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Probably, I have a very typical situation, but I could not find answers for all my questions. Could you, please, help me organize my ideas for introducing several languages in my head?
Let’s me explain what I did so far. I am living in USA, but me and my husband (and all other relatives) speak Russian. My baby is 1.5 years old. Most of my friends and all relatives speaks Russian. I asked everyone to speak to the baby only in Russian (without mixing languages). However, when we go to a play ground or to a store, I need to speak English. Also, on TV we have English news. I started to teach my baby to read on Russian from 8 months (I am using Doman system). I already see results. He speaks only 15-20 short words for right now. Couple months ago I started to have micro sections of English with my baby. I bought English books which I read only on English (I don’t allow any relative to touch them and translate them on Russian to my baby). Also, I show him sometimes educational videos on English as well, so he can listen correct pronunciation. Most of my relatives want me stop to my mini English sections with my baby because they afraid that he will lose Russian at school. Also I want to teach my baby other languages in a year as well, but I afraid that he will mix all of them. Questions: 1) What should I do at play ground or store? I don’t know enough English to speak with my baby only on English; however, I need to answer to someone questions. 2) How can I separate my English sections from Russian sections during my time with baby? Right now I let my baby to decide. If he brings English book or cards from our “English shelf” then I read and speak on English. All other time I speak on Russian. Is a better for me to have a specific corner in the room for English? 3) When should I start teach my baby to read on English? He already pay attention to all written words, but in outside world everything is written on English. So I read them on English. From one side, he wants to polish his reading skills. From another side, he does not so familiar with English and English characters. Again, I am afraid to mix two languages. I started for a week and then I stopped teach him how to read on English. 4) I want to teach my baby briefly few more languages, so he can have better start later. But my doctor recommended me to wait with next languages until 2-3 years. So what is the best time? Should I wait when my baby will be fluent in English before I introduce next languages? Or should I start as soon as possible?
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Answers to your four numbered questions:
1) Assuming that your child will stay in the USA, you can safely expect that your child will learn English just fine. Just make sure he plays with English speaking children at least some of the. At the playground or store, or anywhere else in public, speak only Russian to the baby. If another person needs to know what you said to the baby, then repeat your words in English. When you talk to other people in public, use whichever language they prefer. 2) I think this way you separate the languages is good. You do not have to change this. 3) You said that the child brings you English language books or cards from your “English shelf”. So you are already teaching him to read in English, right? I don’t think you should worry about his learning to read English; he will learn it from many sources, such as school. You should worry about him learning to read Russian as well as possible, because nobody else in the USA will help him read Russian. 4) According to this website we are posting messages on, you should start the other languages as soon as possible. See: http://www.multilingualchildren.org/faq.html#start Be aware that doctors must study many things, so they cannot be experts about all topics. Unless your doctor is a specialist in child speech development, you should not trust him/her. You could search for such an expert, and ask that person. Do you or your husband speak languages other than English and Russian? If so, then one parent can speak Russian to the baby and the other can speak one of those other languages. Neither of you must teach English to the baby; he can learn it easily outside the home. Even if you and your husband speak only English and Russian, you can teach other languages. I think you should start now.