Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Family matters/health
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #61  
Old 20.07.2016, 12:11
Longbyt's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: ZH
Posts: 8,141
Groaned at 64 Times in 60 Posts
Thanked 12,980 Times in 4,732 Posts
Longbyt has a reputation beyond reputeLongbyt has a reputation beyond reputeLongbyt has a reputation beyond reputeLongbyt has a reputation beyond reputeLongbyt has a reputation beyond reputeLongbyt has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
Husband has a been more lax with it all and talks to him in English, but he gets a daily dose of German in the Krippe anyway. I guess/hope he will be more consistent once the baby actually starts talking.
When a child starts speaking is very late for Dad to swap over! In my experience, a child who is used to hearing one (or more) languages regularly will listen attentively to what is said in these tongues, but may well 'switch off' if they hear another one, especially when this happens at toddler stage, which is when they start talking.
Quote:
View Post
I learnt 5 languages and lived to tell the tale, so my kid should be able to do it too
It may work out but the two situations are not identical so be prepared for the odd surprise, or maybe, disappointment.

Last edited by Longbyt; 20.07.2016 at 12:46.
Reply With Quote
  #62  
Old 20.07.2016, 12:56
Helm's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Zürich<->St.Gallen
Posts: 1,882
Groaned at 8 Times in 8 Posts
Thanked 3,439 Times in 1,129 Posts
Helm has a reputation beyond reputeHelm has a reputation beyond reputeHelm has a reputation beyond reputeHelm has a reputation beyond reputeHelm has a reputation beyond reputeHelm has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
It may work out but the two situations are not identical so be prepared for the odd surprise, or maybe, disappointment.
I know. I joke that my kid can come home dressed like a punk, with a boyfriend, or wanting to vote communist and I will still love him. But if he turns into a bad student, we'll have trouble... I am quite aware I'll be nightmare mom from hell...
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Helm for this useful post:
  #63  
Old 20.07.2016, 13:33
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Zurich
Posts: 3,936
Groaned at 116 Times in 74 Posts
Thanked 5,865 Times in 2,079 Posts
Kittster has a reputation beyond reputeKittster has a reputation beyond reputeKittster has a reputation beyond reputeKittster has a reputation beyond reputeKittster has a reputation beyond reputeKittster has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

I guess I am the product of such an experiment and have half-siblings where the experimental aspect went out of the window so here are my findings:
  • Humans can learn as many languages as they regularly hear, although developmental psychologists set a sort of cut off point at 11 years old for becoming "truly native level absolutely no accent fluent". Not sure I agree with that as I have a few friends who came to Switzerland as teens because of the war in ex-Yugoslavia and speak perfect Swiss German/German.
  • Stick to your native language and - this is important - insist that they respond in the same language. This will cause some argument (I know it did for me) but it really matters. My mother was very strict about this with me, as well as basically only buying me English children's books and cassettes and I don't have a Swiss German accent as well as a pretty large vocabulary (and ego, yes, yes, I know). My half-siblings were allowed to talk however they wanted and they are audibly Swiss German native speakers with a much smaller vocabulary.
  • If "but I don't want to be different" or "this is stupid, all my friends talk [whatever]" becomes an issue, make sure incentivise multilingualism by only allowing media to be consumed in the original language where possible. Also point out the advantage of having a secret language or being able to go so many places to make new friends without the language barrier. Kids may not grasp this easily but I am grateful every day for the effort my parents put in to teach me three languages. I would not have the job or the opportunities I have if I did not speak English so well. Another advantage is that I find it really easy to pick up additional languages and imitate the sounds properly - I guess if you speak Swiss German, English and French, you have the full phonetic range covered, even if you try your hand at Russian or Arabic. All I'm missing is the click sound of the Xhosa...
  • Don't forget to encourage them for other skills too - my parents are both not brilliant at maths but speak several languages, so they sort of decided that this would be the same for me. Not sure that was entirely right but there you go...
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Kittster for this useful post:
  #64  
Old 20.07.2016, 13:50
JagWaugh's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eglisau
Posts: 6,115
Groaned at 42 Times in 41 Posts
Thanked 11,499 Times in 4,546 Posts
JagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
I guess I am the product of such an experiment and have half-siblings where the experimental aspect went out of the window so here are my findings:
  • Stick to your native language and - this is important - insist that they respond in the same language. This will cause some argument (I know it did for me) but it really matters. My mother was very strict about this with me, as well as basically only buying me English children's books and cassettes and I don't have a Swiss German accent as well as a pretty large vocabulary (and ego, yes, yes, I know). My half-siblings were allowed to talk however they wanted and they are audibly Swiss German native speakers with a much smaller vocabulary.
  • If "but I don't want to be different" or "this is stupid, all my friends talk [whatever]" becomes an issue, make sure incentivise multilingualism by only allowing media to be consumed in the original language where possible. Also point out the advantage of having a secret language or being able to go so many places to make new friends without the language barrier.
I wasn't a stickler about only speaking English to the kids. When it was just us I always spoke English, but I made a point of switching to German when they had friends around (I remember how mercilessly we teased kids whos parents spoke anything other than English to them when I was a kid). When they came up with a germanism I would ask "Now, how do you say that properly in English?"

I don't remember any "I don't want to be different" or "This is stupid.." objections. There were some times when they didn't want to watch a movie or such in the original English, but this was usually when they were being lazy and didn't feel like concentrating, or were just plain tired.

There came a point where they would switch languages depending on the subject. Ridicule is generally done in English, politics generally German.
__________________
If everyone you know agrees with you consistently, they are either not listening, or not capable of critical thought.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank JagWaugh for this useful post:
  #65  
Old 20.07.2016, 14:19
eddiejc1's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Derwood, MD USA
Posts: 1,005
Groaned at 22 Times in 20 Posts
Thanked 684 Times in 372 Posts
eddiejc1 has an excellent reputationeddiejc1 has an excellent reputationeddiejc1 has an excellent reputationeddiejc1 has an excellent reputation
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
Thanks, all, for your input. Really interesting to see all these examples!! Keep them coming!

So we have decided that our child will learn our native languages, and in our situation the "one person one language" principle (mother Spanish, father Norwegian) is the only realistic way forward.

I also think it will be ok for the parents to speak English between each other in front of baby, as long as we are 100% consistent. The local language (French here in Lausanne) will just have to come later, at the time of kindergarten and hanging out with other local kids. And I honestly don't think I could stomach Thomas the Tank Engine (or more likely Peppa Pig??) in French, so I'm happy to cling onto English for as long as possible!
I'd like to make one suggestion, but I've never had children nor have I raised multi-lingual family members---so you can take this with a grain of salt. You might think that reading aloud Thomas the Tank Engine or Peppa Pig is boring, but if you really want your kids to have a leg up, read aloud to them the language that you REALLY want them to learn. That will give them a head start when it comes to school. Just because you may think that it's "easy" to learn to read in that language doesn't mean it's so easy for a child. I also think that although ideally a child should be taught to learn to understand both spoken AND written English, if it's necessary to choose one as more important, I would say knowing how to read and write English is more important than speaking English unless they move to an English-speaking environment.

One more thing. This will be a moot point in your case because the local language is French, but if you were to live in Deutschweiz (German-speaking Switzerland), I would strongly recommend reading to them in German. From what I understand, Swiss children learn to read and write written German later than children in Germany. Because of this, I think getting a head start in German might be especially needed. Anyway, I believe that learning to read early (and more importantly, learning a LOVE for reading) is especially important for kids and cannot be overstated.
Reply With Quote
  #66  
Old 20.07.2016, 14:29
Helm's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Zürich<->St.Gallen
Posts: 1,882
Groaned at 8 Times in 8 Posts
Thanked 3,439 Times in 1,129 Posts
Helm has a reputation beyond reputeHelm has a reputation beyond reputeHelm has a reputation beyond reputeHelm has a reputation beyond reputeHelm has a reputation beyond reputeHelm has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
There were some times when they didn't want to watch a movie or such in the original English, but this was usually when they were being lazy and didn't feel like concentrating, or were just plain tired.
I can relate to that. I can watch British/American television of most flavors. But put me someone with Texan/Louisian accent and I will freak out and demand subtitles. I think I lost half of my brain power trying to watch True Detective. Might be because I had barely any contact with it when I learnt English. I can understand a bloke from Newcastle, but Matthew McConaughey will need to come with a subtitle machine...

Quote:
Anyway, I believe that learning to read early (and more importantly, learning a LOVE for reading) is especially important for kids and cannot be overstated.
I run out of books to read to my kid. To be honest I got tired of the bloody cat going to sleep story. So now he gets Games of Thrones - A Feast for Crows - with funny voices. He seems to enjoy it...
__________________

Fighting for Pluto's liberation from the Dwarf League since 2006 @(°.°)=@)x.X)' ' '
Reply With Quote
  #67  
Old 20.07.2016, 14:49
JagWaugh's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eglisau
Posts: 6,115
Groaned at 42 Times in 41 Posts
Thanked 11,499 Times in 4,546 Posts
JagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
I'd like to make one suggestion, but I've never had children nor have I raised multi-lingual family members---so you can take this with a grain of salt. You might think that reading aloud Thomas the Tank Engine or Peppa Pig is boring, but if you really want your kids to have a leg up, read aloud to them the language that you REALLY want them to learn.
...
Reading aloud is important, We started with Dr Seuss and slowly moved on through Prince Eisenherz to Dickens and others. I always did voices for each character and that made it more entertaining for all involved. Seems a bit old fashioned, and I will confess that there were times when I just didn't think I had the energy, but if you make a tradition out of it then you soon loose yourself in the story, and scanning the text ahead, and getting the voices right.

I read in both English and German, it improved my German.
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank JagWaugh for this useful post:
  #68  
Old 22.07.2016, 18:54
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Zürich
Posts: 847
Groaned at 8 Times in 7 Posts
Thanked 1,381 Times in 489 Posts
Trollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
I just can't let go the fact that your Troll speaks better German but makes more jokes in English. Seems stereotypes are based on some sort of truth.
Haha! To the German language's defence, the Troll doesn't really watch tv in German but a lot of movies and kid shows in English. I credit Star Wars and Lego Star Wars for giving him a very particular sense of humour in that language.

For those interested in reading about multilingualism and children, and who can read in French, I can recommend the book "Le défi des enfants bilingues" by Barbara Abdelilah-Bauer. She's a linguist as well as a social psychologist specialised in language and identity development of bilingual children. Her own children are multilingual. It's a very interesting read.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Trollemor for this useful post:
  #69  
Old 20.09.2016, 11:36
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Biel/Bienne
Posts: 20
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Mrak C Annie has no particular reputation at present
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Understand and learn more languages at the same for children,especially under 3 years old is not a big rock. My family has the same issue,I was worried also when I got my boy,but now everything just simply goes natural and well.Now my boy close to 4 years old,he speaks my mother language,his father's language,English and German, now he gonna join a French speaking spielgruppe, so he has to learn French also.
Just do not worry about the children may mix everything and do not know how to talk anymore,it will not happened...and by the way,children they do not take this as a hard job,for this generation is quiet normal and natural,others children around me also three four languages jumping left right,they are all bravo !!
Reply With Quote
  #70  
Old 04.10.2016, 13:24
Daff's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Morges
Posts: 95
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 52 Times in 31 Posts
Daff has made some interesting contributions
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Our baby is 11 weeks old. My son and I speak English or Afrikaans to her, my husband and all his family speak to her in Swiss German, but she will be going to French school, so have asked our friends and neighbours to speak only French to her. I worry that it will take her long to start speaking with her being bombarded with different languages like this, but reading this thread makes me feel better about the situation.
Reply With Quote
  #71  
Old 04.10.2016, 13:37
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Zürich
Posts: 847
Groaned at 8 Times in 7 Posts
Thanked 1,381 Times in 489 Posts
Trollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
Our baby is 11 weeks old. My son and I speak English or Afrikaans to her, my husband and all his family speak to her in Swiss German, but she will be going to French school, so have asked our friends and neighbours to speak only French to her. I worry that it will take her long to start speaking with her being bombarded with different languages like this, but reading this thread makes me feel better about the situation.
Ours took a bit longer and "failed" the 2-year control in Norway, but by age 2,5 he was almost at the same level as his peers and by 3 he had passed them.

Now he's 7,5 and while he sometimes mixes up grammar and syntax (nothing dramatic, we just correct it as needed), his vocabulary is way ahead of monolingual kids his age.

So yes, be ready for a slow start, but don't worry too much.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Trollemor for this useful post:
  #72  
Old 04.10.2016, 13:50
JagWaugh's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eglisau
Posts: 6,115
Groaned at 42 Times in 41 Posts
Thanked 11,499 Times in 4,546 Posts
JagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
Our baby is 11 weeks old. My son and I speak English or Afrikaans to her, my husband and all his family speak to her in Swiss German, but she will be going to French school, so have asked our friends and neighbours to speak only French to her. I worry that it will take her long to start speaking with her being bombarded with different languages like this, but reading this thread makes me feel better about the situation.
Don't worry about the bombardment - there will be many people who will warn you that multiple languages will confuse the child - this is utter rubbish. Consider that the baby learns vision, tactile sense, motor skills, face recognition, feeding, and responds to language in such a short time. Babies excel at 3 things: Feeding, pooping, and learning.

This is the time for the child to learn most easily. They won't get more complex things like grammar until later, but the names of things, and pronunciation will "bed in" and in a few years you will notice one day that your child switches languages, either to suit the speaking partner, or because they know the right word in some other language. I found it fascinating to watch our kids switch language effortlessly from a very early age. There was no confusion at all.

When he was about 4 our son was out for a walk with a Swiss friend. There was an airplane overhead, and our son kept saying "Ugzeug, Ugzeug". The friend (who speaks perfect English) couldn't understand and kept asking in SG what an "Ugzeug" was. In exhasperation, our son finally removed his nuggie and said "An airplane, Thomas, an airplane". As Thomas told us, it wasn't just perfect English, it was also most definitely condescending.
__________________
If everyone you know agrees with you consistently, they are either not listening, or not capable of critical thought.
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank JagWaugh for this useful post:
  #73  
Old 04.10.2016, 13:56
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Zürich
Posts: 847
Groaned at 8 Times in 7 Posts
Thanked 1,381 Times in 489 Posts
Trollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond reputeTrollemor has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
Don't worry about the bombardment - there will be many people who will warn you that multiple languages will confuse the child - this is utter rubbish. Consider that the baby learns vision, tactile sense, motor skills, face recognition, feeding, and responds to language in such a short time. Babies excel at 3 things: Feeding, pooping, and learning.

This is the time for the child to learn most easily. They won't get more complex things like grammar until later, but the names of things, and pronunciation will "bed in" and in a few years you will notice one day that your child switches languages, either to suit the speaking partner, or because they know the right word in some other language. I found it fascinating to watch our kids switch language effortlessly from a very early age. There was no confusion at all.

When he was about 4 our son was out for a walk with a Swiss friend. There was an airplane overhead, and our son kept saying "Ugzeug, Ugzeug". The friend (who speaks perfect English) couldn't understand and kept asking in SG what an "Ugzeug" was. In exhasperation, our son finally removed his nuggie and said "An airplane, Thomas, an airplane". As Thomas told us, it wasn't just perfect English, it was also most definitely condescending.
I can definitely hear the condescending tone. Thing is, for those kids it's all perfectly natural and it's the monolingual people who have a problem...
Reply With Quote
  #74  
Old 04.10.2016, 14:40
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Neuchatel
Posts: 21,032
Groaned at 445 Times in 337 Posts
Thanked 23,987 Times in 10,887 Posts
Odile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Multilingual problems - can baby learn 4 languages???

Quote:
View Post
I should let Ms MD explain her own statement, but I took her as meaning that if your child is learning multilanguages at one time, do not expect them all to be perfect.

For which theory I do have hard evidence. My eldest son's first language was French, followed by English. We then moved to CH and he moved into the CH public school system and I started speaking to him in English (having previously only spoken in French). 6 years on and the rankings are (1) English (2) joint German and Swiss German (3) French.

His French father speaks to him in French but he hears perhaps an hour a day of French. I am a stay at home mother so he has perhaps 4 to 7 hours a day of English (depending if he has afternoon school or not). It's not counter intuitive to realise that his French will suffer due to lack of exposure and practice. But he still holds his own with his French cousins/family .. albiet that even he complains that he just can't get his words out as he would like in French (in comparison to English/German/Swiss German).

4 years on, it would be really interesting to hear from you again ecb- about how your sons cope now quite a few years later. Thanks.
Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Multilingual [learn local language or not] Bam Language corner 35 18.07.2011 16:18
Do you go out with locals, when you try to learn their languages ? Bertrand - Geneva Language corner 17 27.08.2010 15:36
For sale: Baby Einstein DVD in 7 languages [Basel] vtorrano Items for sale 7 12.11.2009 13:02
Baby milk problems maisy Family matters/health 8 24.12.2008 14:28


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 21:26.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0