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Baby growing up in multilingual home...

 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
43 messages over 6 pages: 1 24 5 6  Next >>
Torbyrne
Super Polyglot
Senior Member
Macedonia
SpeakingFluently.com
Joined 4363 days ago

126 posts - 721 votes 
Speaks: French, English*, German, Spanish, Dutch, Macedonian, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Czech, Catalan, Welsh, Serbo-Croatian
Studies: Sign Language, Toki Pona, Albanian, Polish, Bulgarian, TurkishA1, Esperanto, Romanian, Danish, Mandarin, Icelandic, Modern Hebrew, Greek, Latvian, Estonian

 
 Message 17 of 43
22 November 2008 at 3:20pm | IP Logged 
We have three languages at home with our daughter. I speak English and French with her and my wife speaks Macedonian. My wife and I only speak Macedonian together. The result is that she understands all three the same. She started speaking early for even a monolingual child but is still too young for full conversations. She tends to use the word that is easiest to pronounce but, as time moves on, she can produce all three words for the same idea/object.

Since birth I have repeated everything (including songs/nursery rhymes) in English and French. Slowly I am moving to speaking more French than English as she builds up more relationships with the English-speaking community around us. This is purely to ensure a fair balance.

We started an hour a day of Spanish and German a few weeks ago and it is going well so far. Just some playtime in those languages, nothing more than that. She now understands some basic speech in both. It is incredible to witness.

I have had friends with more than two languages at home and grew up with them all without any problems. One guy I knew spoke Spanish to his dad, Tagalog to his mum, English when they were all together as a family and French at school (he lived in France). His English, which one would think would be his weakest language, was like a native. He went on to study a degree in science in Scotland!
13 persons have voted this message useful



Torbyrne
Super Polyglot
Senior Member
Macedonia
SpeakingFluently.com
Joined 4363 days ago

126 posts - 721 votes 
Speaks: French, English*, German, Spanish, Dutch, Macedonian, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Czech, Catalan, Welsh, Serbo-Croatian
Studies: Sign Language, Toki Pona, Albanian, Polish, Bulgarian, TurkishA1, Esperanto, Romanian, Danish, Mandarin, Icelandic, Modern Hebrew, Greek, Latvian, Estonian

 
 Message 18 of 43
24 September 2009 at 1:36am | IP Logged 
I thought I would update on this thread as it has been almost a year since I posted my last comment.

As I described above, I did indeed move to speaking only French with my daughter. We also continue with the hour of Spanish and the hour of German a day. This has worked very well indeed. After two months she was able to understand all of the basic commands in both new languages. To my surprise she had words in German and Spanish that she preferred over their English, Macedonian or French equivalents after around 6 months of immersion in the languages. A year on she is capable to putting together basic sentences, counting and singing songs in German and Spanish.

Macedonian and English remain her strongest languages, but in recent months her spoken French has come on in leaps and bounds. From my readings of language development, she is able to communicate above and beyond most of her peers in the UK and Macedonia and is probably about on target in French, Spanish and German. She is also getting better as separating the languages out and she is able to identify people with languages in our communities in the UK and Macedonia.

Another interesting thing to come from this is that she has shown interest in other languages spoken around us. She is able to say words in Welsh, Portuguese, Polish, Mandarin, Japanese and Turkish. This ability/desire to reproduce pieces of these languages without any outside encouragement has surprised me most.

All in all this has been a very interesting road so far. I hope to read about other people's experiences raising bi-lingual/multi-lingual children.
18 persons have voted this message useful



showtime17
Trilingual Hexaglot
Senior Member
Slovakia
gainweightjournal.co
Joined 4352 days ago

154 posts - 210 votes 
Speaks: Russian, English*, Czech*, Slovak*, French, Spanish
Studies: Ukrainian, Polish, Dutch

 
 Message 19 of 43
08 October 2009 at 2:20am | IP Logged 
I would speak a language to a child only if it is my native language. So if your wife is Danish and you're French, then I think it's ok for each of you to speak to the kid in your respective native languages. I wouldn't try to introduce a different non-native language.

My parents are also mixed and from early childhood I grew up around different languages. I spoke Slovak at home with my parents (although my mom is a non-native speaker, but learned it to a native level), Czech in kindergarden and school and then plus every summer when we went to visit my grandparents in the Ukraine, in that region they spoke a mix of Russian and Ukrainian. So at kindergarden level I already had exposure to these languages. Czech and Slovak are pretty similar, but even at this early age I was able to distinguish between them and speak them at the right time. So one minute I would be speaking Czech to my friends and then switch into Slovak with my parents. I however don't have native fluency in Ukrainian or Russian, since my mom stopped speaking Russian at me, when I was around 2, but I am still fluend in the language, just not like a native. To add to that, at aga 10, we moved to the US for about 5 years, and I learned English (I speak with an American accent and when speaking English people think I am American) to a native level. So there should be no problem for the kids in my opinion.
5 persons have voted this message useful



yaboimasemase
Heptaglot
Newbie
United States
Joined 3737 days ago

4 posts - 8 votes
Speaks: English, Arabic (Egyptian)*, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Maltese

 
 Message 20 of 43
14 December 2009 at 11:57am | IP Logged 
my parents method: only arabic until i was 4. when they put me in school i knew no English but i picked it up fast. i speak both English and arabic perfectly...
3 persons have voted this message useful



mspen1018
Triglot
Newbie
United States
Joined 3599 days ago

36 posts - 44 votes
Speaks: English, German, Sign Language
Studies: Persian, Spanish

 
 Message 21 of 43
30 May 2010 at 9:09pm | IP Logged 
I grew up knowing and have known Bavarian German and English as far as I can recall because my grandmother was
my favorite person and never spoke English and my mom spoke English and my stepdad and half brother spoke
English only and I always knew it... my mom and stepdad divorced when I was 10 and he married a deaf woman
and I picked up ASL easily and I was the only one able to sign to his new wife.

I took Hochdeutsch which was different in college after not speaking regular German in almost 10 years and
learned about the dialect and picked Hochdeutsch up easily...

The thing is that Children are geniuses and just pick it up and if I have kids I plan to just only speak German
because I learned it like that and it makes them more able to pick up languages via immersion in life...
2 persons have voted this message useful



ladanoise
Groupie
United States
Joined 3561 days ago

45 posts - 46 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: French, Danish

 
 Message 22 of 43
30 May 2010 at 9:37pm | IP Logged 
I sometimes look at a blog (http://multitonguekids.blogspot.com) in which the children are in a highly multicultural environment. The family lives in France, the mother speaks her native tongue (Italian) to the children, the father speaks his native tongue (Dutch)and the parents speak English to each other because the met in an English speaking country. One of the children is highly interested in English precisely because he hears his parents speaking it and he is already trilingual. So go for it!
2 persons have voted this message useful



John Smith
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 4310 days ago

396 posts - 542 votes 
Speaks: English*, Czech*, Spanish
Studies: German

 
 Message 23 of 43
03 June 2010 at 5:12pm | IP Logged 

The Japanese boys speak is very different to the Japanese girls speak. I was just wondering if a Japanese speaking mother raised her son in an English speaking country (she would be his only source of Japanese) would he sound like a woman when talking??? Where would he pick up the male forms? Just a thought.

Jorybu wrote:
My wife and I are discussing this very topic, as we are trying to have children. With her being native in Japanese, and me being native in English, we have devised a plan to ensure that our child is native in both. However, both of us also want our children to learn a European language, and thus we are considereing moving to Quebec at some point to ensure that the child gets education in Englsh Japanese,and French between school and home. We also would like that the children attend school in Japan during the summers so that they can see the family there and get a chance to interact entirely in Japanese.

There is alot to work out still, but with the rate children are able to absorb information, I think it is possible for them to achieve native fluency in three languages if we provide them teh right environment.

2 persons have voted this message useful



Lucky Charms
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
lapacifica.net
Joined 5217 days ago

752 posts - 1710 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: German, Spanish

 
 Message 24 of 43
10 June 2010 at 9:04am | IP Logged 
John Smith wrote:

The Japanese boys speak is very different to the Japanese girls speak. I was just wondering if a Japanese speaking mother raised her son in an English speaking country (she would be his only source of Japanese) would he sound like a woman when talking??? Where would he pick up the male forms? Just a thought.


Yes, I have met a few half-Japanese males in the U.S. with this exact problem (they don't sound totally like women with no clue about male speech, but their intonation and word choice does sound distinctly feminine sometimes). But it should be fine if you make sure your wife isn't the only contact your son has with the language and culture - try to include Japanese relatives, playmates, and media as much as possible. This will also hopefully expose your son to a wide range of situations to increase the scope of his Japanese, so that it's not limited to what I've seen referred to as 'kitchen Japanese' (i.e. he can speak very well about everyday family things but can't understand literature or the news).


2 persons have voted this message useful



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