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caywltz

Is it possible to raise a child in 3 languages?

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My friends, who are a russian girl and a spanish guy living in the US, try to raise their daugter in 3 languages: russian, spain and english.

Is it real to succeed in their goals? I'm really intrested to hear different opinions and reasoning

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Absolutely. I've known several kids raised this way, though it's not common in the states. It should be.

"To have another language is to possess a second soul." -Charlemagne

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I know that bilinguals are a common case, but they still one dominant language. However, with 3 languages it's dubious that a child could be well in both non-dominant language

 

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I have several friends who do this. But I have noticed it takes a lot longer for kids to begin forming sentences. (more so than bilinguals) And there seems to be one language that is weaker, usually the one that is quite different. If some have similar grammar structures it is easier. 

But there really is no limit to the languages one can learn. I however, find it very important to give child a "heart" language. A language where deep deep things like love, religion, and so forth can be understood. 

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4 hours ago, caywltz said:

I know that bilinguals are a common case, but they still one dominant language. However, with 3 languages it's dubious that a child could be well in both non-dominant language

Some will have Mom speak one, Dad speak one and society speak a third. So in America you could have mom speak Spanish, Dad speak German and society speak English.

Others will do one language MWF, one TThS, English on Sunday.

In Germany they speak one language in elementary, one in middle and one in high. The entire school is in that language.

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On 3/20/2020 at 4:53 AM, caywltz said:

My friends, who are a russian girl and a spanish guy living in the US, try to raise their daugter in 3 languages: russian, spain and english.

Is it real to succeed in their goals? I'm really intrested to hear different opinions and reasoning

 

Sure, we live near a couple places that are destinations for international workers, and I've taught plenty of trilingual kids, including kids with disabilities.  It works fine, and sharing your language with your kids is a powerful thing.  

My suggestion would be to do just Russian and Spanish for as long as possible, and let English come from school.  If they work, then trying to find Russian or Spanish childcare would be great, but otherwise, just let English come from daycare.  

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On 3/22/2020 at 11:43 AM, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

Sure, we live near a couple places that are destinations for international workers, and I've taught plenty of trilingual kids, including kids with disabilities.  It works fine, and sharing your language with your kids is a powerful thing.  

My suggestion would be to do just Russian and Spanish for as long as possible, and let English come from school.  If they work, then trying to find Russian or Spanish childcare would be great, but otherwise, just let English come from daycare.  

 

See your point, but parents can only communicate with each other in English as they don't know the languages of each other.

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14 hours ago, caywltz said:

 

See your point, but parents can only communicate with each other in English as they don't know the languages of each other.

 

That's a pretty common situation.  Parents can talk to each other in English, and still talk to their kid in their native tongue.  Later, when the kid is older and there are more conversations, then obviously they're going to want to use English when everyone is talking, but when they're little it's possible to have almost all of the speech that's directed to the child in the native language. 

 

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4 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

That's a pretty common situation.  Parents can talk to each other in English, and still talk to their kid in their native tongue.  Later, when the kid is older and there are more conversations, then obviously they're going to want to use English when everyone is talking, but when they're little it's possible to have almost all of the speech that's directed to the child in the native language. 

 

True! But as for reading and writing, is it sensible to learn the kid read and write in all 3 languages?

The thing is it's seen to be too much load on a child. She must be struggling learning so much, or at least often confused

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2 hours ago, caywltz said:

True! But as for reading and writing, is it sensible to learn the kid read and write in all 3 languages?

The thing is it's seen to be too much load on a child. She must be struggling learning so much, or at least often confused

That is normal to confuse in talking and reading between languages. 

I am glad we waited and did learning to read in one language first then moved on to the next. 

The family will figure it out. The brain can do a lot. The child will be fine and work it all out it just may take more time than a monolinguist. 

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31 minutes ago, lulalu said:

That is normal to confuse in talking and reading between languages. 

I am glad we waited and did learning to read in one language first then moved on to the next. 

The family will figure it out. The brain can do a lot. The child will be fine and work it all out it just may take more time than a monolinguist. 

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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13 hours ago, caywltz said:

True! But as for reading and writing, is it sensible to learn the kid read and write in all 3 languages?

The thing is it's seen to be too much load on a child. She must be struggling learning so much, or at least often confused

 

 

I don't have experience in a homeschool setting, but in my experience with school, most families start with reading/writing in one. 

So, for example, some families work with their kids so they're reading in the home language before they come to school.

Other families let their kid learn English (usually the school language) and then start second language literacy when their kid is in first grade and has basic English reading down. 

In my experience, for kids using languages that are written phonetically, the second language goes much faster because they have the idea of sounding out, and their phonemic awareness is strong.  If the parents are still reading aloud in the other languages, the kid might make a jump independently.

In my area, the most common non phonetic language is Chinese.  In my experience many of those kids go to Chinese language school on the weekend.  I don't know the sequence whether they start Chinese reading first or not.  I do know that they also seem to do fine.  

That's all in a school setting. In a homeschool setting, I think it might be fine to teach 2 or 3 simultaneously, but then just expect that it will take an extra year or two to sort out, and then the kid will catch up.  Or maybe do one at a time there too.  

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I have no idea how it all turned out but when my kids were young they spent a great deal of time with a little boy(he was around two) who was being taught, in his case living in, three languages.  He was a sweetie who happily gave me a new word for what he needed if he was using his Portuguese.  He went to school in the US for elementary then moved to Quebec for the rest of his education.  So I know he is fluent in terms of reading and writing in two of his languages.  His mother was a translator and worked using five languages.......

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15 hours ago, mumto2 said:

I have no idea how it all turned out but when my kids were young they spent a great deal of time with a little boy(he was around two) who was being taught, in his case living in, three languages.  He was a sweetie who happily gave me a new word for what he needed if he was using his Portuguese.  He went to school in the US for elementary then moved to Quebec for the rest of his education.  So I know he is fluent in terms of reading and writing in two of his languages.  His mother was a translator and worked using five languages.......

Wow! He inherited her brilliance)

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Yes ! A resounding yes. . Not just a tri lingual child, but a child that will become a person who is proficient in many languages in various capacities. I am proof of that.

I come from an Asian country that has multiple languages.  As a child before I went to school the age of 3, I picked up the language spoken at home aka my mother tongue easily while a conscious effort was made to teach the  English language through reading to me, teaching the alphabet and numbers because the medium of instruction would be English. I was taught the alphabet of my mother tongue at school and to read and write. In addition I was taught the national language as a third language in school that had it's own alphabet. I grew up having various proficiencies in all three languages. I was proficient the most in reading and writing in English as that was the primary language I studied in and less in speaking. I spoke my mother tongue fluently because of immersion at home, read and wrote less proficiently because it was one of the subjects. The third language I could not speak at all due to very less exposure and usage, but I think was good in reading and writing because my marks were better than average and I can still read well though quite slowly. 

From 11th grade and a few years in college, I did 4 years of French and I took additional summer courses to supplement. Again, because of lack of exposure to speaking and usage, I cannot speak well at all. But I can still read and write quite well. When I came to America, I settled in a state where I am surrounded by Spanish speakers and I picked up the language where I can speak to make the other person understand though I do make mistakes. I have not made an effort to read or write. 

When I had my children, my minimum goal for them was to speak my mother tongue especially to communicate with people of the older generation from the home country  I was not going to insist on reading or writing but if they wanted to I would teach them. So from the time of their birth I talked, sang, read to them in my mother tongue in addition to English so they became naturally bilingual. They can seamlessly go back and forth from one language to another in a conversation at home or with those who know both languages while sticking to an entire sentence in English while communicating with others.  They have shown interest in learning to write and I am slowly teaching them the alphabet. They are also learning to speak in Spanish because of our neighbors. 

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