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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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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: It sounds to me an awful lot to put on a little child. It isn't an issue I have ever faced, my wife and I were both English-speakers; but my instinct, I'm sure, would have been to stick to whatever one language it was most natural to speak around the home, and avoid weighing down a tiny tot who has such huge amounts to learn anyway with unnecessary extra burdens.

Geoffrey Sampson

Reply From: Geoffrey Richard Sampson      click here to access email
 
Date: 17-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)    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (16-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)    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (16-Nov-2012)

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