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Lot
Reply with quote  #1 
Dear all,  My ten month old is exposed to three languages: I speak English to her, my husband Italian (we live in Italy) and my parents Spanish. Compared to her age mates my baby seems to not understand me at all! Her age mates point to the correct things when asked by their mothers and follow simple commands. Not to mention that they already say a few words and mi baby does not.

Any words of comfort?

Thanks!
Luana
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Lot,

I am Italian, married to an Iranian man and live in London. We are raising two trilingual children who are now 4 and 6 years old. I only speak Italian to them, my husband only speaks Persian, and they are learning English at nursery/school. When they were younger, I often thought that they were slightly behind other children in terms of understanding, but I used to reason that they have to learn three languages, and they would eventually catch up. And they have, of course. They still, at this age, mix the languages a bit, often turning to English, their stronger language. 

My eldest is very bright, and yet she seemed to slightly lag behind at school at the beginning, particularly in literacy. Obviously she wasn't as exposed to the English language as much as the other kids, since we don't speak it at home with her.

On top of that, you should try not to compare your child to other children, because they really all develop at their own pace. 
So, if I were you, I wouldn't worry too much about it. What you are doing for your child is great, and you should stick with it. But you need to plan for the future, especially if you are a worrier, and try and preempt issues like this, i.e. be prepared!
I hope you find this comforting. I recently started a blog on my experience bringing up trilingual children http://trilingualfamilylife.blogspot.co.uk/.

Luana
rose
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi
Thanks for your advice and an interesting blog. My son is almost 10 months old and we are trying to teach him Chinese Mandarin (me), Vietnamese (my husband ) and we live in Australia (English).

We dont have any dramas so far as he is still at the listening stages and learning to babble. But i can foresee problems since my husband and i dont speak each others languages and we speak to each other in English.

Whilst i am trying to improve my Chinese, and sing nursery rhymes in Chinese, does that mean i shouldnt sing any rhymes in English and that we dont read any books in English?

Do you have any advice regarding these issues?
sobreira
Reply with quote  #4 
My advice is to stick to Chinese whenever and wherever. Unless you forgot the Chinese word and it's urgent to be understood (to avoid an accident) you can always explain it or invent a word for it. You can invent the rhymes too. Your kid will have plenty of time to develop the community language: if he switches to speak always English when he's 4 y.o., you will regret not having given him the maximum exposure and speaking time in Chinese now. Good luck, and don't give up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rose
Hi Thanks for your advice and an interesting blog. My son is almost 10 months old and we are trying to teach him Chinese Mandarin (me), Vietnamese (my husband ) and we live in Australia (English). We dont have any dramas so far as he is still at the listening stages and learning to babble. But i can foresee problems since my husband and i dont speak each others languages and we speak to each other in English. Whilst i am trying to improve my Chinese, and sing nursery rhymes in Chinese, does that mean i shouldnt sing any rhymes in English and that we dont read any books in English? Do you have any advice regarding these issues?
Luana
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Rose,

I find with my children that consistency is important. My approach is this: I speak to them in Italian most times, I would say 95% of times, at home and outside the home. When they were very young, I would read everything in Italian to them, even if the book was written in English; and I used to make up songs and nursery rhymes in Italian. I think it's really important to build this relationship between yourself and your language. Occasionally, in some social situations, I do speak in English or Farsi to them, but I never, ever mix the languages - this is very important.

My husband and I speak English to each other, and my eldest child sometimes tries to participate in English. When she does, I normally say "what did you say?" in Italian and she repeats in my language. But generally, they speak with me in my language and immediately turn to their father in Farsi.

I guess my experience shows that it pays to be consistent and persistent. It can be done, so please don't give up! - I hope this helps

Luana
trilingualfamilylife.blogspot.co.uk
Kristina
Reply with quote  #6 
Your baby is only 10 months, of course he doesn't understand everything! He is a tiny baby! We have five languages in our household and mix all the time with no problem. Frankly, some words don't translate and most of the time I am too busy getting on with life to censor myself to only say the right word in the right language at the right time. Sure, reading and writing at school is a bit harder than for the other kids, but they aren't far behind enough to worry about. My girls have absolutely no problem not mixing with other, they know exactly who speaks what.
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