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Miriam


 
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 #1 
Hello everyone, 

I have finally decided to write here. I am spanish and my husband is Brazilian, we live in London where we are raising a 21 month old boy. I always speak to my little one in spanish and my husband always in portuguese. My husband and I speak english at home and he attends to nursery 1 and a half days a week (english).

I am a bit worried his vocabulary is practically non existent. He says mama, dada, baba (for agua-water), si (yes), no, and tchau (bye in portuguese). He does make a lot of different noises and speaks sentences in his own little baby language. He is a social boy that plays with us, interacts with other children and in the nursery havent raised any concerns.

I understand his speech will be delayed in comparison with other kids his age and it might be normal that he is not talking much but I also think he doesnt understand much either. He obviously understand lots of things but not as much as kids his age. Will the fact of being trilingual delay his understanding as well.

As you can tell Im so full of doubts and Im starting to worry now and worrying we are not doing the right thing or if we should seek professional advice.

Many thanks for reading, 

Miriam 
 
Irene


 
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 #2 
Hi Miriam,

Keep in mind that multilingual children seem to develop speech with a bit of delay if you compare them with monolingual children, but a bit of delay is worth if he’ll be fluent from birth in 3 languages!
We also live in London, my son is 23 months old and we have 2 languages at home (Catalan and English), we follow the same method as you do (one parent one language) and our boy says a few words, but at this age is mostly “baby talking”, he has his own words and sentences [smile]

Now and again I notice he has what I’d describe as “linguistic growth spurts” since he seems to progress really quick in learning new words, but then that’s it for a while.

If you are very concerned, I’d suggest you seek professional advice, but don’t let anyone tell you that you should give up your language, that’d be a very close minded and old fashion point of view.

I’d recommend you spend time with him sitting in your lap, have a nice cuddle an go through picture books as often as possible, so you can teach him animals or object names, etc… after a while, you’ll see you can ask him to point out where an animal is in the picture, and he’ll do it!

Best of luck.
 
Pennie


 
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 #3 
Hello all,

I am in a similar situation.  My daughter is 2 1/2.  My husband speaks German, I speak English.  We live in Belgium (French speaking).  So far she has just been at home, exposed to the two languages, English and German.  Now it is time for her to attend preschool.  We have the choice of putting her into a local French speaking preschool or into a bilingual German/English preschool.  At the moment she only speaks a handful of words.  She has had difficulty hearing, because of fluid not draining from her ears.  This has been corrected, but doesn’t change the fact she has a lot of catching up to do.  I too am worried that throwing her into another language could possibly delay her speech even further.

I have a son who is four, he had a strong start with English and German.  He was speech was right on target, therefore we were confident in placing him in a French speaking preschool at age 2 1/2.  So far, so good.  His English and German is great, his passive French too. 

Reading the book, Growing Up with Three Languages, Dr. Xiao-lei Wang was a great resource.  She did want her children to have a very strong roots with their heritage languages (languages spoken at home), before exposing them to the local language. 

I am leaning towards Dr. Wang’s method of waiting for my daughter to get a grasp on the two languages, before introducing a third.

Pennie
 
Bridgette


 
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 #4 
Hello all

My family is a multilingual and multigenerational home.   My daughter is being raised with Farsi, Arabic, English and Bengali.  She has not seemed to have any difficulties with all four languages but I use picture communication in the home for all four languages to help her recognize that different words can be used by for the same thing (ie. water, maya, ob, pani).  In fact we also use picture between adults as not all of us speak the same language.  (My mother in law speaks farsi and I do not.)

She is now 2 and speaks quite fluently. Perhaps this might be helpful to others.  I am happy to share my resources. 

Also wanted to say to the mother who had concerns.  Trust your gut.  A mother always knows their child best.  If you are worried about language acquisition it never hurts to check things out.  Most times you will put your fears to rest and if there is something that can help better sooner than later.

Bridgette
 
Maria


 
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 #5 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bridgette
Hello all

My family is a multilingual and multigenerational home.   My daughter is being raised with Farsi, Arabic, English and Bengali.  She has not seemed to have any difficulties with all four languages but I use picture communication in the home for all four languages to help her recognize that different words can be used by for the same thing (ie. water, maya, ob, pani).  In fact we also use picture between adults as not all of us speak the same language.  (My mother in law speaks farsi and I do not.)

She is now 2 and speaks quite fluently. Perhaps this might be helpful to others.  I am happy to share my resources. 

Also wanted to say to the mother who had concerns.  Trust your gut.  A mother always knows their child best.  If you are worried about language acquisition it never hurts to check things out.  Most times you will put your fears to rest and if there is something that can help better sooner than later.

Bridgette



Hi Bridgette, I am curious about your picture communication.  Are they flash cards? Pictures you printed? Do you keep them in a binder or box? This is something I could definitely use at my home and would appreciate the information. 

Also any more responses from trilingual/multilingual families would be greatly appreciated.  We have a 5 month old.  I speak mostly Spanish to her (about 80%), my husband speaks mandarin (80%), her grandparents (who take care of her) mandarin all the time, and then English between my husband and I, and to her when we forget to speak our native tongue.  I am not sure how this will workout.  But it is good to know that delayed speech is normal for this type of situation.

 

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