When I met my husband at university, we spoke English all the time. (He is my favorite bilingual) Admittedly he did try several times to get me to learn Portuguese in those early months/years together, but as we were living in Canada and then Bangladesh, it was hard for me to add on another language. It wasn't until we moved to Brazil in 2009 that I really started learning Portuguese. I have since forgotten any Bangla I used to know, and refuse to think about any French I once knew (having studied it for 7 years in school).
Since we are living in a dominantly Portuguese culture we have done it this way; when we are at home, we all speak English. When we're out, I almost always speak English with the kids and hubby alternates.
It has been interesting to see how our kids are starting to incorporate both languages into their arsenal. Lucas only really started talking a few months after he turned two - a little delay probably because he was getting two languages, and when he started, it was all English. He started pre-school a few months before he turned three, and while the first few weeks were challenging, he adapted very well to the Portuguese-only environment. Soon he was coming home singing Portuguese songs and learning to distinguish between the two languages.
People sometimes ask me how Lucas is doing with Portuguese and it's a little hard to know exactly how much he knows because he usually speaks English with me. For a while he would come home from school speaking Portuguese and if I would respond in English, he would say, "Não, mamãe, fala português" (no, mom, speak Portuguese!) Now I think he understands that it's easier for him to speak English to me. When we are out, however, he happily speaks Portuguese to people around, at church, at the shops, to kids at the park. Sometimes when he's playing by himself I hear him switching between languages. And it's so cute.
|We have a lot of books in English and Portuguese at home.|
So I'd better get back to my language study...