A few months ago, we got an off-the-boat babysitter from the Philippines. I was excited because we'd have someone to teach our baby Filipino. Well, she kept forgetting to speak Filipino, and I gave up on reminding her to NOT speak English.
Then, when I found out that my mother-in-law was coming to stay with us for a couple of months, I thought we'd have another opportunity to immunize her against monolingualism.
That was not to be... It's been a month now, and though my mother-in-law will speak her native dialect when talking to my wife and to my parents, she can't help but speak English when she plays with the baby.
I should have known. You see, even though my wife grew up in the Philippines, her first language was English too. She even grew up watching the same television shows I did: Sesame Street, Scooby Doo, Flintstones, etc. And none of it was dubbed into anything other than English. Not even Voltron, He-Man, or the Transformers.
I came to realize that for a lot of folks in Philippines, English is the language you use when you talk to children. They can't help it. They speak their native tongue when speaking to adults, but when they talk to babies and young children, they can't help but to break into English!!
Oy vay, at this rate, it looks like the only other language she'll be picking up is the Yiddish I picked up from the neighbors when I was growing up!