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Not perfect bilingual child but considering 3rd language immersion school?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I'm Korean and My husband is Canadian. My 4yr old daughter speaks mainly English and her Korean is not so good. I speak to her in Korean but she talks to me in English. She is not confident in her Korean and I find that she sometimes mix Korean and English in a sentence - I sometimes do even if I try not do as much as I can. I'm trying my best to expose her to Korean community by sending her to a Korean class on the weekend and trying to find a playmate but it is hard because I don't know many Koreans with kids at her age. I'm also not forcing her to speak in Korean because I don't want any negativity associated with the language.

 

Now she is going to kindergarten. What do you think of sending her to a french immersion school? I read that kids who are bilingual can learn a third language no problem if they start early but what about someone like my kid who is not so good at the 2nd language?

I'm worried that her Korean is not so good now and then she will give up on Korean as she starts to learn French.

 

I initially did not want french immersion because she will not try to learn Korean at all but I don't want to make any assumption and make a wrong choice of not giving the chance to learn the third language for my child. Please let me know if you have similar experience and how it worked out. Thanks!

post #2 of 5

I am looking into either a spanish or a mandarin immersion school in my neighborhood. Whichever he gets into will be great. I think that no matter your child can benefit. My son is so-so in arabic, but I am not worried at all at throwing another in the mix. Kids adapt!

post #3 of 5

DD is basically in the same situation, although with different languages. She is fluent in English, so-so in L2 and recently began an immersion program in L3. She is doing fine and REALLY enjoying learning a new language. And while L3 hasn't at all helped her L2, it also hasn't hurt it at all AND I think it has given greater general awareness of the fact that different people speak different languages, come from different cultures, etc. And I think that is a very good thing for a young child to embrace :) 

post #4 of 5

When I put my children in a bilingual French-German program, I went to the meeting. 

 

They announced that if the child already spoke another language, that this would NOT be a problem. I was happy to hear this because I use English and only English with mine. BUT they added, the child must be "well established" in the second language. They explained that they had many children who had to drop out of the program. They explained that in a child's mind, if they had not clearly separated the first two languages, the third one was difficult to master. 

 

I saw several children leave for this reason. One mother was born here in France and although she grew up speaking Arabic to her family, she found it tough to keep to Arabic with her own son. His dad, directly from an Arabic speaking country, was determined he stay. It was a big stress because the poor little guy just couldn't grasp the German. When they finally did have to take him out, it was even further complicated with the fact he had to change schools entirely and leave his friends (including my son). 

 

Another child, also with an English native speaking parent, it turns out that the family spoke more English at home than French and his French wasn't well established so that caused problems with the German. They were a "home vs. community" language as opposed to our OPOL situation (my kids are stronger in French than English). 

 

If you child is not speaking Korean, she'll never learn to speak it. You do NOT need to "force" her to speak it but if you want her to learn it, you need to really encourage the Korean. I was able to get my son to use English and only English with me simply by being quicker in English, getting him what he wanted in English while in French, I "forgot", was slow or asked him to repeat. 

 

Repeating everything really helped. No, not necessarily in English. I just made him repeat all French requests. He learned quickly that anything in French had to be said twice while if he used English, he got it right away and only had to say it once. 

 

Don't be afraid to have standards and goals for your child. It's just like music, going to church or keeping their rooms clean. Some parents who are really strict with religion or homework get all sticky when it comes to speaking a foreign language. It's the same thing. If having your child speak Korean is important to you, don't be afraid to play your parent role! 

 

It's so lovely to go home to the U.S. and have my kids just jump into my parents' arms as if they never stepped foot outside the States. Once we got the ball rolling, it was much, much easier than I thought. Even though my husband can't speak English and I lived and worked in France (speaking French) long before they were born, once I got used to speaking English to them, it was easy. 

 

What's really satisfying is when I hear them switching between English, French and German with ease. We had a German exchange student as part of his schooling and my son was translating for me... As counter-logical as it sounds, being consistent with English really helped them learn German! 

 

Good luck! 

post #5 of 5

DD is in her 6th year in one-way immersion (in the US).  The target language is L3 for her.  She had no problems with the 3rd language even though we don't speak it at all.  It keeps it rather tidy and segmented, actually.  School is one language, mom is another, dad is another.  I have always thought that the theories of OPOL work for people, so school would just be another "parent".  This next year, dd will begin immersion into L4.  I don't foresee any issues coming up, and most kids don't seem to have problems.  I have no doubt that it's different for every kid, but at young ages, their language skills are almost limitless.  Go for it!

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