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Not sure if this is the right place, but I would like to talk to other parents trying to teach their kids multiple languages.
I'm Russian and dh is Mexican, but we only have English in common. So dd (3 at the end of October) understands and can speak all three. We have done pretty well speaking our native languages with her and reading books, watching a little tv, etc.

She has been interested in reading for a while. I started doing russian letters with her, and it was going well until she watched a sesame street alphabet video with my sister, and the english letters kind of messed it up. I know she will eventually figure it out (and I'm planning on homeschooling, so we'll have time) but any advice from anyone who's been there, done that? Did you take one at a time? Which one? I would like to start with Russian, but maybe English is easier since we live in a culture surrounded with it?

Another "issue" is that dh teaches a Brazilian martial art, and speaks Portuguese. I am also trying to learn and it is something dd will be around her whole life. Also, I used to speak French and would like to get back to it and teach it to dd. So that's two more languages.

How many languages do you speak in your home? What would be too much for a child under say 10 years old in terms of number of languages?

I just figured we'll start with the three we have now and see, but I'm a bit confused now. Any advice / personal stories would be so much appreciated!!
 

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We are English Spanish at our house.

Don't worry about English. They will pick it up because yes it is readily avaliable in their cultural surrounding of America.

It sounds to me like you are doing a great job w/ Rusian and Spanish being spoken in the home.

Have you tried looking for a Russian only or Spanish only playgroup/activities classs?

I am probably not much help ..

besos
 

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I speak Swahili to my DS, and my DH speaks English to him. DS speaks a wierd mixture of the two!

I don't think there is a limit to how many languages your child can learn, although I've read that it's a good idea to have some system to help your child differentiate when each language is to be used. (So when he learns a new word he knows how to categorize it.) The simplest system is each parent speaks one language, sounds like that's what you've been doing. But for more languages you'd need a more complicated system. Like using a different lang in each room of the house or something. According to one web site I looked at kids can master any system you decide on, no matter how complicated, as long as you are consistent with it.

Good luck! I think it's great that you're teaching your child to be multilingual!
 

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We speak only Spanish in our home. (unless I'm mad at dh, then I revert to "bad" english.
: )

My older children speak both languages, however, they prefer to speak English... and only speak spanish if 'forced' to. (Dh's parents/family ONLY speaks spanish)
My oldest has some friends that speak spanish primarily, and he will occasionally talk to them.

Adriana (the baby) speaks mostly Spanish, and will use sentences from both languages.

We want to start teaching ours to read/write in Spanish now.

I think if you can speak another language, you should teach your child... what a wonderful step up you are giving them.
If anything, it can help them get a job & possibly better pay, when they are older.
 

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/I think thats its wonderful that you all are doing this. We speak english and some spanish. My step father is french canadian and they speak only french, and my mother is fluent in spanish as well. I can only really try to speak it in mexico and in the kitchen at the mexican resturaunt. My mind switches over, no sharing space.
Keep learning!
 

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Privet!

I am American, dh is French. Dh and I share English, French and Italian. He speaks Russian fluently. I am learning. Dd was born in France and lived there for first 2 1/2 years. For nearly two years now we have lived in a Russian-speaking country. Dd speaks French, English and Russian.

At home we speak a mixture of French and English. Depending on mood or topic we choose which language to speak in. When we want to talk in front of dd about something concerning her (like "I had a bad day cause she was such a PITA"
) we do it in Italian. I do not believe in the one-parent-one-language system, nor in the one-environment-one-language system.

Listen, probably 50% or more of this planet's population is at least bilingual. Around here (Central Asia) practically everyone is bilingual and many, many people are multi-lingual. Even the simplest person may end up speaking or understanding (being able to get by) in four or five languages.

The one downfall I have heard is that these people have a difficult time formulating thoughts when writing. Big deal!

So.

If I were you I would concentrate on her Russian. She will get the English. Even I don't worry about dd's English because it is just everywhere.

Do you have simple "skazki" books around? Dd loves poems like "gusi gusi ga ga ga."
Here are three books that we really like:
Ladushki (Omega Publishing -I love their books)
Moi pervie slova (I'm not good at writing this stuff in Latin) is a great one!
Programma razbitiya i obucheniya doshkolnika 4-6 let (Olma Press)

I wish I could translate some of these books because I am in LOVE with Russian children's illustrations.

Or coloring books with words in cyrillic? We have a nice Cd-Rom that has a connect-the-dots using numbers, cyricllic alphabet or latin alphabet. There's even a lady's voice pronouncing the names of the letters. Interesting, cause I had no idea how they were pronounced. Could you get something like this? If not, I can find a way to send it to you.

Don't be afraid to speak all these wonderful languages around your dd. She will mix, probably, but then she'll sort it out. Ever heard of anyone who mixed languages as an adult? Well, I do, but I know I'm doing it! Yes, perhaps she will have trouble finding words, like I do sometimes, but the benefits outweight the negatives by far!
 

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Oh and as far as the fourth language, I am waiting until age 6 to introduce Italian. I do think there is a limit! But then, when she was under 2 we hadn't decided if the third would be Russian or Italian, and we had decided to wait until 6 for one of those...then we moved here. That's life. It has been no problem for her to pick up the Russian.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thank you for your responses...

ParisMaman, we have a LOT of Russian books, but most of them are long stories or books that she is a bit too young for right now. But I think my parents are going to Russia in a few months, i'll start the 'shopping list' for them ;-)

I'm definitely not questioning our committment to speaking at least three languages right now, more like wondering what the best way is to take it to the next level - reading & writing.

I was set on doing Russian letters first, and we started a while back. I didn't want to push it at all, but she was interested. But then she started singing "A,B,Cs" after playing with some american friends (I know, doesn't mean much) but also watched a sesame street alphabet video at my sister's a few times and started to confuse some of the Enligh and Russian letters. That's what got me thinking that maybe we should start with English - it's just everwhere. She would be able to read signs driving down the street, other simple things in everyday life. What do you think?

It just seems 'easier' on her brain maybe to do the language that surrounds her the most first? and maybe do Russian when she is a bit older and understands that there is a difference a bit more? Or just start with Russian anyway?

(another thing that maybe I should mention that I WOH 3 days a week, and she is with dh during those days - and they read a lot of spanish and some english books - but he doens't really care about the teaching part)

So... in light of a few more details.. which one first?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by FridaK
Don't worry about English. They will pick it up because yes it is readily avaliable in their cultural surrounding of America.
Be careful about this assumption. I live in Los Angeles, and there are pockets of the city in which English is NEVER heard nor spoken. The biggest supporters of this is the public schools.

Anyway, good for you exposing your child to as many languages as possible at an early age. I have known many children who grew up this way - it is the parents, not the schools, that facilitate this process. The schools do not know how to do this - you do!

One thing I have noticed is that sometimes when the child is learning to speak in complete sentences, they will put the two/three/four languages together in one sentence. My friend from Argentina's son would say, "I would like a gallete." - gallete being "cookie".
 

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CHi-CHi Mama -

we speak two languages in our home. I speak English and French (sometimes in the same sentence) with the kids and DH only speaks French. THe kids can switch back and forth no problem, although my 3yo tends to mix a lot more than 5yo ds. I'm hoping they learn GErman soon but I haven't figured out how to do it without sending them to school/kindergarten which I don't want to do. I would also like them to learn Spanish some day. I don't know which one they will learn to read and write first. I'm guessing English since that is really their first language

I have friends whose children learned Russian and English in the home and German in Kindergarten. I believe they learned to read and write in GErman first. They can switch from one language to another with no problem.

.

Paris-Maman

How did your dd learn Russian? Does she go to kindergarten? We have been in Germany for two years and my kids have not learned German because they are not in kindergarten, and neither I nor DH speak German. I really feel like I have failed in this area.
 

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Plaid Leopard,

She started to pick up on it straight off. She listened when we talked to people at stores, answered questions, etc. I remember how amazed I was sometime last year - not in preschool yet - when a shopkeeper asked her "Where do you come from" and she answered "Home!"


But, yes, her Russian took off days into this new preschool. Yesterday, some friends said she speaks and understands Russian very well.

Chi Chi Mama,

I just don't think it matters. Leave both for her to learn and see where she goes naturally. My dd knows perfectly well which books (signs, CD covers, etc.) are in cyrillic and which are in Latin, even though she can't read or write.
 

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I am American, dh is Czech, and we live in Czechy now after spending most of dd's (4.5) life in the States. We spoke Czech to her most of the time in the States, but she wouldn't respond in Czech, only English. Now she is speaking Czech every day and learning like wildfire (we've only been back here 3 months). Dh and I each speak a bit of French and Spanish too, but not really actively since we don't need to use them in daily life. Like ParisMaman, I also don't believe theoretically that you have to be "exclusive" with your usage for the child to learn, but it also depends whether you're living in a place such as Switzerland where 4 languages are the norm or the US, where many people don't speak anything but English unless their immediate family is immigrant (and there's definitely no encouragement to learn another language). Even here, where one can assume that most young people are learning English, a surprising preponderance of our English-Czech friends' kids (ranging from ages 6-12) don't actually speak English well because they only hear it from one parent and maybe the parent isn't diligent about using English enough, so I've been conscious about keeping up the English in our house now. So in your situation I might focus on the Russian, especially finding people outside the family who speak Russian, because your daughter will get English and Spanish much more readily through social exposure and of course her dad. Honestly at the age of 3 I wouldn't try to actively "teach" her anything - my daughter also seemed really keen on reading and writing at around 2.5 or so, and she learned to write the whole alphabet and her name quite early, but she seems to conceptualize it as design - she's drawing the letters, not "writing" per se. She often changes their form and style as she would a person or a house or whatever she's drawing. So I didn't want to burst that bubble of her experiencing written words as art just because that's where she's at right now. But that's just me. Anyway there is no doubt that your daughter will certainly pick up all the languages in due time if there's enough consistent exposure.
 

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Hi Chi Chi mama...i meant to answer this thread but had to find time to sit down and write a worthy response.
I am also a fluent Russian speaker and even though i was born in Canada, Russian is my native language. I have 3 children( i have a feeling that they are older than yours) and am trying to give them the the gift of my knowing fluent Russian. I have had some major obstacles but i keep plugging along. Dh is fluent in Ukrainian but does not speaks in English to the kids so i have an uphill battle. I speak to them in Russian and they understand every word i say but they resist speaking it( most of the time). I don't get stressed over it because i don't want this to turn into a whole resentment thing. This knowledge of Russian is supposed to be a gift.
The kids go to Ukrainian school for a few hours on Saturday so they do know how to read and write. I would like to send them to a Russian speaking camp in the summer and i could always send them to the one in Northern Canada where i used to go as a little kid but they are heavy on pushing the Greek Orthodox religion and i am a convinced Quaker and have raised my kids in the Quaker faith and they certainly would stick out like a sore thumb amidst all the Greek Orthodox traditions. I am not really interested in having them learn the Greek Orthodox faith...if they want to explore that in the future , that is up to them when they become adults. I think they are very happy being raised among Friends. So that is my quandry...where can i find a Russian speaking camp that will be supportive of Quaker values and in the very least not be pushy about Greek Orthodox values? It is not easy to fing a Russian Quaker

Well..that is where i am at. I still keep plugging along and speaking in Russian to the kids and i have a strong feeling they will thank me. I just thought you would appreciate what i am going through. Peace
 

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Hey all! I found out this weekend that my kid has been learning Kyrgyz on the sly! Kids amaze me! Thought this would be a good place to share.

Dobry pojalut (argh can't remember how to spell that) dolphinkisser! A Russian Friend is indeed a hard thing to find!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
dolphinkisser, privet!

Dd doesn't resist speaking Russian to me (yet?) - she does say things in English to me more now that she has several little buddies she speaks English with a lot. (what a sentence
) But usually, she's happy to repeat whatever she says in Russian when I ask her to. We'll see how that changes


That's neat that there is a Ukranian school near you.. and Russian camp? (even though it is Greek Orthodox.. but hey, maybe there are other Russian-speakers around that aren't into the religion aspect of the camp? Maybe you could start a playgroup?) There's nothing like that here, although my dd has my family relatively close by, so I"m not the only one speaking Russian with her.

Kids are amazing, aren't they? PM, how cute about Iris!
 

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I really, really, really wish dh would speak Amharic to ds.

I think it is so neat to see all these multilingual families. And I do think that multilingual kids really have an edge, at least in the area of language learning. WHen you've been doing it from infancy, your mind must develop all the right connections for learning later on.


Dh has 5 languages under his belt. When he speaks with his brothers, they combine languages, and use whichever one expresses what they want to say best, often using all five in one short conversation. I'm sure they had trouble as children figuring them all out, and remembering with whom to speak which language, but the result is so cool!

So, carry on, multilingual mammas!
 

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Dobre Ootra!! Fellow Russian speaking Mamas!
Yes..i was thinking of sending of sending dcs to the Greek Orthodox camp where i used to live and also where i had gone as a child. I have no problem with them learning the customs and traditions and have raised them to be respectiful of all religions. My hesitation is i am familiar with the people having grown up with them and the way things are run and also went through religion classes and there is no room for flexibility...according to the way this particalar group sees it ..either you are Greek Orthodox or you are going to hell. A lot of emphasis is placed on this being the only religion. My mother almost had a heart attack when she heard of my conversion but luckily , she had an open enough mind and came around about 8 years later.
I don't want to put my kids in that position where they will feel different and they might get looked down on. Ofcourse i might be totally wrong..after all it is another generation running the camp but that is where my fear lies. I hope i have made my thoughts clear. I have nothing against my kids learning the traditions of another religion. As a matter of fact, i went on a search and that is how i came to finally accept Quakerism...so seeking is very encouraged
.
Mir vsem...moi noviey druzia!!
 

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(oops, my msg to Simone was in the wrong thread)

What I wanted to say here is:

Quote:
I'm sure they had trouble as children figuring them all out, and remembering with whom to speak which language, but the result is so cool!
I don't think kids find it difficult to sort this out. My dd has never shown the slightest hesitation about which language to speak to whom. She also has an interesting situation because her name can be pronounced easily, but slightly differently, in all languages. So when someone asks her what her name is she always immediately answers with the appropriate pronunciation in the language of the asker. It's pretty amazing.

It's funny. The one language she doesn't mix in with the rest is Russian (speaks it only with Russians) - though, she does say "chto "pour" dilet?" (What's it for? - mixing Russian & French).
 

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We speak French and English at home. I also speak a little German to DD, although my German is VERY rusty! Both my parents and DH's mother are French, and we want DD to grow up with both languages. My brother married a woman from Italy, who also speaks Spanish and French fluently. My neice can speak all four languages, and would often combine them in one sentence when learning to talk. It was cute!
 
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