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3-lingual toddler

(27 Posts)
sorrow Thu 03-Apr-03 21:20:49

Hi I am a mum of 3lingual toddler ( 2 tomorrow) . He speaks little polish ,vietnamese and english . My husband and myself talk in polish but he and ds talk in vietnamese .My little one understands both languages at the moment but I am looking for some kind of guidance how to encourage him in the future to speak 3 of them ....We go 3 times a week to playgroup and he will start play-school in september to catch up on english ...I wonder what will happen when he starts to speaks english on a daily basis ??? We would really want to keep the languages.Any advise ??

sorrow Sun 06-Apr-03 07:53:15

anyone out there with 3-lingual boy ?????

SoupDragon Sun 06-Apr-03 09:40:37

There's a bilingual babies board here on , and another one on (.com is the US site, is the UK version).

For children over 2, visit for their bilingual children board.

You may find more people on these specific boards for raising children bi-lingual. There may be some tri-lingual parents on there too.

Hope this helps

Bron Sun 06-Apr-03 16:17:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bron Sun 06-Apr-03 16:17:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CER Sun 06-Apr-03 23:26:47

You sound like a very talented family. I'd love to speak even one other language fluently and I can imagine that being trilingual will be a real asset to him.

It sounds like you are doing exactly the right thing to encourage him to talk all three languages.

I think that as long as you keep talking Polish and Vietnamese to him at home he will keep picking them up even when the main language that he is exposed to outside the home is English.

Like Bron said, having books and videos will help too. Do you have any Polish or Vietnamese friends or relatives with young children that he can play with so that he sees that other children talk these languages too?

You may find that he will start talking to you in English when he goes to nursery, but if you reply to him in your "mother tongues" he will still be getting the encouragement that he needs to be able to switch to these languages too.

sprout Mon 07-Apr-03 08:22:06

Hi, sorrow, I've only just seen your post. My dd (3 next weekend) is tri-lingual (French/German/English) and so are a lot of our friends' children here in Brussels.
No time to post more now, but off the top of my head I'd say that 2 useful books to try to get hold of are "The bilingual family" (by Harding & Riley) and "Growing up with two languages" (by Cunningham-Andersson). Very practical and realistic with lots of different examples of language mixes. I got mine from Amazon, if you have trouble locating them. Also found the "Babytalk" book good; not at all concerned with multilingual issues, but good on how to maximise your child's language aquisition without putting him/her under pressure.

sorrow Mon 07-Apr-03 12:06:58

No I dont have any polish friends around ( but my mum visits us quiet often and we go to Poland and Vietnam regularly )but his best friend is Viet boy. Have you ever been bullied only because you want to keep the language(s ), I have by a childminder ...She should know better I suppose but she didnt .How sad it is .Thank for the support . Ill try to buy those books and see what they say about 3-l... Thanks again.

pompom Mon 07-Apr-03 12:43:01

My daughter is just two and hopefully will grow up being bilingual as I am french and speak to her in French. She has lots of books in french and in English and I read both languages to her although my husband sticks to English. I try to promote both languages equally but tend to use french with her at home and a mixture of both outside. She is not confused and can translate happily from one to the other too. It souns like you are doing really well and shouldn't worry. Of course there's always going to be a more prominent language in the end especially if she goes to a school in England. In fact i worri sometimes that I speak too much french to my daughter as after all she'll be educated in english schools!

morocco Sat 12-Apr-03 23:49:39

Can I ask for some advice from you experienced trilingual lot? My ds is only 6 months old so obviously it isn't all that pressing an issue but I wondered if you had noticed if your kids started talking at a later age/confused languages etc when they first started talking and whether you would recommend only 2 or 3 languages esp at first.
I ask cos our ds is brought up by dh and I at home in English and also in Arabic by childminder - his first sound is grrrrr which I think must be arabic - not any language I recognise in any case But in a year or so I can send him to either a French or Arabic speaking nursery. for various reasons I prefer French but do worry it might be too much of an overload - any opinions?
Most little kids here are bi or tri lingual (arabic, berber, french)

mammya Sat 12-Apr-03 23:59:04

Morocco, didn't notice dd speaking later than "monolingual" children. She was mixing up the two languages at first, saying things like "encore cheese", although that didn't confuse her.Now at 2 she can make the difference and switches effortlessly between french and english. When she learns a new word in one language I make sure to teach her the equivalent in the other language.

mammya Sun 13-Apr-03 00:11:23

Reading another thread on baby sign language has reminded me of something that might be useful: I used baby signs with dd before she could speak and I think that really helped her to learn 2 languages at once, as each sign corresponds to one word in each language.

mollipops Wed 16-Apr-03 09:38:28

I don't have any exp myself of a bi/trilingual child, but I have just been studying this in my psych unit, so was excited to see it discussed here! According to my text, which is excellent and very current, children who grow up hearing/learning more than one language show no noticable difference in the speed at which they learn each language, or how well they use them, compared to children who grow up knowing only one. A child who learns another language before the age of about 7 yrs will speak it as fluently as a native speaker of that language!

Children learn languages far more easily than adults or even teenagers do. Don't worry, if they are hearing it on a daily basis, they will pick it up without even trying!

morocco Wed 16-Apr-03 13:59:53

thanks everyone. I checked out the link, soupdragon, and found lots more answers to questions so v useful.
Bron - what on earth is Teletubbies in different languages like? and I thought they just spoke 'teletubby'!
Is it true that they are introducing French in primary schools now/

monkey Wed 16-Apr-03 16:21:52

it's mainly the narrator who speaks the foreign language, but you can mkae out the teletubbies French/German/whatever too. (sorry to butt in )

mammya Wed 16-Apr-03 21:15:30

I've only ever seen Tellytubbies here in English, where can you see the programme in different languages?

jusdepome Sun 27-Apr-03 00:22:14

Mammya, I have a few "french" speaking teletubbie video tape which I bought in Switzerland. You can order them over the internet in France, but have to be careful because they have a different video system (SECAM). As far as I know in Belgium they have the same as in England (PAL). I guess you have to order them in the country where they speak your language.

mammya Sun 27-Apr-03 21:40:50

Thanks jusdepomme. I'll have a look on, I didn't know they used the PAL system in Belgium as well.

Meanmum Sun 27-Apr-03 21:48:36

There are two broadcasting standards globally. They are NTSC and PAL. America, most South American countries and Japan use NTSC. Actually some African countries do too. I don't know much more than that I'm sorry. France are on a PAL system too so I don't know what the SECAM thing is.

If you are buying DVD's be careful as they may have country restrictions on them. Most modern DVD players have the ability to read all country specifications now but check when you are buying one just in case it doesn't. If it doesn't then you can buy a disc which will enable your DVD player to read other country specifications. I think it costs about £100.00

steppemum Mon 28-Apr-03 11:00:23

hi everyone, my ds is 4 months, and is being brought up tri-lingual (english, dutch and russian)(sorry, no capitals, bay on my lap!) I read everything I could on the subject before he was born, and basically there are 101 different ways of doing it, and all will work, but might end up with one or more language being stronger. I did discover a few essential does and don'ts. First, it is much more likely to succeed if both parents speak both the languages used in the home. Second, when you speak try and say whole sentences in one language or the other, and not jumbled, so they can distinguish which word belongs to which. Everthing I read was very positive about the effects on the child, even suggesting that 2-3 language children learn to read quicker! Some books suggested that they may initially be slower to speak, and appear to has less vocab, but that is because they have that vocab in two languages instead of one. one suggestion, get relatives to record nursery rhymes, and stories onto tape, so you have different voices speaking the different languages. Also get hold of as many books and videos as you can. Anyone know of teletubbies in Russian?

mammya Mon 28-Apr-03 13:28:48

meanmum, as far as I know the French System is SECAM and not PAL but I've been here so long it may have changed... I've never tried playing a French tape on my British video because I assumed the two systems were not compatible. Maybe I'm wrong? Anyone knows?

Another thing: does anyone know if it's possible for a child being raised bilingually to achieve literacy in both languages? How would you go about it?

morocco Mon 28-Apr-03 13:40:21

I think France is secam but it prob doesn't matter to your video as most of them are both pal/secam compatible these days - the front of your vid normally tells you this if they are. if they aren't it doesn't hurt to try as for example playing American tapes on a non compatible machine just means you get it without the sound or in b/w (sorry can't remember)
My video can also record videos in different formats so I can send them to friends who only have one system (not boasting about my hitech video honestly - it was the cheapest in the shop!)

jinna Mon 28-Apr-03 13:44:08

my son is bilingual - english and his mother tongue
but i introduced him to other languages when he was young by using a cd-rom called babywow on - it shows pictures of objects and you chose the language you want the words to be said in - there are about 8 different languages - he seemed to pick the words quite easily and enjoyed playing with it

marialuisa Mon 28-Apr-03 14:04:20

DD has her teletubbies/tweenies videos in Spanish and the language is very clear. DH approves because tinky-winky has a very masculine voice in the Spanish versions. The variations I've seen seem to have the teletubbies speaking more clearly, less babytalk than in the english original.

steppemum Tue 29-Apr-03 08:36:11

mammya - Yes you can be literate in both languages, many people are. Those I know who have done it, waited until reading was established in one languae before adding the other. Keep reading stories in both languages and let you child follow the text. One tip I was given for writing is to use different coloured paper or pens for each language. Actually phonetic languages are MUCH easier to learn to read than English

morocco - you asked if there was such a thing as "too many" languages. Well I used to teach in an International school and I was quite concerned by some of the children's language, some seemed to have 3 "half" languages, and didn't have any one language that really went to the limits of their intelligence, if you see what i mean. I wanted to bring ds up trilingual, so I did lots of reading etc. On reflection, I think that the families where the languages were poor, where because the children had very poor role models (learning English from a mum who spoke poor English), or the parents weren't very literate, so there was very little reading going on at home. So, although it takes a bit more effort, I think it is perfectly possible to use 3 languages, as long as you are aware of the pitfalls. We brought stacks of books and storie on tape back with us, and my dh is going to look after ds one day per week to make sure his Dutch is OK (not an option for many I know)
sorry this post is a bit long, it is a subjetc close to my heart

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