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Subject: Trilingual child, day care suggests teaching English at home
Question: Dear experts, We live in the US (community language is English). My wife is a native Chinese speaker and I am a native German speaker. Our child is 2 years old. She has been in daycare since she was 6 months old. We use OPOL with no English spoken to our child. But we do usually converse in English between us in front of the child. Our daycare teacher strongly suggested in a recent conversation that we should teach her the English words as well. Otherwise our child would have a high probability of acting out because of a building frustration due to a lack of communication/language ability. This does not seem to fit with OPOL or MLAH. It certainly would also not feel natural to me. Also, if our little one says an English word my reaction is to acknowledge that it is a proper word in English and that ''in German it's ...''. So far I have not given the learning English part much thought. After all it is the community language and she has 40 hours per week of scheduled exposure to it. It should come just naturally. If we get 40 hours per week of German and Chinese, I think we are lucky. What are your thoughts?
Reply: Your child is already acquiring English from the interactions in daycare and from the speech between you and your wife. What is this imagined source of frustration? Of course you're right. And what does the teacher mean by 'teaching the English words as well'? You don't TEACH 2 year olds to talk, you interact with them and they acquire it. I gather that your daughter is using all 3 languages, so what's the problem? Are there any alternative daycare centres that might be more knowledgable about child language acquisition? As for 'acting out' -- isn't that inevitable in 2 year olds? Anthea
Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
Date: 14-Jan-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Trilingual child, day care suggests teaching English at home    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (08-Jan-2013)
  2. Re: Trilingual child, day care suggests teaching English at home    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (08-Jan-2013)

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