Raising trilingual kids

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Bambino
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Raising trilingual kids

Postby Bambino » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:56 am

Hi there,
I would like to get advice from parents who are raising their kids to be trilingual. I hear that they start speaking later than other kids who learn one language, which doesn't surprise me. Was this your experience? When do you think we should get worried in case of a delay? Which method did/do you use to make sure they speak three languages correctly? What to do and not to do?
I would love to hear your experience.
Many thanks
beatryshe
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Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:20 pm
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby beatryshe » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:27 am

Hi There.

I am Spanish and my other half is Portuguese so we are raising our daughter to be trilingual; we have few friends that at least one parent is not English speaker and all the kids are speaking all the languages without problem.
I could see my daughter is more fluent in Spanish at the moment, she is attending a bilingual nursery (English-Spanish) but she does understand the 3 languages and she can speak also the 3 languages (Spanish better than the other 2) she is almost 3 year old.
I didn't see she start speaking later than other kid so do not worry about that.

Please feel free to contact me if you need more information i will be happy to talk you to.

All the best.

Bea
yumcha888
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby yumcha888 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:46 am

Hi!

We are a Cantonese-Italian-English trilingual family. We use OPOL and my 3.5 year old speaks all 3 fluently (as fluent as you do at 3 years old!). My top tips would be:

- Start as soon as possible, even before the baby can understand, as it will take time for you and your partner to adjust
- If the kids are going to an English speaking school just forget about English at home. There is no need, they'll get it from nursery / school and you should be stuffing as much of the 2nd and 3rd language into their heads before school starts
- Try and get a peer group going i.e. get some kids who are speaking the same languages and who are the same age. You'll find it handy to swap resources with the parents and the kids will realise that the languages are not just odd things that parents speak in the home but are useful outside too

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
Helgibbs
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby Helgibbs » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:14 am

I have experience of caring for a trilingual,child, from 9 months to the age of 3 years.
The child could understand all 3 languages he was being exposed to, but did speak slightly later than average.

I disagree with the previous post about forgetting about English! To be thrust into nursery or school without the basics of English would be completely bewildering for a child!
Make sure they have the language necessary to manage situations for themselves for example asking to go to the toilet, get something to eat, choose an activity, say hello and goodbye to new friends and teachers etc.

I have more information on this subject which I can find for you if you like.

Helen
Caticattiva
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby Caticattiva » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:44 am

Thanks for starting this discussion which will be useful for my family. My baby is 9 weeks old and we have already started using OPOL. We will raise him yo speak Spanish, Italian and English.
The advice about teaching him the basics of English is sound imo. I hadn't thought about it
I'd like to send my son to a spanish nursery but my husband is against it. Vasically he is jelaous that Spanish would be the dominant language. How do you deal with this?
Please any more advice is welcome
beatryshe
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby beatryshe » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:50 am

Hello,

If none of you are English speakers i would advise you not to speak English with them, the kids will pick up the basic when you are with English speakers friends or when you are doing any activity (i.e. child centre, playground…).

If you are thinking of taking your child to a bilingual nursery spanish-English, Spanish will be the dominant language but that will be just at the beginning then the child will pick up the rest of the languages.

My daughter asks me now about vocabulary in the three languages (quite challenge for me :D )

Again, feel free to ask for more information.
raxx
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby raxx » Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:37 pm

We are a Cantonese-Swiss German-English family. I don't know yet how successful our methods are, as my LO is only just turning two. We also use OPOL and LO understands and responds in all 3 languages.

He did start speaking slightly later than his peers, but not to the extent that I had to worry. Now, I am told that he speaks alot more than his peers at nursery.

His strongest language is English due to full-time exposure at nursery, 5 days a week since he was 12 months. Sometimes, he comes home with new English words. When I hear the new English word, I immediately translate it to Cantonese and reinforce the new word in Cantonese.

What is very interesting is the difference between his vocabulary in Cantonese and Swiss German. His Cantonese vocab is very much about self-care, e.g. eating, dressing, packing, tidying; whilst his Swiss German vocab is very much play oriented, e.g. building, making, wildlife etc.

We take LO to Cantonese playgroups, and let him watch selected DVDs like Barney, Thomas, Fireman Sam in Canto. My LO's exposure to TV/screen is extremely limited, hence very precious to him.

It's quite hard work, so I hope we will be able to keep it up!
lily36
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby lily36 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:56 pm

Hi

sorry to ask, but what is OPOL method ? I am very interested in the subject because we are a French/Italian family, DS is 18 months, going to English nursery, and will eventually go to English school. Can you recommend any reading about OPOL ?

DS speaks a few words of French and Italian and understand basic instructions such as go and get your shoes / are you hungry / time to go to bed etc... well in both langages. I don't know about his English as we were advised by friends, doctors, carriers and the ladies at the nursery not to speak English with him (which we do though, from time to time where we are my friends).

The girls at the nursery told us that he is reserved, shy, and I wonder to what extend it may not be due to his lack of English understanding/speaking, because i have never witnessed any sign of shyness in his behaviour.

any comments are very welcome

Thanks
Caticattiva
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby Caticattiva » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:12 pm

OPOL means one parent one language. Each parent only speak to the child in their own language. There is a lot of information online
lily36
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby lily36 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:20 pm

hahhha so we have been doing it since the beginning without knowing it !
thanks
 
Ippyevie
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby Ippyevie » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:50 am

Hi there,

Trilingual family here as well - Thai and French. My boy is turning two in the next couple of months. We have been using also OPOL but sometimes both of us throw some English, just out of habit (because we're speaking together in English). He goes to bilingual nursery - English and French. Although we're changing him to another nursery which is totally French from September.

He is actually an early speaker. He understands/speaks Thai the most because it's his mommy's language, then English second (from nursery and playgroups), then French. But I would way his English and French is very close. I have known lots of trilingual families or even quadrilingual, some of them speak later, some speaks early. I think it's one of those things like crawling or walking - it's either you get it early or not. No need to rush or worry about. If your child is going to speak three languages at the end, a little slow start is worth it I think.

Currently he's actually translating everything. If he says a word in Thai, he will say again in English and French. It is hilarious. Although he won't do this if he blurt out a sentence.

He also tries to different language with different people. If he meets someone new, starting speaking Thai to the person, the person doesn't understand, he will switch to English, if still doesn't understand then he'll try French. He already has a concept that there's three ways of calling one thing and that not everyone understands all of these three ways.

I think it is a brilliant gift you could give to your child. I also have read somewhere that being a trillingual helps develop the brain in a speacial way. Well don't quote me on that but you can always consult Mr. Google. :mrgreen:
siqiuk
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby siqiuk » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:50 pm

Hello mummies, lots of information here. We are a Chinese - French - English family with our first daughter just 5months. We have been using OPOL method without knowing it but so far can't see any result.

By reading all your experience we are keen to keep the way it is. We plan to send her to French school, and since both of us need to use English to communicate then hopefully she could pick up from there.

:P :P :P
petal
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby petal » Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:31 pm

What about when one parent speaks two languages on top?
Then OPOL does not work. Any suggestions from people trying to teach two foreign languages themselves?
Bambino
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Re: Raising trilingual kids

Postby Bambino » Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:33 pm

Thanks very much to all of you who took the time to share your experience!!! Greatly appreciated!