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My wife and I are expecting our first child.  Mom speaks English and Spanish, and Dad speaks English and on a good day Intermediate Spanish.  Our plan is for my wife to speak to the child only in Spanish and I will speak to the child only in English.  Then comes the curveball; I have always wanted to learn Mandarin.  I want my child to be trinlingual; I can’t find a better reason to learn a language.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions??????

Dad to Be,

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Hi Chris.
I don’t know where you are living, but there seem to be a lot of Chinese immersion programs and Confucius Institutes around North America. I speak only Latvian with my daughter, her father mostly English (some Latvian words he’s learning/using), and she has been studying simplified Mandarin for two years in preschool. She has now begun a Chinese immersion kindergarten. Her writing of Chinese characters and her intonation/pronunciation is apparently good. At first my motivation was purely selfish; I wanted to throw in a third language so the English wasn’t so all-dominating.  Now, I am happy with my child’s enjoyment of Chinese language and culture and myself have learned a great deal.  I am also delighted with the wonderful friends and role models she has simultaneously accrued in the Chinese community. Again, I don’t know where you are at, but you could try an Internet search for a Confucius Institute near you. One of the other children’s father chose Japanese for his eldest children (Chinese for the youngest) and this language they gained merely from babysitting exposure and private, individualized tutoring with local Japanese people found through the local university international center. So, that certainly is possible, too. I think it takes a great deal of focus on the part of the parent, when a child learns a language unfamiliar to the parent. At first I noticed my daughter counting differently when she was counting physical things, and then when she was just repeating numbers in her head there seemed to be less numbers. Luckily, I realized with the physical objects she was counting correctly, not leaving out any numbers. Had I not been paying so much attention, I might have  missed this and she might still be counting… creatively.  I have learned a lot from her, but undoubtedly, if I began studying Mandarin myself it would support her endeavor more.  Good luck.  


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I am a chinese who want his son to be bilingual.
my email is [email protected]
email me and maybe we can be very good partners and support each other.

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