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Raising trilingual child

(7 Posts)
Mumchatting Tue 05-Apr-16 14:48:58

What is your experience of having a trilingual child? Do they speak your native language or did they choose the community language?
When did your trilingual children start speaking?

My son is only 22 months and since birth both me and my husband were trying to be consistent to speak to him our native langauges. We live in England and English is his third language.

He only says few words in my language and few in my husband's. I'm a SAHM at the moment and not planning to send my son to nursery until he is 3.

I wonder what happens when he goes to nursery, will he pick up English quickly or will he struggle?
I'm worrying once he starts speaking English he will stop using mine and my husband's native languages.
I really want him to be able to speak all 3 languages. I know it happens a lot that kids choose the community language over minority language.

So how did you manage to encourage your child to speak your mother's tongue?

I'm just really interested to here all your experience on raising kids with 3 languages.

Marquand Fri 22-Apr-16 18:30:40

Our kids are bilingual, but friends of mine had a trilingual household. French/Japanese couple living in London. The mother spoke French to the kids (consistently), the dad Japanese (intermittently), the couple spoke English to each other, and school was English. French and English were more-or-less on par, with Japanese definitely lagging behind.

In my family and my circle of friends I have found that the minority language lags behind if it's the father's first language. The minority language needs to be spoken consistently by the mother, and she needs to insist to be addressed in that language.

Boobz Mon 16-May-16 14:02:13

We have trilingual children OP (7, 6 and 4). We live in Italy where they speak Italian to their friends, in the playground and in shops etc., they go to a French school so they do all their lessons in French, and we speak English (only) at home.

English is their dominant language because obviously both parents are speaking it, then French, followed by Italian.

We are returning to the UK in August and they will continue to go to the French school, so will keep up their French through education, but we expect them to forget a lot of their Italian. However Italian and French has a lot of overlap, so if they wanted to re-learn it later in life, or come and live in Italy, we would expect them to pick it up again very quickly. We are toying with the idea of having an Italian au pair to try to keep it up, but we shall see.

Good luck!

allergictodiets Tue 24-May-16 14:48:35

I'm Polish, my DP is English, DD ( who is five ) was born in Germany. She is fluent in German and considers it to be her native language. She can understand Polish but completely refuses to speak it ( occasionally even rebels against me speaking Polish to her ), understands and tries to speak a little bit of English, but cannot come up with whole sentences on her own.
Being multilingual worked ( as in she was willing to learn new words or was trying to answer in our native languages ) till she went to nursery at the age of three.
I hope you will fare better.

vinyard68 Tue 12-Jul-16 13:03:57

Hi, I am a German native speaker, my husband is Greek and we are trying to bring up our daughter (8) trilingual in the UK. English is the "family language" and has always been her strongest as she's been to English speaking nursery/school from an early age. German is the second strongest language, but I make a real effort to speak it with her, read German books, watch German television... And still she replies in English 80% of the time. I was getting tired of nagging her all the time so now we have "German hour" in the morning before school but I let her speak whatever for the rest of the day. Greek definitely the weakest, husband not very persistent/consistent. He pays for private lessons for her to keep it up. Plus she loves spending time with her family in Greece and they don't speak English! Definitely more effort than having just the one language but hopefully worth it!

FlaviaX Tue 19-Jul-16 13:27:34

DD is 8 and we're trying to raise her quadrilingual. DH is trilingual, English, Arabic and French, and we live in India, so Hindi is our community language. DH was a SAHD for a few years, and she goes to a Hindi speaking school, so her best languages are Hindi and Arabic, then English and she's only just started learning French. DH and I are very persistent her Arabic and English, we've only ever spoken to her in our language, she has to talk to us in that language, and DH started teaching her to read and write Arabic when she was 3. We felt that she needed to be fluent in at least two before we added in French, so that's why she's only started learning recently.

I'm kind of worried that when we move back home, she'll lose her Hindi, since DH and I aren't completely fluent in it, but DH's best friend and his son are, so hopefully with speaking to them she'll keep some of it. Obviously her English will improve once we've moved, and we're looking at getting her some French lessons as well.

UmbongoUnchained Tue 19-Jul-16 13:32:21

I speak in Japanese to my daughter and my husband speaks to her in Russian. Everyone else speaks to her in English and have definitely prices English is her more prominent language since starting nursery.

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