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Subject: Teaching a child 3 languages when one parent speaks 2 native languages (English and Mandarin) and the other speaks 1 native language (French)
Question: I am from Singapore and I speak both English and Mandarin at a
native level. I also speak fluent French and converse in French with
my husband who is French. My husband and I would like to teach all
three languages, English, Mandarin and French to our soon-to-be born
daughter. I have heard about the one-language-per-parent concept.
My husband will be tasked with speaking to our daughter in French. In
my case, I am the parent who speaks two native languages. Is there
a 'best practice' methodology for our case? Does it mean I can speak
to my daughter both in English and Mandarin all the time or should I
for instance, do alternative weeks in each language?

Reply: The “best practice” is the one which feels most comfortable and most natural to you. Think of the way you became multilingual yourself? I’m sure there were no worries about times, places or situations in which to strictly observe the use of one language to the detriment of another.

Language uses and the use of different languages follow *naturally* from times, places and situations. Your baby will need parenting from you, in whatever language, not scheduled language “lessons”.

For more on myths surrounding one person-one language theories and practices, have a look at this blog post of mine, ‘One person, one ___’:

<a href='http://beingmultilingual.blogspot.com/2011/02/one-person-one.html' target='_blank'>http://beingmultilingual.blogspot.com/2011/02/one-person-one.html</a>;

Feel free to come back to me privately, if you’re still wondering about anything. I live in Singapore.

Madalena

Reply From: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira      click here to access email
 
Date: 16-Nov-2012
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Teaching a child 3 languages when one parent speaks 2 native languages (English and Mandarin) and the other speaks 1 native language (French)    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (17-Nov-2012)
  2. Re: Teaching a child 3 languages when one parent speaks 2 native languages (English and Mandarin) and the other speaks 1 native language (French)    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (16-Nov-2012)

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