You and I share the same situation. My husband is not linguistically inclined. I personally speak 4 languages. The conscious decision for my child to learn Mandarin, English and Malay was largely mine in this regard.
To begin with, you already have the basic prerequisites of raising a child to speak more than 2 languages. You are:
- talented (“I pick up other languages better than my husband can and I usually only need to hear a few words once and I can remember them and what they mean. “)
- the decision has been made jointly, so you don’t have to carry the weight of supporting your child on your own (“ my husband and I both decided we’d like for her to learn German, ASL, and Spanish.”)
- both of you can treat these languages as subjects for learning (“ We both know the basics of each language. “)
- both of you willing learners (“ We’d both like to advance our language skills.”)
These are your strong points and with an understanding of childhood development (language, motor skills, cognitive, practical skills etc.), you can gradually instil the interest of learning languages in your child.
At 2 years of age, it is still too early to know if the child will become better at learning languages than other subjects in school. It is compulsory for Singapore kids to learn two languages in school, so all pre-schools will provide bilingual programmes. But that doesn’t mean that every kid will grow up become fluent in two languages. There are several factors influencing this, which we know is a matter for early childhood grooming programmes.
So if you ask me what you’ll have to do to help your child, I’d say enjoy the time together as much as possible as the process of learning languages can only begin if there is interaction between two parties. Resource materials like flashcards and textbooks can only go so far.
Mum who raises her daughter to speak 3 languages.