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Mixing languages - advice needed

(3 Posts)
lostintranslation2 Tue 06-Jan-15 13:44:10

Hi ladies! I could really do with some advice/opinions on this.
DH and I are having our 1st child in a few days - we both have a different mother tongue (none of which is English) and are currently living in the country where I was born, although that might change. English has always been very important to us though, we met and lived in England for several years, and it was initially the only language we could communicate in, even though we now mostly use mine as it is more convenient and because of where we live at the moment.
We're each planning to talk to DC in our own mother tongue, so she doesn't get cut off from either culture, grandparents, etc. This would mean no English until later, at least until both her other languages are well established. Feeling a bit sad about this for several reasons as English is very important to me culturally (literature, songs, films) but the main issue for me is that I know that even though I want to use my mother tongue with her, because my own relationship with my mother was/is so complicated and I was always made to feel ashamed of having feelings/showing love, whenever I'm in public and want to say something sweet/intimate to DC, I will not find the words in my mother tongue and will feel this great urge to speak English to her. I was wondering if it was ok if one parent speaks language A to a child, while another speaks alternatively languages B or C. I don't want to confuse her, but I can feel it is going to be difficult for me to speak like the loving mother I want to be in my mother tongue - something I would feel much more comfortable doing in English. Sorry if that makes no sense - I find languages are so deeply linked to different sides of our personality/our personal history, and having to choose one and let go of the other with DC would feel like only being half myself with her. Any thoughts/ similar experiences ?

Midorichan Tue 06-Jan-15 15:53:53

You won't confuse them! My MIL speaks Japanese to my children, a friend of mine spoke Spanish and Finnish (as well as English) to her baby, and my step sister had Thai and English spoken to her fro pm the beginning, no confusion at all! Their little brains are wired for language learning smile

lostintranslation2 Tue 06-Jan-15 16:41:34

Good to know Midorichan, thanks for sharing! smile
I know things work quite well for trilingual families when you keep things a little separate (mother language, father language, and 3rd language from living in a different country for e.g. - so other people/school) but was afraid things would be different/ more confusing if it was just me switching from one to the other.

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