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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Teaching Multilingual Children|
|Question:||Hello, I was wondering is there a limit to how many children a toddler can acquire. Currently we have 12 foreign nannies that speak to our children in their language for a certain period of the time. My wife and I were wondering if this could be achieved or would it just confuse our twins?|
|Reply:||Twelve nannies? For two children? I have never known a family with more than one nanny, so I think you must live in a very different social milieu to me. My advice (based on the experience of more average lifestyles) may not be appropriate. And are all the nannies of different language backgrounds? Why? Was this your choice or an accident? How does everyone agree on childrearing philosophy? How do they do handovers? What are their shifts? I find it hard to imagine how the situation works. Many children grow up happily surrounded by a lot of adults, sometimes with a mix of languages, but most people think children need to know that a small group of adults are special to them. The special people should include the parents and may also include other relatives and/or a nanny, who should ideally be in the family for the whole of their childhood. Lots of children grow up with 3 or 4 languages, and there is no theoretical limit to the number of languages that an adult can be speak, but I can't imagine a social setting that would support 12 native languages (+ the parents' languages, I suppose?). Anthea|
|Reply From:||Anthea Fraser Gupta click here to access email|