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    Default Raising a trilingual child

    Anyone has experience in raising trilingual children? I would love some advice.

    Me and DH speak different languages, we communicate in English. I want DS to speak both our languages but i don't really know how to teach him and i'm worried he may be confused or have speech delay.

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    Default Raising a trilingual child

    We are only bilingual- and it's hard at times. DD spent her whole life in Oz so even tho we are now living overseas we talk English all the time when we are at home.
    With DS 18mths, even tho he only says very few words I see he his much more comfy with language 2, as he is exposed to it much more. however with the basics "let's go change your bum" I'll say it in both languages and I would say that he is understanding both.

    I speak to him a lot in language 2 so he understands ppl around him. But DD and I work in a lot of English for him too, often we are translating things as in saying it in both languages.

    DD spoke very early on, however with DS he isn't saying much at all I'm putting this down to being bilingual.

    I'm guessing 3 will be hard, if your communicating in english with your partner, he'll probably pick that up first perhaps when you have alone time with your LO work in your language, and have your partner do the same with his language.

    It all sounds confusing but kids pick it all up very quickly.
    DD now 8 had a little accent speaking language 2, but after 3mths here it's gone. She now reads, and writes both languages, and speaks both fluently without an accent in either. I think it's worth the effort!

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    we just use all languages at home.
    only issue has been that dd doesnt understand that not everyone speaks those languaes, and daycare get confused

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    Default Re: Raising a trilingual child

    I know a family who speaks 3 languages. The parents are from different countries and live in Australia, so the children speak mum's language, dad's language, and English. Their advantage is that mum can speak dad's language and vice versa, so everyone understands each other.

    I don't know whether the children took longer to start talking, but they are currently fluent in all 3 languages. However English is their choice to speak amongst themselves.

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    We are a bilingual family ( me - English, DH- Japanese). DS (2.5yrs) has the same amount of vocabulary as his peers but is spread over two languages so he seems 'slow'. We were in Japan for the first 18 months of his life. We are big on 'bilingual from birth', not OPOL (one parent one language) method. Because he is with me most of the time so wouldn't get enough Japanese input. So I say everything in both languages but his dad speaks Japanese only to him. It's time consuming but important for us. He will probably be fairly bilingual but not biliterate unless he develops a huge interest in studying Japanese reading/writing. I worry about his language but have to keep in mind that research shows kids have minds that are developing and making new neural pathways and we can't compare their way of learning languages to that of adults. Kids can definitely acquire three languages to a proficient degree although true trilingualism is rare (so is true bilingualism actually). I say go for it. If your child is not coping with the languages it should be fairly evident.

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    Default Raising a trilingual child

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    OJandMe is offline I am the strength my children will have.
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    I"m not bilingual, but I lived for a while with a trilingual family. They were Filipino, they spoke Tagalog, Visayan and English... I was really blessed to be there while their little boy was learning to talk. He was spoken to in all 3 languages. He didn't have any problems picking up the languages. He just knew that their was 3 words for table, three words for shoes.. 3 ways of asking 'where' and 'why'... so for a while he's mix languages in sentences... but as he got bigger he worked out to answer in in each language depending on how the conversation was started.

    ETA: also, as a teacher... from an education perspective being able to speak more than one language is excellent for critical analysis, maths, music and analytical thinking
    Last edited by OJandMe; 31-08-2012 at 14:03.

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    From a linguistics perspective... kids who are raised bilingual/multilingual usually do take a little longer to become fluent in each language, but their proficiency by school age is easily as good as their peers. Being multilingual also has so many benefits that you really shouldn't let any potential language "delay" worry you.

    Interestingly, the most effective way of ensuring a child learns two languages fluently is to have one parent speak to the child exclusively in one language, and the other parent in the other language. When it comes to 3 languages in the home though, that's a tricky one. All I can suggest is to ensure that your son is exposed as much as possible to all three languages. Try to make sure that one language isn't reserved for one use... eg. that games are played in all languages, songs sung, books read etc. With plenty of meaningful exposure, kids will usually pick up (and then learn to distinguish) whatever languages they're exposed to.

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    Default Raising a trilingual child

    My mum was raised trilingual, I just know from the stories that she didn't utter a word until she was 3 and then in the bath said "no vashi capo" (sp???) which is no wash head in Romanian, Hungarian and German! My granddad spoke to her only in Hungarian, grandma only in Romanian and great grandma only in German. They said that after that she just started speaking all three languages to the right people, but not a word before that. To make it more complicated she then started kinder in a fourth language!

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    Default Raising a trilingual child

    Not my children but I guess you could call them my god sisters?
    Mother is Greek, father is Spanish and they live in Sydney so speak 3 languages.
    I have found sometimes they would speak all 3 languages in one sentence when they were younger but now at 5 and 7 are fluent in all 3.
    They also had the problem of not understanding that others couldn't speak all of those languages.

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