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Reply with quote  #1 

Hello, me and my wife found this site as the response to a lot of our questions...thanks for the effort of doing this...keep going!


We are a couple of Mexicans that being recently transferred to live in France, both parents are multilingual...


Mother - Native Spanish -Fluent in German (She lived in Germany) - Fluent in English -Arriving to master French


Father - Native Spanish - Fluent in English - Fluent in French


Our son is almost 3 now,and he already began to attend the "Ecole Maternelle" of course the school is in French as well the society...he understands perfectly Spanish and we believe also French, however his speaking is not really there, he has a lot of words but he hasn't arrive to fully speak, neither Spanish nor french....


We didn't knew there were methods like the OPOL to teach your kids another language...thanks to this site we realized that we can benefit from them ...however we are facing now the option to speak at home Spanish and let him speak French everywhere else...but we can speak 4 languages you think we can actually mix more than me speaking to him in English and then French outside of France and my wife in Spanish and then German sometimes???


Our main fear is that he lost the Spanish as mother language and we don't want to overload and confuse him...

We are the ones that are already confused and almost desperate...any idea will be really appreciated....thanks in advanced...



K Campbell
Reply with quote  #2 
Not to worry!  Your son is only 3 and I think kids are amazing little creatures when it comes to sorting out languages.  Studies show that the best language exposure a parent can give a child is the language that the parent is most comfortable speaking.  That might be Spanish for you and your wife.  So if you speak Spanish most of the time to your son, he will definitely pick it up and keep his mother tongue... then he has a solid language basis for learning other languages like French.  The language of the community (French) will be very easy for him to pick up because there's a huge motivation for it: talking to friends, listening to TV, etc.  The odd phrase of German or English in the home will probably not confuse him if most of the time he is hearing Spanish.
By the way, sounds like a lucky kid to be growing up in such a language-rich environment.

Reply with quote  #3 

Bonjour, Javier!


Je suis professeur de francais langue maternelle en Norvège, depuis 7 ans et mes élèves sont tous multilingues, donc je peux vous donner quelques idées. D'autre part, j'attends un petit garcon pour la fin du mois: il va parler francais avec moi et ma famille, bosniaque avec son papa et sa famille paternelle, anglais et norvégien à l'extérieur de la maison... 

Tout d'abord, ne vous inquiétez pas si votre fils ne parle pas beaucoup pour l'instant. Il n'a que 3 ans, il est encore petit... Et puis, tous les enfants multilingues ne développent pas leur language de la même facon. 

Voici mon conseil: choisissez d'abord la méthode qui vous convient le mieux. Si vous et votre femme êtes le plus à l'aise en espagnol pour communiquer avec votre enfant, choisissez la méthode une personne/une langue. Si vous estimez être assez à l'aise en allemand ou en anglais aussi, alors peut-être que la méthode un jour/une langue ou une pièce de la maison/une langue est une solution qui vous conviendrait?

Sinon, si vous habitez une grande ville, pourquoi ne pas chercher des familles germanophones/anglophones qui peuvent stimuler l'apprentissage de l'allemand et de l'anglais chez votre fils tout en conservant un cadre naturel?

Si vous souhaitez d'autres idées, dites-le moi, j'en ai encore pas mal;-)


Bonne chance.



Dannie Kovalenko
Reply with quote  #4 

Javier, I hear your pain. I hope you find a solution that works out. Post if you find anything interesting.


Thanks Pascale, those are some good ideas that you've shared with us. I've been trying to read and inform myself on all the options and methods for raising a multilingual child as well. We are in a very similar situation to the one Javier describes. I speak Bulgarian (native), English (fluent) and Russian (fluent) and my husband speaks Russian (native) and English (fluent), our home language is Russian, business and network language for both of us is English and the community language is French (we live in Switzerland). I really would like our son (4 months old) to speak Bulgarian, Russian and English as fluently as possible. The one language per parent plus common third language system sounded perfect until my husband refused to speak English at home and thus increasing the exposure of Russian to about 2/3. I myself have hard time keeping to one language only even in the house - I speak Russian to our dog, English to our cat and Bulgarian to the baby which I guess makes for a mish-mash in his head.


So my questions: how bad is it if I speak to my son in more then one language and should I try to switch to one language per day or any other more regulated system? How to balance the exposure to languages so that there is no "favorite" one? And when to introduce "other" languages - like Spanish which we both speak but not exactly fluently. 


Any ideas are welcome!


A mom lost in translation


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