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Meric
Reply with quote  #1 
Me: Mother tongue- Turkish, fluent in English and Greek
Husband: Mother tongue- Greek, fluent in English, basic in Turkish
Zoi Nil: 3 months old
Dear friends,

I am Turkish and am married to a Greek and we live in Greece. We have a 3 month old girl and we have since the beginning been using the OPOL system so the child is addressed in Turkish and Greek. When I first moved here we were speaking English with my husband until i became fluent in Greek and so we now communicate in Greek. However, we would like to introduce English as a third language by starting to speak it between ourselves when the baby is present (it is difficult to revert back to english again when family and friends are around) and continue to address eachother in Greek when we are in company of friends and family in Greece (in Turkey the common language we use when my husband is around is English although he also understands basic Turkish).
I would also like her to understand and speak English because I have also grown up in an environment where Turkish and English were used and I continue to read and write in both languages (e.g. i have a diary for the baby in which i write on both languages) and sometimes find that i express myself better in certain situations in english and vice versa.
If we don't strictly use English among each other at all times would this confuse the child? How could we efficiently systematise the usage of English and Greek between us so that it doesn't confuse her?
thank you!
Meric
Erik K
Reply with quote  #2 
Will the child be spending lots of time in each country as she grows up, frequently travelling to Turkey and then back to Greece? If so, you and your husband could always speak English when you two are home alone with the girl. While in Greece, speak only Greek when in public or when Greek relatives are present. While in Turkey, speak only Turkish when in public or when Turkish relatives are present (your husband will have to suffer and struggle to do this!).

If you expect to visit Turkey only rarely, then that system will not work well. The child would not get enough exposure to Turkish. In that case, you could try the following method:

Because you all live in Greece, you can assume your child will learn Greek. You don't need to speak it in the home, but one or both parents should always speak Greek in public whenever you all are in Greece.

At home, you should consistently speak Turkish to your baby; when she is old enough, you can insist that she speak Turkish back to you.

At home, your husband can consistently speak English to the child; when the child is old enough, insist that she speak English back to him.

However, you would make an exception to those rules when relatives or other guests visit your home. In that situation, everyone should speak the language(s) that the relatives/guests prefer to speak.


Meric
Reply with quote  #3 

thanks a lot for the advice Erik v. useful. As we do go back and forth between Greece and Turkey I think your initial suggestion fits best. It will be tough to switch back to english after having started Greek but we can manage- and my husband in the meantime will learn Turkish faster! thanx again
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