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Marina
Reply with quote  #1 
Hello everybody! [wave]

I need a good piece of advice. You all have experience raising bi- or monolingual children.
My situation: I'm a Russian living with my German-speaking husband in Germany. The language we speak to each other is German. Only German. My mother tongue is Russian and my family lives in Russia, so it is extremely important for me that my son, who is seven months old now, speaks Russian at a very good level. That would be wonderful if he could become a balanced bilingual both in German and Russian (which is next to impossible I think but we could try). So I only speak Russian to him all the time. However as both my husband and I are fluent in English, we would like to add English to these two languages as well. I have found two bilingual kindergartens which I like: one is Russian-German and the other is English-German. Do you think it is better to choose the Russian one for now and wait till my son goes to elementary school where he will be offered English classes or shall we begin with English now and choose the English kindergarten? Won´t he lose his Russian completely? I really don´t know what would be better.... I was also thinking about sending him to the Russian kindergarten and then finding an English tutor/a playgroup when he is 2 or so. What could you recommend? Could there be any other options?[confused]
I'll be very grateful for all your answers and suggestions! 

Marina





Jess
Reply with quote  #2 
Your son will be learning German no matter what, so I recommend dropping German as a home language.  He will get it from school as well as just being in Germany.  By dropping German as a home language, then you just have English and Russian.  You and your husband are both fluent in English but it sounds like your husband doesn't know Russian.  You become the Russian-speaking parent and your husband the English-speaking one.

As for kindergartens, if you do like up above, then it's more on personal preference.  As long as the child is consistently exposed to all three languages, he'll have no problems picking them up.  If dropping German is a concern, are there active German-speaking grandparents or people around him other than you and your husband who speak German?  Or, the languages at home could be German when it's you and your husband conversing, Russian when it's you and the child, and English when it's your husband and the child.

Language acquisition is a very interesting topic.

The child will be able to pick up on the rules of who to speak which language with.  Sometimes there will be code-mixing as the child learns (like saying 'he parti' for 'he left' [mixing English and French]), but it's totally normal.  It's not a sign of the child getting languages confused.

If your son will be getting English instruction in elementary school, then maybe going with the Russian-German kindergarten will be better (as long as you speak Russian with the child and your husband speaks English).  I say this because if you go with what I've recommended then besides you, your child won't have as much exposure to Russian as he will with German and English.

If you decide not to have your husband converse in English with the child, but instead stick with German, then I think what you've suggested with the Russian kindergarten and English tutor/playgroup is also an acceptable option.

Good luck with whatever you decide!!!
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