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Oleg Lokhvitsky
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi. I was wondering what language management system would be advised to teach a child three languages if the parents are both bilingual but only cross over in one language (Native Russian, Native English, Non-Native French vs. Native Japanese, Native English, Non-Native French, Non-Native Swiss German). So, I would be thinking of teaching English, Russian and Japanese... Should each parents speak to the baby in their respective native language, and just speak English to each other (especially in the presence of the baby), or would a parent's multilingual use confuse the baby's distinction of the different language?

Also, is it best to split up languages by people, places, or times?

Thank you for your help!!
Reply with quote  #2 
Okay, it would seem that you and your partner are NOT bilingual. Your tri- and quadlingual respectively. You should take atleast 3 things into consideration when you are raising your child in a language:

1) Native language of both parents.
2) Main langauge of the community
3) What you want your child to be? Mono-, Bi-, Tri-, Quad-, or Quint-lingual?

All together in your household you have:
(N)          Russian
(N/N)     English
(nN/nN) French
(N)          Japanese
(nN)        Swiss-German

A total of 5 langauges. Teach the most useful/sentimental (i.e. Your natives languages) first.

Both of you should make an effort to speak to the child in their native language about four hours minimum each day and read THE SAME BOOKS to the child in two different languages, often. Everyday if you can manage it. If you have to sit and translate each book to Japanese and write the Japanese words into the book, then do that. Just make sure you have a small (or large) home library of bilingual books available in both you and your partners native languages.

It would seem that N English and nN French is you and your partners shared languages. So speak that too one another at all times in those two languages as you see fit. When your child is older, say 3-5 years, you can begin to introduce and actively teach the 4th and 5th language to them. But for now, I think that 3-4 langauges, 2 actively and 2 passively, is a reasonable start.
Oleg Lokhvitsky
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you very much for your suggestion!
I think in the end that will be very similar to the strategy we will adopt.
Perhaps with reinforcement on French from a babysitter/playgroup/etc (since we're both non-native)...
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