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Reply with quote  #1 

Dear all,

First of all I'd like to say how glad I am to find out about this site and such useful information you can gather here. My situation is quite unusual. Me and my husband we both are native Persian(Farsi) speakers and we live in UK. Previously, I lived for many years in Italy and I am quite fluent in Italian. We have a 13 months old baby boy and we are very keen that he becomes trilingual. I try to speak most of the time Italian with him and I also take him to an Italian playgroup. My husband speaks Farsi with him and obviously me and him we communicate through Farsi with each other. Outside the house and in the playgroups I speak English with him. Considering that the dominant language in our family is Farsi, and around our family I speak Farsi with him(otherwise looks a bit awkward!) it's impossible to respect the OPOL rule all the time and therefore there is no consistency in our established language system so far. My concern is if this is all too much for him and eventually he gets confused. How can I develop a language system whereby he can learn all three languages and distinguish where/to whom speak the relevant language? Secondly, since I am quite fluent in French too and again I’d like him to learn it, when/how I might start introducing that language to him?


Many Thanks


Reply with quote  #2 

I think you are doing a great job. As longas your child hears and responds in the languages .....I have a three year old. I'm bilingual in spanish & english since birth . We live in a complete English speaking community --only spanish at home .My daughter at 3 already is fluent in English and when she feels moved speaks in Spanish too.  I have incorporated Spanish cartoons to her tv time and English shows as well.

Reply with quote  #3 

Dear Alida,


Thanks a lot for your advice. I'll try to do my best and then we'll see the outcome





Reply with quote  #4 
Hello Zara,

You are doing fine. Your system needs no changing whatsoever since you are almost a ML@H family you don’t need to worry about the Farsi. Perhaps you’d like to continue with the Italian even when you are out and about? It would be a good way to reinforce the Italian, as it is likely going to be the weakest of your son’s languages.

About the French. If your son has an easy time with all three languages, feel free to introduce it. If not, chances are that the French will cannibalize on the Italian he already knows — and he may learn neither very well. If you are afraid of ruining the Italian, just wait until he has a good command of the first three languages. Speaking three languages is a sure sign that his language brain is very nimble and he’ll probably pick up French very fast — and certainly at twice the speed of his class mates!

Good luck,
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Christina Bosemark
Founder & List Moderator
Multilingual Children’s Association
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