English Language Development of My Japanese-Canadian Daughter

A brief update on how my daughter is doing with English. After a week in Canada, she’s still speaking mostly Japanese, but she’s been using more English. She speaks a lot of Japanese with other kids, and they just don’t understand her.

Her first time at the nearby playground, the kids mostly just ignored her. She couldn’t get them to listen to her because she kept speaking Japanese. But because of some time alone with my mom and sister, she’s been forced to use English, or at least try.

Today, we went to the playground again, and she actually managed to start playing with three other little girls her age. While she still used Japanese with them, she did attempt some English. They also didn’t mind her not speaking much English.

Although it’s not much yet, she does seem to be trying to use English. She’s said some surprising things, like “Speaking English daisuki (I love speaking English)” and “I can’t see it.” She’s finally figured out “me” and “you” and uses them correctly.

So, how long do you think it’ll be until she speaks English fluently? Remember that she understands English. Let me know in the comments below.

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18 thoughts on “English Language Development of My Japanese-Canadian Daughter”

  1. It does not take long. I moved to the US when I was twelve. At home we spoke only German and in a few weeks time communication was no problem. It took 2 months to be fluent I think…
    Oh and now I am raising a bilingual kid myself, German French, we make sure to only speak our language with her, she knows quite quickly with whom she can speak in what language, but sometimes it is a bit of gibberish.
    So all in all don’t worry, just make sure that your wife speaks only Japanese with her so that she won’t loose it. I heard that kids have to get past a certain age when raised bilingual to not loose a language and a certain number of years when they learn it through immersion.

    1. We’re doing it that way. Today, she spent a couple hours playing at an indoor playground with other kids, none of which could understand her. She kept using Japanese the entire time. But the kids were very nice and played with her. On our way home, she kept trying to use English. She always improves after playing with English-speaking kids.

  2. Chances are good she’ll be combining Japanese and English for a while. Many bilingual kids do and it’s to be expected. And once she starts school her English will progress even faster. But between family, friends, other kids, TV and movies, she’ll be speaking English in no time, especially if she’s already making the transition and it hasn’t been a week yet.

    1. She spent two hours with other kids today, and she tried using English a lot more on our way home. Although it was mostly poor English, it was a lot better than before.

  3. I am sure she will gain confidence more and more especially if she can play with supportive children and a good school environment. Most bilingual children I have taught can be fluent in speaking within a year or two when at secondary age and being younger is so much better. Writing and good grammar can take a bit longer but you are there to help!

    1. Yes, and we have been told to read to her or have her try reading every day. The speed at which she’s acquiring English is amazing. She tries speaking English more than half the time now. It’s only been a couple weeks.

        1. She’s lucky. But my wife is going back to Japan for four days tomorrow to pick up her permanent residency package, then officially land as an immigrant in Canada. My daughter will have no Japanese speaker around for those four days. I think it’ll do wonders for her English.

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