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Tri-lingual children

  1. Princessa profile image84
    Princessaposted 9 years ago

    Did you grow up learning three languages at the same time?  My children 6 and 3 are learning English-Spanish and French at the same time.  They seem to be coping very well but I would like to hear about people who has done the same.

    1. dinamars profile image60
      dinamarsposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Wow, how can they manage to speak three of them without any problem, Princessa? how do you teach it to them?

      dina

      1. Princessa profile image84
        Princessaposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        It just happened naturally.  I speak to them most of the time in Spanish (my mother tongue).  We play in Spanish, I read stories to them and encourage them to read in Spanish.  They see Spanish cartoons and talk to my side of the family only in Spanish. 

        As we live in France, their schooling is exclusively French.  They speak French all the time with their friends. And when they play just the two of them, they do it in French.

        As for English... my husband is Scottish, so he makes a point of speaking mostly English to them (although he has been slipping the odd Scottish words now and then!).  To his side of the family, the children only speak English and they have plenty of books and videos in English.

        Until recently, they did not realize that they could speak several languages.  Only now that the girl has learnt to read and write (in French, Spanish and English!) she realizes that she can speak three languages and she loves it !

        1. dinamars profile image60
          dinamarsposted 9 years ago in reply to this

          wow..woww... (amazed and speechless yikes)

          totally a multicultural family!!

          I think that's what is called learning by nature.

          dina

    2. JYOTI KOTHARI profile image73
      JYOTI KOTHARIposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I, myself learn 4 languages at a time. My mother tongue is Hindi,whereas I was residing in West Bengal & studied in a Bengali medium school where I have been taught English as a second language. My grand mother used to read Gujrati texts, thus I learnt Gujrati language simaltaneously just reciting with her. In this way I could learn 2 regional, a National and an international languages by the age 11.
      Jyoti Kothari

  2. seamus profile image61
    seamusposted 9 years ago

    That sounds very cool, and you are doing it the way linguists say is best. OPOL (one parent one language) That's probably why they are able to do well with it.

  3. profile image0
    simcoposted 9 years ago

    My wife when she was growing up went to Russia with her father for about 2-3yrs and learnt to speak russian as the first language then german and finally english.

    Pity she didn't keep it up could have been one hell of an interpreter.

  4. crazycat profile image59
    crazycatposted 9 years ago

    That's very good. smile

  5. helenathegreat profile image85
    helenathegreatposted 9 years ago

    That's excellent, Princessa!  You have no idea (or maybe you do) how great that is for their cognitive skills and the entire development of their brains.  Plus it's cool!

    My best friend met a seven-year-old at the airport once who was trilingual.  She said the way she distinguished between the languages was: "One is mommy's words, one is daddy's words, and one is school's words."  Sounds like it's the same situation with you.

    Try to keep it up; your children will be hugely better off for it!

    1. Princessa profile image84
      Princessaposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      That is exactly how they used to diferentiate between languages: mommy's language, daddy's language and French.  Now that they are growing they are understanding better the differences.  I think French is going to end up being their 'first' language as it seems to be the one they prefer (maybe because they play in French smile )

      Funily enough, last year we had a long stay in Italy and the girl (5 at the time) seemed to pick up a lot of Italian, at least enough to play with other children.  She has already told us that she wants to learn Italian properly for the next time we go back!

  6. Lissie profile image86
    Lissieposted 9 years ago

    As an adult I am trying to learn Portugese having learnt Spanish - a bit not bilingual - a few years ago. It does my head in because its similar but different! As an adult I keep on thinking oh thats the same - thats different! As kids they don't do the thinking so are learning much better than i ever will - try to keep it up so they keep the 3 until adulthood!

  7. profile image0
    Abhinayaposted 9 years ago

    Children below age of 7 can learn upto 4 to 5 languages with ease.I learnt 4.My kids are coping with English,their mother tongue and the national language(Hindi) very well.

    1. Princessa profile image84
      Princessaposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Anhinaya: Can you still speak fluently the 4 languages you learnt? and Do you have a prefered language?

  8. profile image0
    Ronald Daniarposted 9 years ago

    It is not really advisable to learn three languages altogether without having one language settled first, i.e. the mother tongue. However, it also depends on the child's lingustic competency. Spoken language may be learned quickly but not writing and reading.

    The exposure of the languages also influence their linguistic skill. I have a Korean student who speak Korean at home, learn English, Indonesian, and Chinese at school. He can speak fluently in all 4 languages but not reading and writing.

    His brother who also learned 4 languages seem to have better linguistic skill so that he can cope with all 4 languages well. So, it depends on the child's cognitive skill too.

    1. Princessa profile image84
      Princessaposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      That was always a big issue in our family.  Thankfully it looks like the children are coping ok so far. 

      The girl (6 years old) is learning to read and write in French at school now.  An despite being a "foreign" language for her she is top of her class.  Her writing and reading skills in Spanish are equally good, despite not being thought Spanish formally.  The other day she was even traslating a story to my mother (reading in French and telling the story in Spanish) I was amazed by her translating accuracy. 

      Reading and writing in English is a bit trickier for her but I suppose that you could say that she reads and writes in English as well as many other 6 years old!

  9. WeddingConsultant profile image81
    WeddingConsultantposted 9 years ago

    Princessa- great thread!

    At one point my mother could speak English, Dutch, German and French fluently (she worked at the Dutch embassy!).  She could also speak some Japanese and Indonesian...

    Boy I wish ANY of that rubbed off on us, but it didn't.

    Teaching multiple languages is something that I think American schools are bad at.  I have family living in Europe and they all speak at least two more languages than me, and I think it's a little sad.  It's sad on my part that I don't know how to speak any other languages and it's sad that schools here in America don't do a better job of teaching languages.  It's typically 2-3 years of Spanish and you've passed your language requirements for your life!  I wish we'd do a better job of that here...

    On a lighter note, I've studied lots of ancient Greek and ancient Hebrew!  Too bad neither of those languages are still spoken today!

    1. Princessa profile image84
      Princessaposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      I am curious why did you studied ancient Greek and Hebrew?

    2. Princessa profile image84
      Princessaposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      I think it is easier to learn a second language in Europe because the countries are so small and in some places like Switzerland and Belgium, the population is so diverse that you end up learning the "other's" language.

      1. WeddingConsultant profile image81
        WeddingConsultantposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        Yes, that surely does help.

        I think another part of the problem is that children brought up in America know English is the "most widely spoken" language in the world.  And as much as I understand where people are coming from with that statement, over 1 billion people speak Mandarin!  So although English is spoken in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, and other countries and it's the standard language in aviation, etc. Mandarin is really the "more widely spoken" language!

        1. Princessa profile image84
          Princessaposted 9 years ago in reply to this

          Yeah... that might explain why it is becoming more and more fashionable to learn Chinese around here!

          It is annoying when English speakers expect everybody doesn't matter where, to speak English.  I have met English people living in Spain for more than 10 years and not being able to speak more than a handful of words in Spanish!   

          I have notice that they try to do the same in France with less success because although they might speak English the French will refuse to speak to you in English if they don't see that you make at least an effort to speak French.

      2. CotterHUE profile image81
        CotterHUEposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        I agree that Europeans have a much easier time learning more than one language because the practicality is so obvious.  Despite the well-meant efforts of schools and education experts, kids who see less of a need for or have less of an interest in a foreign language won't make the effort beyond the basic stages.  The early stages are fun and exciting, after all.  It takes a lot more work to progress beyond the vocabulary and grammar of a three year old.

      3. profile image61
        elodie28posted 8 years ago in reply to this

        That's interesting...  I'm having so much trouble to find material about trilingual children on the net.  A lot is being said about bilingual kids but not much about kids learning more than 2 languages from an early age. 

        I have a daughter who is almost 3 years and 1/2 and a 17 months old boy.  We live in Spain, my husband is Irish and I'm French...  Almost like you but in a different order smile

        We decided to send our little girl to a French school (where kids learn to be bilingual in Spanish and French) where she started kindergarten in September.  She adapted very well but her teacher already emitted some concerns regarding her language "style".  She speaks a lot but doesn't make much sense.  She speaks her own "charabia" as they say in French.  The danger is that she might fall behind in her class from not having the same communication skills as her classmates. 

        We're not really worried because since September she's actually made a lot of progress.  She's very good at repeating new vocabulary and sentences and applying them to the right context.  But there is still a lot of work to be done for her to be in par with the other kids in her class, who are mostly either monolingual French or Spanish or bilingual French/Spanish.

        It's funny cos I always let English have the upper hand at home thinking that the French school would deal with the French part (with my help of course..  I only speak to her in French).  I was afraid that her English learning needed to be pushed most but I realize now that I may have been wrong, and I'm afraid that she might distance herself from the other kids (which has not yet been the case)...

        Anyway, I was wondering if anybody had similar difficulties with their multilingual little ones smile  Someone said earlier that they should have a dominating language.  I think that might be the issue here because my daughter understands and learns all 3 languages in more or less equal parts (English is everywhere at home, we have Irish family living nearby and visiting, I bring her to work where we speak Spanish, she has Spanish friends outside of school, etc, etc...).  She speaks less French or Spanish than her classmates, but of course she also has English at home, which they don't.

        If you've had or have heard about similar experiences, please share it with me.  I just hope she will be okay.

        1. Princessa profile image84
          Princessaposted 8 years ago in reply to this

          Hi, sorry I missed the thread here...

          You shouldn't worry about your daugther she is still very young and she will sort her self out on her own.  We had similar issues with our children, but the are managing very well at school.  In fact, both of them are top of their classes. 

          It looks now, that my children have chosen French as their dominant language -although we never speak French at home! But whenever they need to, they can speak and read very good English and Spanish.  With time they seem to mix languages less and less and now they can make clear differences between languages.  Don't worry, your daughter will do it too.   

          Good luck!

  10. WeddingConsultant profile image81
    WeddingConsultantposted 9 years ago

    I took three semesters of Greek in college for my major (which was sort of a religious studies major and a minor in Bible)...

    And I'm finishing up my first semester of Biblical languages for my Master's degree (Master of Arts in Theology).  That class has included both Greek and Hebrew.  Again it's all ancient Greek and Hebrew, so it's of little communicative value to me!

    1. Carolina Crete profile image82
      Carolina Creteposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Much of Modern Greek is based on Ancient Greek and you'd be surprised at how much of today's Greek written word you'd be able to understand! Speaking (pronunciation) is rather different though, so harder.

      My children are bi-lingual, Greek and English. Brought up in Greece. When they were small I stayed home with them so they were mostly hearing English all day, from me, and Greek from their father, other Greek relatives and friends etc. 

      Once they started Greek school I went back to work and the Greek really took over. One year after they started school, when they had mastered Greek and the alphabet, they also started  English classes to learn reading & writing in English (they were speaking both languages fluently).  With two different alphabets to learn the general opinion is that they should master one before starting to learn a second.

      1. WeddingConsultant profile image81
        WeddingConsultantposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        Thank you, I always wondered how similar they were!

        1. vietnamese profile image79
          vietnameseposted 8 years ago in reply to this

          Any idea about German and Dutch?

  11. CotterHUE profile image81
    CotterHUEposted 9 years ago

    That's really interesting.  My daughter, who is about 18 months, is learning English and Japanese without a problem.  She'll be bilingual, but one language will eventually become the dominant language because of school, her peers, etc.  Assuming my wife and I continue to live in Japan, it will be Japanese.  As an English educator, it's interesting to watch language acquisition.

    I'll take a guess and say that eventually, your daughters will be most fluent in French, then Spanish, and lastly English.  They are using and interacting in French most of the time, next Spanish.  From your initial post, it sounds like English gets the least practice.

    1. Princessa profile image84
      Princessaposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Yes it is very interesting to see how children acquire language.  It seems to be so natural for them.

      You are right, the dominant language is French as we need to explain the meaning of the words in French to her if she encounters a new word! 

      Spanish is the second fluent language. But I think it is only because Spanish is a phonetic language which makes it easier to read and write.

  12. WeddingConsultant profile image81
    WeddingConsultantposted 9 years ago

    haha I wonder what Mark Knowles thinks of that comment.

    From what my dad tells me, that's true that the French will refuse to speak to you in English for the reasons you mentioned.  When he's flown over there he's ran into the same problem.

    I must say, though, that there are South and Central Americans who come into this country and refuse to learn English as well!  So I know what you mean- it's important to at least attempt to learn the language of the country you're in, especially if you've been there 10+ years!

  13. WeddingConsultant profile image81
    WeddingConsultantposted 9 years ago

    A new member actually wrote a hub on raising bi-lingual children.  I thought I'd post it as some of you might find it interesting:
    http://hubpages.com/hub/Raising-Bilingual-Children

    1. Princessa profile image84
      Princessaposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks, I'll have a look.

  14. DominiqueGoh profile image34
    DominiqueGohposted 8 years ago

    Trilingual. multilingual.. I'm too am schooling my boys in more then 2 languages. My elder boy ( 4 yr old) is able to understand 3 main languages- English, Chinese and Cantonese.. and now we are starting him on Japanese.

    the younger boy ( 16mth) understands and reponses to 3 languages too .
    Am presenting doing an in depth study on how to make sure that they do not mix up the grammar and sentance structure when they writing.


    I intend to teach them French & German also once they can master these 4 languages.

    1. BeatsMe profile image81
      BeatsMeposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Learning three languages is enough. If you teach them many languages they may never use in their daily lives is just a waste of a lot of effort and a lot of time. If English, Mandarin, and Cantonese are the only languages that you usually use, then just teach them that. Learning multi languages won't make your boy more productive in the future. Try teaching him something that he can actually use in the long run.

  15. DominiqueGoh profile image34
    DominiqueGohposted 8 years ago

    Trilingual. multilingual.. I'm too am schooling my boys in more then 2 languages. My elder boy ( 4 yr old) is able to understand 3 main languages- English, Chinese and Cantonese.. and now we are starting him on Japanese.

    the younger boy ( 16mth) understands and reponses to 3 languages too .
    Am presenting doing an in depth study on how to make sure that they do not mix up the grammar and sentance structure when they writing.


    I intend to teach them French & German also once they can master these 4 languages.

    1. Princessa profile image84
      Princessaposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Amazing! 
      Do not worry too much, children sort themselves out without even knowing how.  The most important thing is to create the need for the language that you want them to use.  If they feel a need to use that language, they will master it no problem. 

      Good luck!

  16. AdsenseStrategies profile image73
    AdsenseStrategiesposted 8 years ago

    This post interested me, as I live in Quebec, where many people speak several languages almost by default: French (dominant language in Quebec), English (dominant language in Canada), and often the mother tongue of the immigrant culture they come from (Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Arabic being the largest contenders; Greek too I believe is up there also...)

  17. magga profile image59
    maggaposted 8 years ago

    I know 4 languages.

    I started learning English in school around 10 years old. Then you learn Danish around 12 years old. Then when you turn 16 you have to choose another language, either German, Spanish or French. Even though I have only studied in school for a little time I already know Spanish very well because I was in Central-America for almost a year.

    I know Icelandic (my language), English, Spanish and Danish.

    1. Princessa profile image84
      Princessaposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      That sounds great.  I believe that being able to speak several languages opens up your perspectives.  It makes you more aware of other cultures and it keeps your brain working!

      1. dinamars profile image60
        dinamarsposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        I believe in that too, Princessa. I miss to get back to that situation as I'm back to my dull, crowded and stressing city of Jakarta. Wow, this discussion is getting merrier smile

        dina

  18. angelamp profile image60
    angelampposted 8 years ago

    If the local dialect in the region where I am from, my country's national language and English count as three languages, then I must be trilingual!  Learning three different languages at the same time can be quite confusing and I must say it had been quite confusing growing up being exposed to different tongues.  However, I must say one of the advantages of learning different languages while still young is that you will be able to do "code switching" faster whenever you are exposed to the languages that you know and can speak.  I have noticed that those who grow up being exposed to different languages become more interested in more languages and some succeed in learning them! 

    Young children are naturally curious and inquisitive; they are like sponges that just absorb almost anything you teach or expose to them and they tend to keep whatever they learn as they grow older.  I think it is better that they should be exposed to as many languages as possible and better help and guide them while they learn.


    Check this article out!
    http://daycare.suite101.com/article.cfm … _preschool

  19. Princessa profile image84
    Princessaposted 8 years ago

    Interesting article Angelamp.
    I do believe that as long as it exists a need for a speaking a language, children -or indeed ayone- will learn it fast and relatively easy.  The problem in learning a new language comes when it becomes artificial, I mean when you are forced to learn a language that you do not need to speak .

  20. JYOTI KOTHARI profile image73
    JYOTI KOTHARIposted 8 years ago

    Princessa,
    I do agree.But even a child does not require he or she can learn several languages. it is easy in the childhood. besides all the advantages refered child knowing more languages have more chance to be a brainy as per researchers.It is advisable to be tri lingual or more.
    Jyoti kothari

    1. Princessa profile image84
      Princessaposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      In our case it is a necessity for our children to speak 3 languages if they want to communicate with their friends and relatives.   I think that is why they are so good at it.

  21. JYOTI KOTHARI profile image73
    JYOTI KOTHARIposted 8 years ago

    Yes. In many cases in India too.
    here is a regional language in almost every state.
    National language is Hindi.
    Most of the people now wish to learn English.
    Thus tri-lingual.

  22. Aeman A profile image60
    Aeman Aposted 8 years ago

    My daughter is only 2 but she is a tri-lingual talking her mother language(Urdu) English, and spanish. I can't say that my daughter got the smarts from me because I hardly know any language but yeah,  I'm a proud mother.

  23. lliekamia profile image61
    lliekamiaposted 8 years ago

    hello everyone,
    will for me, i do believe that Tri-lingua is in the blood, base on the environment and
    it is also based on how active a young mind response to a new knowledge being impart to them.
    like for example,,,,it is hard for Spaniards to learn or study English because in Spain the language they're using is Spanish. So, as the English man to the Spanish language.

  24. hibiscus_mel profile image77
    hibiscus_melposted 8 years ago

    That's so nice for your kids to learn a lot of languages.
    Yes, I grew up learning 3 languages English, Tagalog ( a filipino language) and Cebuano (another filipino  my primary dialect. ;-) I am laso teaching my kids these languages.

  25. JYOTI KOTHARI profile image73
    JYOTI KOTHARIposted 8 years ago

    It is an advantage. why do you think it a problem?
    Jyoti Kothari

  26. JYOTI KOTHARI profile image73
    JYOTI KOTHARIposted 8 years ago

    I have posted a hub about this topic. This thread has encouraged me to do so as it is speaking of no useful material in this topic in the web.
    thanks for encouraging me.

       Jyoti Kothari

  27. Nickny79 profile image87
    Nickny79posted 8 years ago

    I think multiligualism has social utility; HOWEVER, there should be a strong policy in the United States of encouraging people to assimilate and learn ENGLISH--especially if they want the rights of citizenship.  It is in the best interest of all concerned.  The US needs to re-adopt a firm policy of assimilation.

  28. JYOTI KOTHARI profile image73
    JYOTI KOTHARIposted 8 years ago

    US is the pioneer of free society. Do you want to revert it to conservative policy?

      Jyoti Kothari

    1. Nickny79 profile image87
      Nickny79posted 8 years ago in reply to this

      As if conservative is something bad.  What do you think conservative is?

  29. Nickny79 profile image87
    Nickny79posted 8 years ago

    "Free" needs to be defined.  Freedom ends were duty begins.  There is too much talk of freedom and nout enough talk about doing what best for society.  People must assimilate and get along in the United States.  One way to accomplish that is a common language.  Frankly, people who refuse to lean English in the US are putting themselves at a disadvantage--especially Mexicans.  If these people want so desperately to live here and reap the benefits of our freedoms they should learn something about the society they are joining and learn the language LIKE EVER OTHER IMMIGRANT GROUP HAS.   And yes, I want a conservative society.  I see a lot of ugliness in the direction our nation is heading.  "Progressive" is not necessarily "good."  It all depends on where you want things to progress...

  30. JYOTI KOTHARI profile image73
    JYOTI KOTHARIposted 8 years ago

    Of course. Nothing is bad or good in absolute terms. It depends upon the perception. As much as I know, US and citizens are the greatest admirer of free society. They do not tolerate, in general, any conservative activities.
    Therefore, the comment was.
    Free society has its benefits and the conservative too. It is the matter of choice.
    India goes on a middle path.
    Jyoti Kothari

    1. Nickny79 profile image87
      Nickny79posted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I think we have very different conceptions of "conservative."  I am not referring to kings and queens, brahmins and sudras.  I am referring to the original intent of the Founding Fathers of our democracy who wrote our constitution and turned the ideals of liberty into reality.  I'm refering to a minimalist federal gov't with very limited enumrated powers.  I'm referring to a gov't that protect Life, Liberty and Property.  I am referring to free markets (with minimal gov't interference and only to the extent to correct market failure).  I am refering to a respect of old American values and rule of law--a society that doesn't punish success with arbitrary redistributions of wealth even to non-citizens!

      Unfortunately, there is an increasing trend among "progressives" in our country, especially in the judiciary, to read into our Constitution their own pet socio-economic perspectives--i.e. socialism.  The constitutional point of reference should always be drafters' intent as applied to the issues of the day.  People talk of "change" but change should be for the better, and in any event consistent with the original vision that formed this nation.  "Conservative" means conserving those values that have made America the most free, prosperous, productive and generous nation the world has seen thus far.

  31. Nickny79 profile image87
    Nickny79posted 8 years ago

    And incidentally, your comment that there are no absolutes is meaningful only in the abstract; in the world of action, there are dualities-- there better and worse ways of doing things.  There is justice and injustice.

  32. ocbill profile image73
    ocbillposted 8 years ago

    Are you in Europe? I loved Spain and went to France and it was every foreign to me. Luckily my daughter is bilingual in Portuguese (Brazilian) and English.  Guess, what she does like French . I put on Rosetta Stone and she loves it.

 
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