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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|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 ___’: http://beingmultilingual.blogspot.com/2011/02/one-person-one.html 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|