yrs down the line.. they totally understand everything.. and she even uses Tunisian words sometimes when she's talking.  My sister is married to a Libyan brother.  Honestly, when I hear him talk.. I have trouble understanding everything he says.  But my sister is now totally cool with the accent (after only 6 months of marriage), and when she wants to tease him, she speaks Libyan.  He now also speaks a lot of Palestinian.  

It just takes time and practice.  But if you give up and speak English, you're not even giving yourself a chance.  I say ditch the English, even if you have to use hand gestures  biggrin.gif

It would be sad to have your kids grow up speaking English as a first language, when both parents speak Arabic.  It's so hard for those of us living in the west to teach kids Arabic and have them stay solid in it, if it's not totally reinforced at home.  

Just my two cents smile.gif

May Allah bless you with pious children that will give you birr  wub.gif

#4 khadi1

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 07:21 PM

Assalamou aleikoum wa rahmatoullah wa barakatou,

Inshallah, it will all come naturally....

My dh is Algerian, I am french. We speak to each other in french .
He speaks arabic to the children.
I speak to them in french.
They (the children) speak to each other in arabic.
and they speak english to whoever else happens to speak english only  smile.gif

Problems ? Mashallah, no, it is no problem... it just came naturally...Alhamdullilah...

#5 UmmHafsah

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 07:23 PM

Assalamu aliakum,

Just remembered: the kids usually pick up the moms accent... so if you're both not comfortable with them learning pure Morroccan as a start, maybe you could do the fus-ha with some Morraccan.  Plus, usually as time goes on in a marriage, both of your accents water down and merge into a mix of Morroccan-Palestinian that you both speak to varying degrees.


#6 bobbi_fatima

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 07:35 PM

Assalamu alykum,

mashAllah there seems to be a lot of arabic speaking sisters here, I'm asian, we speak bengali, and although i'm not a mum, I wonder about that aswell. From what i'v seen from my families, where a child has older siblings they tend to learn Englih first and then Bengali, at the same pace, but families with 1st childs usually learn english first.
I have a baby sister, she's the youngest of 6, and when she speaks (gibberish- cos she's 19month lol) her 'english' words are clearer than the bengali words.

#7 Guest_musaafirah_*

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 07:40 PM

Asalaamu Alaikum,

Thanks so much! SubhanaAllah, that was very helpful and inshaAllah we will implement it. We definitely do need to ditch the English. I really liked your suggestion Umm Hafsah. I do need to start speaking with him in the house, and inshaAllah that will help me to pick up falasteeni (I learned moroccan by immersion alhamdulilah, so inshaallah this is the same). And I already made it clear I don't want our kids learning english first and even though i want them to learn fusha first, if its between english and moroccan to speak with them, I will speak Moroccan. But obviously, no matter what, we need to switch the household language to get that to work. wink.gif

#8 mariemuad

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 04:55 AM

Assalamu alaikum,

Sister Aisha, speak Arabic Fus-ha with your husband and your kids.

I married shortly after becoming muslim. So, when I became Muslim, I knew nothing of the Arabic language. I was even surprised to see the first book in Arabic which, for me, was read from back cover to front cover.

Anyway, I first learnt to read and pronounce the letters then learnt some Arabic through a "teach yourself" Arabic book. When my first child was born (15 months after marriage), I hardly knew anything but I would speak French to her except for those Arabic words I knew. So, when I would learn a new word, I would use it in the sentence. When she was 3 or 4, kids her age would come to me and speak to me in Arabic but it was difficult for me to understand them as they had another accent or used other words. (so by then I would use mainly Arabic with her)

When my kids learnt to speak, they picked up words quicker than me from my husband.
When they would say a word 10 times and I wouldn't understand, I would phone my husband at work and ask him what it meant. I would also make sure that my husband, being from Algeria, would speak to them fus-ha and not Algerian because I, myself, wanted to speak fus-ha (we checked so many words in the dictionary).

When my fourth one was 3, a girl of the same age asked her mum: "Mama, what's the name of the girl who speaks like in cartoons?" Actually, that comparison was made for my fifth one too.

Alhamdulillah, I now speak and understand Arabic and my kids know fus-ha. Even though I make many mistakes, my kids correct me and it is not a big deal. They didn't learn my mistakes and they don't mix up languages. My kids, having met many Arabs in London, actually know many dialects. They know:

Algerian as their dad and his friends speak Algerian
Lybian as they went to a Lybian school in London
Egyptian as they now live in Egypt and Egyptian don't understand fus-ha easily
Morrocan: they are now learning it as I have many Morrocan friends here
Syrian: their aunt is married to a Syrian

So they can now go to any Arab country and they will learn the dialect within a few months. Egyptian is the hardest to them though as Egyptians speak very quickly. Another benefit of speaking fus-ha is that tajweed is easy for them as their makharij are mostly correct, it only needs a bit fine-tuning (at least this is what 3 tajweed teachers have told me).

So my advice is: Try to straighten your Arabic and speak to them fus-ha if you can. They will learn Morrocan dialect with your family and English outside the home. And, if you throw a Morrocan word or sentence here and there, it doesn't matter.

Umm Hanifa

#9 Ag11

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 11:36 AM

sallam allaikum,
we both spoke english to my son first because thats what the speech therapist advised since he had a speech delay.
dh and i converse in english..dh speaks the "syrian dialect" ...i dont speak arabic but undserstand fully.

#10 umm_maryoum

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 11:59 AM

assalam alykom,  

We speak 3 languages at home! and my kids speak them too but none of them are perfect. LOL coz they are still young they sound pretty khawaga (foreigners) in the three.   It’s cute coz they mix up the genders all the time  icon_mrgreen.gif .... but ahamdulillah they are trying!

For a fact, most of the Moroccan I have ever met in life are VERY good in Fusha mashaAllah.   One Moroccan sister used to help me in college when I was learning Arabic, she was SOOO good mashaAllah! Usually around me, I see North Africans either speaking Egyptian (a media dialect, so all the Arabs understand it) or fusha coz other Arabs don't understand them.   However, you would be surprized to know that even in these random/unfamiliar dialects there is soo much vocab. which is originally part of fusha!  But people don’t know that coz these words are no longer in use.  That’s why the North African dialects are still called Arabic even though no one understands them. I actually learned that in one of my Arabic courses, my teachers used to pick out random words in those random dialects and show us how they were derived from fusha....   subhanAllah and that’s the case with almost all the Arabic dialects!  No doubt Arabic is a rich language! Lughtul Qur’an!

So I suggest that you speak to your kids in fusha and your husband in falastina so they learn to speak both fusha and darija.. Actually fusha and darija  complement each other coz much of the vocab is the same and the sentence structure.  That way they can read books in Arabic and communicate with other Arabs in Arabic too… but you have to be persistent from day 1.  Also reading story books to your children and having them watch Arabic Islamic cartoons would definitely be a plus… my kids picked up a lot from Arabic Islamic cartoons mashaAllah…. Alfajr channel has lot of nice cartoons that teach the Islamic rulings  of Qur’an in Arabic for kids.   my dd watched them ever since she was 3 and now that she is 5 they started to make some sense.  Since we don’t have a TV, we downloaded them from the internet and there are plenty of other cartoons out there in Arabic as well.  And they love the stories I read to them in Arabic we go tons!   Thanks to the yearly book fair, we have been buying books ever since my 1st one was 6 months!

InshaAllah khair, I used to be sooooooooo worried about the whole language thingy but Alhamdulillah when there is a will there is a way! wub.gif

Wassalam,
Umm_Maryoum smile.gif



#11 prudence

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 02:44 PM

Assalam alaikum,

I speak croatian to my dd (5 months), my dh and I speak german with each other and in front of our dd, of course. I am worried though, because my dh is not persistent in talking arabic with dd and me (actually doesn´t speak any arabic with us dry.gif ). I´d like that, because that way I would be able to learn some arabic, too, inshaAllah.
Ahh, we´ll see in a few years how it turns out...  sleep.gif

#12 confused_christian

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 04:20 PM

Musaafirah,

I have alot of friends who are mixed couples as well..  they just continue doing what they were doing at home more..  the children understand everything.  A couple I know speaks moroccan arabic and french to their daughter, (AND english) and she understands everything, and goes from one language to another fluidly... even when she speaks to me, she sometimes will be speaking to her father, start speaking to me, and I won't catch but phrases..  I'm not familiar enough with arabic, but from what I understand her accents are 'right on' in all the languages, ie, she sounds, to me, like a natural born american with her english, and her parents and friends say her french and arabic is perfect as well.  (I speak spanish, so i cannot say with the french either).  I have another friend, her and her husband speak the three different dialects of spanish to their son (basque, etc) and he speaks them all fluently and english..so I think that if you just do what you do normally, you'll probably see they'll just pick up everything.


I think that you should speak to them in moroccan arabic, your husband in his, and speak to each other just like you are, either in english or in arabic whatever you both feel comfortable in (you should speak french as well, right, since you're moroccan...so why not french?)  Children have no problems whatsoever learning multiple languages at once, and I think that your children should learn them all..that would benefit them the best, don't you think..  

And as far as ditching english..don't you live in the US?  Wouldn't that be rather hard? You don't want them to be behind in school when they start... Besides, it's a good language to know as well, as it's a common language for many as well (and also will be the easiest to pick up, so should be no problem.)  I'm also guessing, from what I know about you, you'll have your children learning arabic scholarly probably, from a young age...so they'll also get standard arabic that way.  

Oh, and a couple of you were scared b/c your children didn't seem to picking up the 'second' language..  there's a family I know here, from brazil, they've been here for a couple years..she seemed to be only picking up english, as that was what she was speaking at home, although they were only speaking in portuguese, so they were worried...she understood, but just wouldn't talk..and this is common for a child to just pick their favorite..  Anyhow, they went home, and she started speaking it just like it was her only language....they were amazed..  So, she's been learning the whole time.  

Brandi


QUOTE(musaafirah @ Jul 7 2008, 03:40 PM) View Post

Asalaamu Alaikum,

Thanks so much! SubhanaAllah, that was very helpful and inshaAllah we will implement it. We definitely do need to ditch the English. I really liked your suggestion Umm Hafsah. I do need to start speaking with him in the house, and inshaAllah that will help me to pick up falasteeni (I learned moroccan by immersion alhamdulilah, so inshaallah this is the same). And I already made it clear I don't want our kids learning english first and even though i want them to learn fusha first, if its between english and moroccan to speak with them, I will speak Moroccan. But obviously, no matter what, we need to switch the household language to get that to work. wink.gif



#13 Guest_musaafirah_*

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 05:24 PM

Asalaamu Alaikum,

Thanks again for the advice everyone.

Brandi-

That was some great input. Thank you. About english though, I figure they will pick it up outside but I don't want them to hear it in the house or learn that language first. Also, I don't plan to send my kids to school in the US. Our plan is to move overseas when dh finishes his studies inshaAllah, and if we are still here at school age, I will homeschool them. smile.gif

#14 confused_christian

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 08:54 PM

Musaafirah...

Understood....  Just remember that your children will learn your grammar, so just be sure that whatever you speak at home, is what both of you can communicate the best together with...they will learn  your mistakes as well.  

Brandi

QUOTE(musaafirah @ Jul 8 2008, 01:24 PM) View Post

Asalaamu Alaikum,

Thanks again for the advice everyone.

Brandi-

That was some great input. Thank you. About english though, I figure they will pick it up outside but I don't want them to hear it in the house or learn that language first. Also, I don't plan to send my kids to school in the US. Our plan is to move overseas when dh finishes his studies inshaAllah, and if we are still here at school age, I will homeschool them. smile.gif



#15 *UmmD*

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 08:21 AM

Assalaamualaikum wa rahmatullaah

Musaafirah, if you dont move overseas and have to home school them, but you dont want to speak to them in english - how would they pick it up?

I agree that learning Arabic is priority, fus'ha that is, but i think english is also important to learn, without a doubt..




#16 mariam00

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 08:29 AM

salam alekum

i speak greek to my daughter and my husbund speaks to her in urdu(pakistan).
so my daughter can now understand and talk a little bit of both languages.she is mixing both languages and making her own language Masha Allah  biggrin.gif  biggrin.gif

dont worry about this sis, if you speak both languages to your baby Insha Allah it will come naturally and talk both languages.of course he/she will learn the mother 's language more quickly as the mother is with the baby all day long...

#17 Guest_musaafirah_*

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:43 PM

Asalaamu Alaikum,

Sis Mariya, I think its fairly easy for them to just pick it up from other people they meet. For example, when my sister was younger, before she went to school, no one in the house spoke english for her but she picked it up from the masjid and from the children of people who came over and she speaks both languages perfectly, without accent. If their english is not perfect, it is honestly not my main concern, but I'm sure them picking it up won't be an issue inshaAllah.

#18 *UmmD*

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:37 PM

Assalaamualaikum wa rahmatullaah

inshaAllaah..

i really want Dawud to learn Arabic as his first, but how can i expect from my kids something i havent achieved my self.. and seeing as my hubby is the only one out of us who speaks Arabic, i dont think its realistic with Dawud.. but inshaAllaah he will learn as a toddler when we go to egypt..

isnt amazing how Allaah swt made the young brain so capable??


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Posted 09 July 2008 - 04:58 PM

Asalaamu Alaikum,

Sis Mariya, I totally know what you mean, although you know, subhanaAllah, I know a sister who is from here and she didn't know any arabic before she married her husband who is Tunisian. She has 4 kids very close in age and she only talks to them in Arabic that she has learned from her husband mashaAllah and thats all they know right now. I think its good to have your husband teach you a bit, and then just try and implement those words you know and have your husband only speak arabic to him. I am pretty sure that Dawud will pick it up quite easy, mashaAllah. And then inshaAllah, when you go overseas he will perfect it.

You know, subhanaAllah, I read something once about a theory that the brain is actually capable of understanding all languages, there is a certain area of the brain that stores this knowledge but most humans can't access it (thats why its considered a miracle when you have some child knowing 5 languages, only having been around 1 his whole life). They gave the example of a woman who fell into a light doze while people were talking german and found she could understand what was being said. I guess this would also explain why there are people who cannot understand the language of the qur'an, understand the meaning when they hear it recited.

#20 umm.humaira

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 08:23 PM

Assalam u alaikum,

Well, right now Humairas small so she doesn't speak yet. But me and hubby speak to her in our language (Gujarati). We both speak engligh to ourselves which I know has to change as we want her to learn Gujarati so she can speak to her grandparents and great grandparents.  Hubby also knows how to speak Arabic Fusha but its not spoken in our house... I'd love if he did with her.

insha'Allah.

Take care.
Wasalaam,
Umme HUmaira




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