Sunday, September 25, 2011

Have You Heard of the OPOLAMAP Method?

My intention was to use the OPOL (One Parent One Language) method with Bean, but I'd say that I use the OPOLAMAP (One Parent One Language As Much As Possible) method. To be honest, sometimes I just don't feel like thinking in Spanish, and other times I truly forget. I want to get to the point where Spanish just flows naturally from my lips, but I am not there yet.

I need to make more time for input, input, input....but I've been slacking lately. 

So a typical conversation looks like this. "Bean, what are you doing? Don't take that off. Oops I mean... ¿Que haces? No te quites eso. Vamos. Ya es la hora de almuerzo."

I suppose it could be said that I am "damaging" him by going back and fourth, but it's not like I am mixing languages in the same sentence. It's more like once I catch myself speaking in English, I switch to Spanish.

I remember reading about a woman whose mother would speak in English, then say the same thing in Spanish and that is how she raised her to be bilingual. Also, I remember reading that children need to be exposed to a language 30 percent of the time in order to be able to actively speak it. So I am not quite convinced that strictly adhering to OPOL is the only way to get results.

But I am no expert, I don't know what's going to happen. All I can do is to keep trying my best.


  1. Yeah, I'm using the OPOLAMAP method. Out of politeness, I will use whatever language the people around us can understand, but I do my best to be OPOL when we're alone or in bilingual company.

    The switching isn't damaging at all, from what I can tell. Somehow the kid's brain can distinguish between them. Sometimes I switch suddenly without warning, and my 2.5-year-old switches with me. It's pretty increĆ­ble.

  2. Oh I can so relate! Actually, I decided not to use OPOL. My goal is to spend half the day in German and the other half in English. I just couldn't give up my English culture and language with my little boy. There are too many wonderful stories and songs that I'd miss sharing with him! And since my husband is Dutch, he wouldn't be able to share these things with our son. (No, he doesn't speak Dutch with Aleksander - sigh.)
    But so often I find myself speaking English to Aleksander and then suddenly realize I'm supposed to be speaking German. Arg! But I just switch back and move on. The funny thing is it sometimes goes the other way! It's the afternoon - when we are in English - and I find myself speaking German. Go figure!
    I understand that as long as you don't switch back and forth in the middle of a sentence, it's fine. Sometimes when I'm with English-speakers and I'm supposed to be speaking German, I feel like I go back and forth every sentence. I just can't stay in my German groove. But it's all good! :)