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Lilit


 
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 #1 

I have a 3-month old child. We live in Russia, but we are Armenians. So in our family there are two main languages. Apart from that I am a teacher and an interpreter. I teach English. So I use 3 languages. As my child is always with me,she hears 3 languages. I want her to speak all 3 languages, but I don’t know whether it is possible or not, because my child doesn’t hear English as often as other 2 languages. I would like to hear some advice and opinions about that. Can my child speak simultaneously 3 languages? If yes, how shall we do it?

 
Yolanda


 
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 #2 
I have the same problem as you. My daughter is 17 months old and we live in US, at home we speak english but my family speaks spanish and my husband’s family arabic. I would like to know the best way to teach her the 3 languages. She is delay in the speech. We show a specialist and told us that could be because we are trying to teach her 3 languages.

If anyone has more information can you please let me know.


Thanks
 
Lilit


 
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 #3 

We have friends,who have twins.The mother is Brazilian, the father is German and their nurse is Chinese.The kids are 2 years old. Each parent speak his own language and the nurse speaks Chinese. Children perfectly understand all 3 languages, but now they are speaking a language, which only they can understand.This is a mix of 3 languages.A specialist told them,that in several months the kids will speak all 3 languages and won’t even mix them. There is no reason to worry about that.

We have one more example. The mother is Georgian, father’s Armenian. They live in Russia. Children speak all 3 languages fluently. They haven’t even had problems with trilingualism.

 
Yolanda


 
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 #4 
Hi Lilit,

Thank you for your message and the information. The problem for us is that at home only we are the three of us (my husband, my daughter and I), we don’t have family here or a nanny or some one that could talk with her only one language. I try to speak Spanish and English with her, my husband always speaks with her in Arabic, and my husband and I we speak English (I don’t know Arabic and my husband doesn’t know Spanish). So, I’m worry that my daughter is going to get confuse between Spanish and English. Is that possible??

Oh! we attend to an toddler program for kids that have a development delay, the group is English. I was thinking to speak only Spanish to her and then she will learn English from the group and from friends or something, but I think that might be one day a week will not be in off.

What I should do??



 
Hinda


 
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 #5 

 

Hi,

 

I live in Israel but I was born on Brazil, and speak Portuguese. My husband is Argentinian and speaks Spanish. We speak Spanish between us.

We have a 19 months son that is not going to a day care yet, he stays home with dad who speaks Spanish with him. I speak Portuguese with our son. He seems to understand very well both languages, that are very similar but are not the same (and could cause more confusion since there are both languages have the same words with different meanings). He does not speak yet, only syllables (with the exeption of  very few words). We are a little bit worried about this delay. It is normal?

He will start going to a Hebrew speaking day care at the age of two and I am afraid he will not deal with 3 different languages. He also hears Russian at the park everyday.

Thanks,

 

Hinda

 

 
ListModerator


 
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 #6 
Hi Lilit,

Yes, you absolutely can! Growing up trilingual is pretty common. You’ll probably find our FAQ section a really helpful place to get started.

/Christina
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Christina Bosemark
Founder & List Moderator
Multilingual Children’s Association

 
T


 
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 #7 
I speak Mandarin and English while my wife is Danish speaking 4 or 5 languages.  My wife and I speak English to each other. 

I have 2 boys about 2 years apart.  For the first 5 years that we were in US after the boys were born, I spoke only Mandarin to them while my wife spoke to them mostly in Danish.  They went to preschools where English was spoken.  My cousin was living in the same city as us.  I asked him to speak only Mandarin to the boys whenever he visited us (which were pretty frequent).  His Malaysian girlfriend also tried to speak to them in Mandarin.  80% of the shows that the boys watched were children DVD movies/shows in Mandarin.  Each year, we go to Taiwan visting my parents and my parents come visitng us.  Because of the high expense of the travel, we can’t go to Denmark every year unfortunately.  The boys are fluent in English, Mandarin, and less so in Danish. 

Majoriy of my friends are international couples.  But none of them are really into multilingual as we are.  In the beginning, I felt weird speaking only Mandarin to my kids.  But I got used it very fast.  I also only spoke Mandarin to them outside the house if the speaking was involved the kids and not other people. 

I want the boys to learn to read and write Chinese, which is very hard to do in US.  So we have moved to Taiwan.  They have no problem going to the preschool listening and speaking Mandarin.  I speak only English to them while my wife continues speaking mostly Danish to them.  We will be vacationing 1 month or so in Denmark every year so the kids can have enough exposure to Danish.

After 4 or 5 years, the kids’ Mandarin should be good enough that we can move to another country while keeping the Mandarin with me teaching them and visiting Taiwan during vacation.

 
Natalia Mena


 
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 #8 
Yolanda, that is so interesting…I have the same scenario as you. I am spanish (Dominican), my husband is Jordanian (actually palestinian), so my daughter is caught between 3 languages. I had the same confusion, and what I decided was that she will pick up english anyways from tv and school, so focus more on the other 2 languages. Her father always speaks to her in arabic and I was speaking to her in both english and spanish, but that confuses them so since I am now going to school i put her with a spanish speaking nanny and its woking out wonderful. It has been 3 weeks and she already speaks so much more in spanish and continues to speak arabic with her dad…she is 2 years old. As for me…i am still trying to speak more spanish, but she hears me and her dad speak english, but now that she has delegated people for each language its different. I would not worry so much about the english…think about it, we are in America so she will learn english anyways…focus more on spanish and her dad on arabic. She will pick up english from tv and other kids when she starts school faster than u think. I dont know about you, but my parents only spoke spanish to me when i was young and i picked up english from kids around and school…I have never had a problem and dont even have a spanish accent. Keep in touch and let me know how it goes.
 
Jenny Eo


 
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 #9 
Hello everyone, your stories are all very inspiring and encouraging to me!




I am a Korean mom of 2 1/2 years old son, my husband is Indonesian with chinese origin and we live in Indonesia now. since my son is born, me and my husband have been sticked to speaking only English to our son(which is not neither of our mother tongue but we all have good command of speaking English since we studied abroad for long)however when we put him to the preschool in the local community 3 months ago, I started to think that we may need the different approach to teach him in a multi- dynamic language system..and it’s very lucky I have found this site just at the right time!




so for now I decide to go for OPOL, I speak Korean and my husband speaks Indonesian to him, and while he’s in the school he learns both English from American native speaking teacher and Indonesian from his peers. and soon I will ask my parents-in-law’s favor to speak Mandarin to him so hopely he will grow up eventually fluent in all 4 languages.




I’d love to hear if you have any other suggestion on language system.




Jenny


 
Aunt Clara


 
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 #10 
We have a 16 mo dauthter. I am Dominican and my husband is Danish, we live in the Dominican Rep. Before our daughter was born we decided to raise her multilingual: since English is the language we speak at home I would speak English to her, my husband would speak Danish and everybody else would speak Spanish. As expected he’s delayed in her language skills, but as of now she’s more fluent in Englisn and Danish.

We have a big problem however, my husband travels constantly, spending as much as 6 months out of year abroad (3 months on 3 off), he’s the only one who speaks Danish around here, so I ask your advice, how do we do to keep her on track while dad is not here?

Thanks a lot. This is a wonderful resource that was reccomended to me by somebody in my own forum.

 
Kay


 
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 #11 
My first language is Dutch, My husband speaks Japanese and we live in the UK.
We decided from the beginning to just speak our own mothertongue to our children, so at first my daughter spoke mostly just Dutch and Japanese. Once she started school at almost 4 years old, she made unbelievable progress in English too. Now, at almost 5 she is a fluent speaker of three languages and is able to read and write them too. 
Our two-and-a-half year old still mixes the languages (with the influence of her older sister, that is Dutch, Japanese AND English), but recently started to stick more or less to one language at the time.
I think it is just amazing how in about three years time they are able to distinguish several languages and speak them as if they are all their mother tongue!  
To all those worried their children will get mixed up, hang on! They all develop differently but they definitely will have a great base for the future. At least that is what we noticed.

 
Wendy


 
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 #12 
Hi.  I have two children (6 and 4).  We have lived in several countries so they have grown up listening to different languages.  My husband’s mother tongue is English and my Spanish so we use both at home.  For the past three years we have been leaving in France where the children started going to school.  Now they are fluent in all three languages -speaking, reading and writing for the 6 year old and speaking only for the 4 year old-.

For us it just happened naturally.  We never made a big fuss about learning a language.  The children just “absorbed” the languages heard.  They took a long time starting to talk, but once they started it just come smoothly. 

 
Candice


 
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 #13 
It’s so interesting to meet people in the same situation as I am in!

I am Canadian and Quebecker (my dad is more Anglophone and my mom more Francophone) and grew up in a totally bilingual household. I mainly speak French at home, but I went to school in English for all but my last year of highschool so both languages are an equally important part of my daily life. My husband is Egyptian so his mother tongue is Arabic, but we speak English together. My poor daughter is 14 months and we have been way too “random” with her, I am finding out… I speak English and French almost 50 and 50% of the time around her and I speak English when with her and my husband but French when around her and my parents. But my dad speaks to her in English and my mom in French. (I see them a lot).

I have decided to only speak to her in English and for my husband to only speak to her in Arabic. She will be exposed to French a lot too since we’re in Quebec and we see my parents often…

To get back to the original thread, I strongly believe that a child can speak 3 languages… but it is harder than when the child only has one language.
 
Kat


 
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 #14 
Hi I grew up speaking two languages Hungarian and Slovakian and speak both of them equally well. My husband is American and we live in the USA. We communicate in English at home. Our daughter is 13 month old and I would like her to learn all three languages. The problem is that 2 of these languages are coming from me and not a 3rd speaker or community. I don’t know if it’s possible for me to speak to her in 2 languages? How do I decide when to speak one or the other…? Has anybody had a similar experience?
 
KAROLINA


 
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 #15 
wow. I’m so happy i found this site and this forum. i was also wondering what to do with our daughter. i am Polish, my husband is Mexican and we live in Ireland. i speak polish to her all the time, my husband Spanish and we speak English to each other.
she is 17 months old now and it seams that she understand much more polish than Spanish. my husband is concerned. i think its because i speak more to her and she spent 2 months with my mother who only speaks Polish? do you think she will catch up soon naturally or should we push more for Spanish now?
she also says a few words but only in Polish
what do you think? 

 

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