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We are both trilingual, speaking Gaelic, English and French.  Our first baby is due in August.  It is very important that the child is a native speaker of Gaelic and English (my wife has Gaelic as L1 and English as L2; I am the other way around.  French is L3 for both of us).

As long as we live in an Anglophone environment, Gaelic will the majority language of the home – the child will learn English easily enough from the community.

I would also like to speak French to the child for two days per week.  (Je le parle couramment).  I am aware of the recent debates on this board about the relative merits of speaking non-native languages to children… As such I do realise that I am not French and that without actually moving to France, my child would not be culturally French or fluent to native-speaker level.  However, my goal would be to make the child comfortably, conversationally fluent in the language.  Two days of French per week would, I hope, give the child a massive headstart in terms of later schooling, travel in France etc.

Has anyone on this board tried to do something similar?  The OPOL method does make a great deal of sense – but is it achievable for one parent to consistently speak two languages?

Merci, thanks, tapadh leibh dhuibh uile,



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Hi Albannach,

I’m presuming you’re in Scotland like myself? If I can be of any help with the French side of things, please just give me a shout!

I have long argued the point that I would prefer my children to be proficient second/third language users through my own linguistic skills rather than them have no skills at all just because I’m not a native speaker. I am a Modern Languages teacher (French/German) so am comfortable enough in my own competence – as are GTCS who allow me to teach ;-). I say go for it – language is a gift for life and you and your wife will be giving your baby a fantastic start.

Best wishes,

PS Do you know about the Gaelic immersion playgroup and primary school in Glasgow?


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Hi Fiona

Yes we’re in Scotland.  I saw the piece on BBC Scotland about your company – it sounds great, keep it up!

The Gaelic Medium schools are terrific, if we are in Scotland when our children are school age, they will definitely go through the system.

Thanks for your encouragement.

Une prochaine fois alors,



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