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  #21  
Old 25.11.2019, 12:58
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

you should each speak your tongue to the baby, that's swiss german and polish.
What you speak with each other (english) might be absorbed passively a bit but in my personal experience kids don't learn it, so don't sweat it if you don't use german.

The kid will learn german in school or through tv like every other swiss german.

Don't avoid speaking swiss german, there is nothing worse than growing up feeling like a foreigner in the only country you have.
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  #22  
Old 25.11.2019, 13:12
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

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you should each speak your tongue to the baby, that's swiss german and polish.
What you speak with each other (english) might be absorbed passively a bit but in my personal experience kids don't learn it, so don't sweat it if you don't use german.

The kid will learn german in school or through tv like every other swiss german.

Don't avoid speaking swiss german, there is nothing worse than growing up feeling like a foreigner in the only country you have.
In all multilingual families that I know where parents use English as their common language even if it’s second language to both did the kids learn English even if they didn’t use it as much.

Growing up in a multilingual environment seems so special in Western society. In many parts of the world it is the norm.
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  #23  
Old 25.11.2019, 13:23
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

The arguments against learning several languages as a child are, as I see it, outdated. The thinking, then, was that the child would be in a muddle, and their language would come out all mixed up.

However, this is automatically prevented when, right from the start, the child associates the languages with separate people: a mama-language, a daddy-language, a friends-language and a language-from-around-here. The language is just another identifiable attribute, then, like the difference between mama's and daddy's smell or the texture of their hair. No big deal.

If the child ever does, later, show signs of mixing the languages, then name them.
You (speaking full, non-watered down Swiss German): Oh, yes, that's right, that's the Polish word. In name-of-your-canton German, it's called "swiss-german-word".

And then, when the child is forming sentences, try to guide him/her to form a complete sentence in one language, whereafter it's okay to switch to another language.

Tip: it'd help a lot, too, if you and your wife at least more or less understood each other's respective mother tongues.
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  #24  
Old 25.11.2019, 22:08
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

Another data point for you - my kids are 9 and 7, raised in Greece, we've been here since the summer. Since birth, I have spoken to them in English (I'm born and raised in the States), my husband has spoken to them in his mother tongue, he and I speak Greek as our common language, and the kids speak Greek (community/school language) to each other. So they've grown up speaking three languages, zero mixing them up, and their German (4th) is now quite unbelievable for having been in school here only 3 months - my daughter is even starting to understand Swiss. Their accents in Spanish/French are excellent although they don't understand a word, because we listen to music in those languages and sing along (because there is no such thing as radio edits here!! haha). Nobody should be telling you what is correct for YOUR family, but I don't think anyone here that is actually raising multilingual children themselves (not anecdotally via others) will tell you that anything mixed up their kids!!

Take care,
Katerina
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  #25  
Old 26.11.2019, 13:54
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

Our children (4 and 1) are brought up with 3 different languages, 2 at home and (Swiss) German at public school. In addition to that, with my wife, I speak English.

This has worked fine for us so far and my oldest is actually more Swiss to anything else.
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Old 26.11.2019, 20:37
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

Definitely speak your heart languages, Polish and Swiss German. Your daughter will likely learn both. She may not speak English at first, but she will understand it. High German will easily come at school. Having a large vocabulary in her primary language will be key to learning the other languages, it is possible to have two primary languages.
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  #27  
Old 13.05.2020, 08:40
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

Very interesting discussion! I agree that raising multilingual babies is the way to go.

Does anyone have experience with doing so as a child-of-immigrants themselves? I am in a relationship with someone of another nationality/language, and so English is our "couple" language. English is one of my native languages, having grown up in the US, but I have another "mother tongue" that I inherited from my parents. It's native and natural to me as well (well, in certain circumstances) but not as good as my English, which is the language of my schooling and professional life. We are in a part of Switzerland where French is spoken, which is neither one of our languages. Therefore our babies would be exposed to 4 languages. I can already see that my "inherited" mother tongue would be most at risk of not being passed on.

In most discussions of raising multilingual babies I've hardly seen any examples of situations like the one I'm in, and just curious if anyone out there can speak to it! Thanks (and hope it's not too much of a derail)
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  #28  
Old 13.05.2020, 08:56
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

Yes, sure. you are talking about 4 languages. My kids technically have four - English, Swiss-German, High German and French.



Read back through the thread - you'll get the general advice and I'm not sure what question you are actually asking, other than 'don't worry', 'trust your child's brain' - and 'one adult, one language'.



What I do recommend, if schooling in Switzerland is the long-term goal, is for the parents to read French because you'll need to help with homework, and to find a babysitter, nanny or childcarer whose French is high level... what I do not recommend is sending your child to be cared for by someone who speaks a 'broken' form of the language.
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  #29  
Old 13.05.2020, 09:46
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

It is in fact very frequent to be in 4 language household, getting itchy. My home is that way, all our neighbors households are -/+ one or two languages. There are ways to promote your inherited mother tongue - visit the country, watch movies with kids, find them penpals when they are small or older, read them from books, etc. You mastering French is important professionally, too, not just helping kids with local schooling. It is good you think about it ahead, you have time to plan.
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Old 13.05.2020, 10:17
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

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Always speak your native language with your child, even if that means there are three languages in the house. The kid will be fine, even better off, and whomever told you three languages was bad for a kid didn't know what they were talking about.
From birth, my grandson has had his mum speaking to him in Italian, his Dad speaking to him in French, and when they're alone as a family unit, the household language is a blend of Italian, French and English! The kiddo also has an aunt speaking to him in Hindi, one set of grandparents speaking to him in Brazilian Portuguese, and us speaking to him in German and English. He's now 3 years old and doing just fine - clever tyke manages to switch between languages very naturally!!
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Old 13.05.2020, 10:24
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

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From birth, my grandson has had his mum speaking to him in Italian, his Dad speaking to him in French, and when they're alone as a family unit, the household language is a blend of Italian, French and English! The kiddo also has an aunt speaking to him in Hindi, one set of grandparents speaking to him in Brazilian Portuguese, and us speaking to him in German and English. He's now 3 years old and doing just fine - clever tyke manages to switch between languages very naturally!!
Yes. And he is a clever tyke thanks to the language exposure, too.
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  #32  
Old 13.05.2020, 10:28
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

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Does anyone have experience with doing so as a child-of-immigrants themselves?
I grew up in a multi language environment, with different languages at school than what either of my parents spoke naturally and I ended up just fine fluent in as many.

Coming to learn German though at a later age has proved much much tougher (not even B1 after more that 10 years).

So, note to past self... learn german as a kid!
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  #33  
Old 13.05.2020, 10:44
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Re: Baby - Multilingual household how to handle

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I grew up in a multi language environment, with different languages at school than what either of my parents spoke naturally and I ended up just fine fluent in as many.

Coming to learn German though at a later age has proved much much tougher (not even B1 after more that 10 years).

So, note to past self... learn german as a kid!
You are cute.. I think I would have had the same note to myself, but we did not like that language too much unfortunately, for historical reasons, and it shows in the acquisition efficiency rates

That said, in your case of 10 years and B1, might just be age not matter of the langauge.

I would like to also say, that no matter what launguages kids get exposed to - they themselves will pick their prefered languages. It is useless to count on exposure possibly automatically translating to acquisition or use. Kids speak so many languages but they have a designated language for whatever category they want. Seeing it systematic and logical is an adult thing.

Getting itchy - the best teaching way, if you are worried about your second mother tongue, is by example. If you attack French and are very obvious and applied about it, kids will most likely copy you and learn whatever langauge is important to you, including your second mother tongue.
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Last edited by MusicChick; 13.05.2020 at 10:54.
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