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I have a couple of ideas for you. You live in England so what if you continue to speak Catalan to your daughter, your wife speaks Spanish to her, and she learns English outside the home. Or you continue what you are doing but enroll her in a Spanish school, or hire a native Spanish speaking nanny/ teacher to work/play with her a few times a week. Even a Spanish language teacher twice a week will make a big difference especially as she hears her parents speaking Spanish at home. I think the easiest option is the first though since she will learn English fluently in school anyway. Playdates with other children in Spanish will help as well.
Best of luck!
Reply with quote #3
From our experience I can tell, that a child can learn third language passively. We have the same, but different situation: I am Ukrainian, speaking Russian to our daughter, my husband is Dutch, speaking Dutch to her. With husband we speak English to each other. At first, we were sure, that English (the language of our relationship) will stay just our language. But soon, when our daughter was about 2,5, we started noticing, that she understood what we said to each other. As we live in NL, the first language she started speaking was Dutch as around the age of 2 she started attending kindergarten. Russian joined a few months later. Now it is approximately 60% to 40% (Dutch-Russian). At the age of 3 our daughter surprised us, when she started speaking a bit of English to us. We never spoke English to her before. An though her English was not grammatically great, from that moment we started thinking of developing her English.
We try to support languages by reading a lot to her. Lately also in English.
I think that it is important to prioritize the languages by their possible importance/need/usage in her future. I did not try to teach my child Ukrainian, even though it is a very beautiful language. Just because I think that when she's grown up, she will, probably, have a better chance to be understood by others while speaking Russian. Wether it is Ukraine, Russia or any other country of former USSR.
What I also think is that with languages one of the most important things is consistensy. That is why, speaking Russian to my daughter, I do not switch to any other language. Only shortly and in the form of game. This way we learn English.
Hope that our experience will help you to find the right way.
Lots of luck!
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I am very interested in this phenomenon of children learning the language the parents speak amongst themselves without ever being addressed in that language or expected to response in that language.
Does anyone know what the terminology for this is or if there is a book on this?