So me and my husband are both Brazilians and we live in the US, where our son was born. He just turned 2. We only speak to him in Portuguese at home. (And so does the nanny, who is also Brazilian. We both have full-time jobs.) He goes to English-speaking activities everyday (like school 2 mornings a week, music fun class, nature day, things like that...). But I've been reading about actually introducing a third language before the age of 3 and was wondering if you have any experience with that, or any recommendations.
There is a Spanish immersion class near our house, which offers 3 mornings a week of classes (just like a normal half-day 2-year-old class, but all in Spanish). I'm thinking if this is OK, if it's enough, if putting him in English-speaking classes the other 2 mornings would be too much for him...
Please let me know if you have any ideas and advice.
Hi Lidia, I was really worried about this with my daughter, who is now 2 1/2. However, we had no choice (or didn't feel we had a choice) because I am a native English speaker, my husband a native French speaker, and we have lived in a Spanish-speaking country for the last 2 years where there is no English or French full-time daycare available.
We do OPOL at home and my daughter attends part-time creche in Spanish - the rest of the day she is with a French babysitter,
What I can say is that after two years, I now believe that the experience has been very enriching for her. She now speaks EXCELLENT Spanish, I would say at the level of a ''normal' Spanish speaker her age, and she understands (almost) everything in English and French. She doesn't talk much in either of these languages, but she certainly understands and I can see it improving day by day. I'm confident that in an English or French environment, she will quickly start speaking.
Funnily enough, we are now preparing to move back to France and my main concern has shifted to...how to maintain her Spanish! So from being worried after 3 languages being too much, I am now a convert.
The fact that Spanish and Portuguese are so similar does of course mean that your son may mix up languages (my daughter mixes up French and Spanish), but that will be temporary no doubt!
Lidia, as Nellie suggests, I don't think adding the third language would be "too much," particularly for the circumstances you describe. If you feel your efforts to nurture his Portuguese and English are going reasonably well, then the chance to begin providing exposure to Spanish, too, sounds like a very positive opportunity. Of course, your son is only two, so his acquisition of the three languages will take another few years and might seem "messy" (early on, he may mix the languages to some degree). But with time and patience, I expect he will gain good ability in all three and learn to distinguish their use by domain (Portuguese at home, English at one school and in society, Spanish at the other school).
Best of luck and I look forward to hearing happy trilingual news as time goes by!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the book "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability", praised worldwide by parents and experts in the field. Available at Amazon amzn.to/22XKuCt, the global Amazon sites, and other booksellers.
Just to let you know of another happy trilingual experience. I brought up my daughters as trilingual from birth out of choice (unlike Nellie) and now that my eldest (4) speaks all 3 languages and my youngest (1) starts to babble in those same 3 languages, I'm happy to have done so (in spite of my many moments of doubts throughout the process). I confirm the language mixing but that would also happen with only just 2 languages. It will disappear over time.
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
Thank you all so much for your replies. It is definitely a relief to find people who are on the same journey and have been having success. Here in the US being bilingual is already rare, imagine trilingual. Everyone thinks I'm crazy, of course.
I know it's gonna be messy in the beginning, but worth it at the end.
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Mayken: Holidays! Just the 3 of us, in ML country this year, but I'm planning for a lot of ml time, without any family to visit and friends to meet (our program when we're in ml country).
Jul 29, 2017 5:02:56 GMT 9
Amy: Caught my eldest bragging to her cousin she could speak ml2 and asked him in ml2 if they could continue playing in this language....could it be my daughter is slowly accepting the fact she's bilingual and happy to be so...??
Jul 31, 2017 5:07:41 GMT 9
Mayken: Not all fun after all - we were at a castle today with an amazing 3h treasure hunt, but it was all in ML. My daughter did lots of ML reading (clues), but no chance of slipping ml in.
Aug 1, 2017 4:13:44 GMT 9
Mayken: Welcome back, Adam! We kept the zoo running while you were away and even swept up the monkey droppings!
Aug 2, 2017 18:26:12 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Well done, Mayken! Many thanks! (I was afraid I would be overwhelmed by the monkey droppings.)
Aug 3, 2017 6:18:08 GMT 9
Amy: My turn to disappear for a few weeks! Off to ml1 country with very high expectations as to the benefits of ml1 family bonding and ml1 exposure for my 2 girls! Have a lovely month of August everybody ! xxx
Aug 6, 2017 4:58:35 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Amy, have a really fun and fruitful time!
Aug 6, 2017 6:30:06 GMT 9
Nellie: Welcome back Adam and have a great time Amy!
Aug 9, 2017 5:37:45 GMT 9
Ahmet: Hey Adam! Thank you very much for writing such a nice book. I've read it , took lots and lots of notes. It's full of precious information about raising a bilingual kid. It helped me a lot and still keeps me on my way. goo.gl/photos/oPyfKffApeWPB9eU
Aug 11, 2017 7:34:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Ahmet, I loved seeing this photo of my book! Thanks so much! Would you mind if I shared it? And I'd be really grateful if you would leave a review at Amazon or elsewhere online.
Aug 11, 2017 8:54:39 GMT 9
Ahmet: Hi Adam, of course you may share the photo. By the way I already left a review at Goodreads and Amazon and I will continue to share info about your book.
Aug 13, 2017 17:34:53 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Ahmet, thanks a lot for your support!
Aug 13, 2017 18:14:01 GMT 9