Choosing a method – OPOL or ML@H

Towards the end of my pregnancy I started to read up on bilingualism. One of the main decisions to make it seemed was which ‘method’ to use.

The most common and better known seems to be OPOL or ‘One Person One Language’ for the initiated.  This is where each parents speaks to the child in their mother tongue, and is effective if applied consistently.  In our case however, with Luis being the speaker of the minority language, and me being the person who would be spending most time with the baby I thought that OPOL would give English and major advantage over Spanish. Seeing as the baby would be surrounded by English anyway, not only with nearly everyone else he would meet but also in terms of media exposure, nursery, preschool etc, we were keen to ensure maximum Spanish exposure at home.

We decided to opt for the ‘Minority Language at Home’ method (ML@H), which is basically where we speak Spanish at home and as a family, and English with others outside the home.  This did of course mean that I would be speaking to my baby in a non native language, something that others maybe find strange.   However, although it was unusual to begin with (especially as I didn’t really know any vocab for baby things – not covered at uni!), I am now quite comfortable speaking Spanish to S, in fact, sometimes when I speak to him in English to accommodate others when we are out and about it feels a bit false! I guess it is what you are used to!

Here is a link to a good summary of the different methods – this website Omniglot has lots of other interesting links and info which I will be looking at in more detail later.


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