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1. Country you live in Norway
2. Languages the family speaks Mum – Russian, Dad- Norwegian,  2 norwegian grandparents – Norwegian, Grandmom i Russia – Russian
3. Ages of the children: 1 daughter – 4 months
4. Language system – OPOL

Well,since my daughter was born I speak Russian (my native lang.) to her and my husband speaks Norwegian (his native lang.). We live in Norway.
My husband understands and can speak Russian as well, so sometimes I speak Russian to him but I speak Norwegian to him most of the time. I would like to teach my daughter English as well. I suggest to my husband speaking English between us but he refuses because it feels very unnatural for both of us. We don’t have any English au pair/nanny etc. I plan to send my daughter to an English pre-school from the age of 3.

So, should I wait with English until she is 3 when she starts to attend English pre-school? Or should I start to teach her English already now? In this case how to start and when? Wait until she starts speaking Russian and Norwegian and then start to introduce English lessons to her? Or already now have some English hours/days when I speak English to her/ watch English DVDs/ Listen to English songs, etc. ? I am afraid she’ll be confused. I really don’t know if I should start or wait with English.

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Hello Nadia,
Me too I would like my little boy (now 19 months old) to know English as his 3rd language. I talk to him only in Indonesian, and my husband in French, we live in France. I do not talk to him in English, but I sing some English nursery songs since I was pregnant for him, I put on children songs CD, his favorite now is “the wheels on the bus”, I buy English books but I read them in Indonesian. I let him watch Baby Einstein, Handy Manny, and Mickey Mouse Club House, all in English, those are his favorites. Here in France, everything is dubbed in French! So, it is quite hard to listen English on TV.

I looked for an English playgroup for 0-3 y/o but it is just too expensive here in Paris. Then, I found “Gymboree Classes”, they have English class for 18 m/o to 30 m/o. The class is about 45 minutes, once a week. At this time, I talk to him only in English. I would like to create a playgroup here where I live, but it seems that no one has interest, we live in a small town.

For the moment, my goal is to let him hear the English sounds and phonetics. I keep looking for ideas to let him know English better.
Erik K

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My understanding, based on reading other parts of this website, is that your daughter will be better at English if she hears it from the earliest possible time. You should arrange that as soon as possible.

You could point out to your husband that your daughter will get plenty of exposure to Norwegian from many other people, but not enough practice speaking English with a live person. So it would be best if he speaks English with your child.

Your husband does not need to speak English with you. Ask him if it’s OK that you and he speak Russian to each other, so your child hears that language more often.

It is better if you speak Russian to her, because you are a native speaker of that language.

If your husband does not want to speak English with her, you could ask if he is willing to speak Russian to her. That way, you could switch to speaking English with her. This is a strange arrangement, but it should work fine.


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I think that your suggestion is a very strange arrangement. My husband insists on speaking Norwegian to her (he refuses speaking English and he has a great accent in Russian)  and I suppose the best for her is to hear Russian from me. If I start speaking English to her occasionaly, I still don’t know how and when…
Erik K

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OK Nadia, thank you for explaining more with your second message here.

Perhaps it is best to not push your husband to do any language teaching, and he will just speak whichever language he wants.

If you want, you can avoid speaking English and wait until your daughter enters the English language preschool. She will probably be fine.

But if you want to make sure she is totally comfortable with English, you could do this: buy children’s story books in one language. Above the printed words on each page, you could write those same words in a second language. Below the printed words, you could write them in the third language. That way, you can easily read the same story in the languages you know; each time you do this, maybe you should announce which language you will speak, but I am not sure about this. Your daughter will hopefully benefit from hearing the same thing expressed in different languages and comparing them.

You could also divide your time consistently into Russian speaking periods and English speaking periods. I think you can safely divide the time any way you want and, as long as you are consistent in following that way, your daughter will eventually distinguish the two languages. Don’t worry if she seems confused for a few months or even a couple years.

You could speak Russian at home and English outside the home every day. Or have English days and Russian days, like you suggested. I’m guessing you should do whatever system that you can easily and consistently maintain.


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Nadia, I’m also russian. My husband is from Ecuador…and our only common language is English. But I’m speaking with my daughter ( 11 month old) in both languages (Russian and English) even more I’m teaching her read in both languages by method of americam Dr. Doman. There is also recource in russian They have a lot info and manuals


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