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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:||To add to what Madalena has said.... Singapore is full of very successful people who have been bilingual (and trilingual) from birth, pretty well none of them from families who obeyed (or even cared about) the OneParentOneLanguage commandment. Instead of thinking about OPOL, think about how YOU became bilingual and how your neighbours and friends and their children do it. They just do it by being natural and immersed in a place where there are pretty well no monolinguals. They don't have formulae -- they just get on with life. As long as you stay in Singapore, you can be pretty sure that English and Mandarin will be important to your daughter. As long as you and your husband speak to each other in French, so will French be. Just relax. Sing songs. Read books. Play with other children. Visit relatives. Go swimming..... Anthea|
|Reply From:||Anthea Fraser Gupta click here to access email|