Baby Steps en Español

We’ve stuck to our plan and spoken Spanish every Tuesday dinner this month! The three of us were game to try it. Thirty minutes a week was the investment. Here’s how it went and the results we’ve noticed.

The conversations felt a little awkward at first. Evan and I usually speak English together. His Spanish comprehension is good seventeen years after we lived in Chile. He understands and speaks conversational Spanish after all this time. So, each of us could add to the discussion. Daily life gave us plenty of topics; snow, cold temperatures, food, school, and play dates with neighbors. Everyone was invested in the mesa española, Spanish table, and willing to practice. We’d say the words, phrases or sentences that came to mind and didn’t correct each other.

Tuesdays, at the point where dinner was 10 minutes away, I called out the reminder we’re hablando español. Then, we spoke Spanish the whole dinner, with a few exceptions. We each had a moment at some point this month at the mesa española, where we lapsed into the dominant language. The second dinner, our child caught her dad and me speaking English and called us on it! That was embarrassing, but the fact that our child felt in charge as the language referee, meant the active participation of the whole family. This is something we’re doing together, a connection that unites us.

The theory was that speaking Spanish all three of us together, would create an environment where we’d use it after dinner more often too. In practice, that has been the case. Our child and I converse en español more of the day, and every once in a while in the kitchen or the car, Dad throws in a comment or joke too.  That’s the icing on this cake.

I’d say our minor time investment has yielded big rewards. Wish us luck for February!

Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco. Olé!  -Rebecca

Para leer este ensayo en español, haz un clic en Pasitos de bebé en español.


Rebecca Cuningham

8 thoughts on “Baby Steps en Español

  1. Congrats Rebecca! I’d like to encourage you on this great experiment by sharing the experience of another (Australian) bilingual mum with her 4 year old who live in France. She turned all their family meal times to English to nudge her daughter to speak English. For the first 2 weeks the little girl resisted and protested. But she eventually started using English and it slowly spilled over meal times. This was a year ago…. and now she speaks English with her mum almost all the time. :). You are on good tracks! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gracias for asking . Slow and steady. Some days Eagle amazes me with their vocabulary and breadth of grammar knowledge. We keep at it every day. So nice to be asked. R


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