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  #21  
Old 08.09.2012, 21:02
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

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My dad didn't talk to me in his own language , and I reallly missing not having learned it.
This is also the case with both of my wives.

First one was a Canadian with a Norwegian father, second a Ticinese with a Swiss-German father, both fathers spoke their mother tongue with their friends, but never at home.

Also the case of my wife's first husband, who is Vietnamese but never spoke it to the kids.

I always have spoken English to my children, even when in the company of non-English speakers. I think this is the best.

Tom
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  #22  
Old 08.09.2012, 22:07
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

My husband spoke his mother tongue, Portuguese, with our son when he was small. At age 2 he wasn't saying much at all. We decided that 3 languages were too much for him and just spoke English at home and he had Swiss German at daycare.

At 2.5 he spoke much more - both German and English. Now at age 6, he's above the average on the tests in both English and German, so no extra German lessons needed for his school start This is rare according to the physiologist that did the testing, and she said that one language is usually below average in bilingual/multilingual children.

I think that if we had of continued with a 3rd language, his ability in the other 2 languages would have definitely suffered.

Funny thing is, without hearing it everyday at home, only on Skype and being around the grandparents, he actually understands enough Portuguese to communicate with other Portuguese speaking kids that don't speak English or German.
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  #23  
Old 08.09.2012, 23:42
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

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I know many disagree with me - but i agree with Stephen is this is backed up by lots of research- three is great, any more and you get confusion which can be very long-term, in the vast majority of children.

I really think that you should not drop your mother tongue and speak French rather than English.
I'm sorry to say Odile that this isn't true. One of the issues with this area, and one of the reasons why it is still debated a lot is that there ISN'T a lot of research in this area.

How would you do research on the impact of 4 languages on a childs development? How many kids are in that situation, for a start? And then for those that are - how can you meaningfully test the variants?

eg

Group 1 - Speak language 1 at home to Dad, Language 2 to mum, and Language 3 only on TV

Group 2 - Speak language 1 & 2 to Dad, but language 2 to Mum and language 4 on TV

etc etc

It just isn't doable in any meaningful way.

There is no meaningful research on the topic. Only theories.

Nil - best advice I ever got was "Language development is like a tree. You can never see it happening, but it grows, and it becomes powerful". Don't sweat it
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  #24  
Old 09.09.2012, 00:11
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"Raising Multilingual Children" by Tracey Tokuhama Espinosa .....

Great book from neurological and psychological perspectives ... a must read.

Short answer is continue to speak French.

Language development starts in the womb so what you spoke then is the mother tongue - there might be several - and these are learned/absorbed easily on one side of the brain, whereas languages learned later (there are stages - 9 mths, 2 yrs, ....4 yrs, can't remember ..) are learned on the other side of the brain, ie logically. That's why it's harder to learn the older you get, especially for adults.

Read the book it's fascinating .. AND the author used to live in Switzerland (and many other places) AND she has a tribe of totally multilingual kids herself.

Stick with your mother tongue when one on one with your kids ... and read the book re how many other languages will work and under which circumstances/conditions.

Love it!!

Lisa
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  #25  
Old 09.09.2012, 00:19
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

Living in Barcelona it would be good to learn Catalan so I'd suggest speak in your preferred language and Catalan.
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  #26  
Old 09.09.2012, 09:31
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

Thanks guys for all the inputs. I was very busy and couldn't read it until now.

I speak French to my kids and my husband speak Turkish. Because he doesn't understand French, we have to speak English between us.

Me to hubby: English
Hubby to me: English, Turkish
Me to kids: French
Hubby to kids Turkish.

The TV is in English, so they are completely surround by English as I have no one to speak French to, all our friends are Spanish, Catalan and speak English.
We are also learning Spanish.

My daughter learns Catalan at school and Spanish with her little classmate as many are not Catalans.

My mother tongue is French but I live my life in English since 8 years. All my Internet reading, researches, etc are in English. I even think in English and not in french.

There is no short term nor long term project of my husband learning French, Simply because we both are learning Spanish. He does understand some very simple sentences and words in French.

I just find it very hard my daughter speaks to me in Catalan. She can speak French but since all her days are in Catalan, it is what comes first to her. I really hope this mix of languages will settle soon and allow her to speak properly with complete sentences and not just some words put together without a proper structure.

-Maman, jus s'il te plait.
-Maman, je veux du jus, s'il te plait.
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  #27  
Old 09.09.2012, 11:32
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

Franchement, I don't really get the problem.

Is it that you fear you cannot correct a 100% a speech in Catalan, or what is this about?


Of course it is not a very good idea being in Catalunya without knowing a good Català and Spanish, but that's rather your and your husband's problem, not that one of your children, always given they go to a local school.

But being a native French speaker, you should be able to understand Català at least if slowly spoken and shouldn't have much difficulty in learning it. Just reply in French when your children speak Català with you, as suggested by other users above.
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  #28  
Old 09.09.2012, 11:34
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

Nil, I think it is too mamy to the children when it is too many for the parents. As a parent, you of course make the efforts to care for those languages but nobody is superman/superwoman. In each familly, there will be a limit and your work is indeed to find it, as your messages show. I can onlywarn about abandonning one of the languages that is essential to a parent's identity as this is also part of the emotional identity of the children. Thinking practical is one thing but sometimes, it is more important to care for the emotional and cultural identity heritage of the family. Planing time and situations where each language really is a natural way of communicating and makes sense in a child's mind is thenext requirement. But there is only "I did my best" here, no "I did it perfectly right". Your best must make sense in the building up of your children's identity.
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  #29  
Old 09.09.2012, 11:41
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

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...
As a parent, you of course make the efforts to care for those languages but nobody is superman/superwoman. In each familly, there will be a limit and your work is indeed to find it, as your messages show. I can onlywarn about abandonning one of the languages that is essential to a parent's identity as this is also part of the emotional identity of the children.
...
Agreeing on that, the only "innatural" i.e. "strange identity" thing in that situation is English. All the rest is "natural". But how could one get rid of the English thing if it's the only shared language?
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  #30  
Old 09.09.2012, 13:33
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

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Agreeing on that, the only "innatural" i.e. "strange identity" thing in that situation is English. All the rest is "natural". But how could one get rid of the English thing if it's the only shared language?
English isn't unnatural language as I speak it on a daily basis and like I said, I only think in English and not in French.
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  #31  
Old 09.09.2012, 13:44
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

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English isn't unnatural language as I speak it on a daily basis and like I said, I only think in English and not in French.
Then drop French, if you are afraid your daughter could be confused by too many languages (personally I wouldn't, but it was you to fear that).

Unless you plan to give up Catalunya to settle in France, Belgium, Québec or Romandie.
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  #32  
Old 10.09.2012, 09:28
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

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I even think in English and not in french.
I think in English, French, German, and Italian, particularly when speaking them, but even when not. I even dream in all of them!

Tom
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  #33  
Old 10.09.2012, 09:39
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

Nil, stop showing off
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  #34  
Old 10.09.2012, 09:42
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

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Nil, stop showing off
Jajaja

If I would be showing of, I would have put a picture of me and my (obviously) gorgeous kids.

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  #35  
Old 10.09.2012, 09:49
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

If you plan to stay longer term in Catalyuna, then learning catalan and speaking it at home is the best option for the entire family.
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  #36  
Old 10.09.2012, 11:26
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

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If you plan to stay longer term in Catalyuna, then learning catalan and speaking it at home is the best option for the entire family.
To speak it at home, you have to be trully fluent in it. Living in a big cosmopolitan city like Barcelona, Catalan isn't the only language and it is a bilingual city where all services are provided in both Spanish and Catalan. The kids are obligated to learn Catalan at school until they reach 6, after that, the Spanish is used in schools.

I find it amazing that she can speak so many languages as such a young age. I am trully happy that she feels Catalan before anything else. I am, as a parents, being confused and powerless in my job to make her having a good communications skills. The mix of languages, the lack of constant exposure to some of them makes it difficult to push it.


I am going to take this advise and try to put it under practice.


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2 words: don't worry
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  #37  
Old 10.09.2012, 12:04
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

Hi.

In one willage nearby my city in Vojvodina, people speak serbian, hungarian, bulgarian, romanian and german, and they don't think that this is too much. Willage is mixed and they live there for hunderts of years.
Also, in schools kids learn english.

So, there is no too much, if kids talk correctly, without mistakes in grammar or mixed languages in one sentence.

All the best
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  #38  
Old 10.09.2012, 13:59
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

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To speak it at home, you have to be trully fluent in it. Living in a big cosmopolitan city like Barcelona, Catalan isn't the only language and it is a bilingual city where all services are provided in both Spanish and Catalan. The kids are obligated to learn Catalan at school until they reach 6, after that, the Spanish is used in schools.

I find it amazing that she can speak so many languages as such a young age. I am trully happy that she feels Catalan before anything else. I am, as a parents, being confused and powerless in my job to make her having a good communications skills. The mix of languages, the lack of constant exposure to some of them makes it difficult to push it.


I am going to take this advise and try to put it under practice.
I used to live in Barcelona so I have a lot of understanding for your situation. AFAIK, all schooling in state schools is exclusively in Catalan. It can be a challenge speaking it at first but if you don't know how to say something, just say it in Spanish instead.

Spanish is the most common langauge spoken on the streets of Barcelona, but catalan will be essential for your kids education and is likely to be the only language many offiical services are provided in in years to come. How do you manage if you go to a meeting of tenants in your building and it is held in catalan? Or if you have to fill in offical forms in catalan?

In my experience, Spanish and Catalan may have equal legal status in Barcelona, but in reality catalan is given preferential treatment.
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  #39  
Old 10.09.2012, 14:03
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

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I used to live in Barcelona so I have a lot of understanding for your situation. AFAIK, all schooling in state schools is exclusively in Catalan. It can be a challenge speaking it at first but if you don't know how to say something, just say it in Spanish instead.

Spanish is the most common langauge spoken on the streets of Barcelona, but catalan will be essential for your kids education and is likely to be the only language many offiical services are provided in in years to come. How do you manage if you go to a meeting of tenants in your building and it is held in catalan? Or if you have to fill in offical forms in catalan?

In my experience, Spanish and Catalan may have equal legal status in Barcelona, but in reality catalan is given preferential treatment.
You are right. All the school meeting are in Catalan. While I don't study Catalan now but Spanish, I still understand Catalan to an extend. I was pretty amazed of my understanding last week at the meeting. I can read it and can kinda understand a bit of it. People are very kind and patient with me and do a lots of effort to help me out.

It has been just a little over a year we are here and I am very impressed of my level considering I didn't know the language at all.
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  #40  
Old 10.09.2012, 15:10
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Re: Multilingual kids- when is it too many?

So Nil, it seems the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
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