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Bilingual/ miltilingual family: Baby's language devleopment

  1. #1
    kplus is offline Registered User
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    Bilingual/ miltilingual family: Baby's language devleopment

    Hi there,

    Would you share your experience with your babies/kids within the bilingual/ multilingual family...

    I am worrying about what's best for my little baby boy in his language development.

    I am a Malaysian married to local HK Chinese husband, and have a 7 plus months boy with an Indonesian helper.
    I am pretty fluent in spoken English, Mandarin, and Cantonese, also speaks Hokkien, Malay and a bit of Teo-chew and elementary Korean.. Impressive at the look of the list, but I am really just the "jack of all trades but master of NOTHING?, and I don?t know what my so called native language is?.which I really don?t want my kids to be like me.
    I can only say that I speak English better at work or at most social context, but Mandarin better with family or closer friends.
    Now, I speak ONLY English with my boy, Cantonese with my husband and Malay with my Indo helper. My husband speaks only Cantonese and my helper speaks only Malay to my boy. I understand the research or expertise suggestion about each person speaking ONLY ONE language to the baby, that?s why we speak only one of our own language to my boy. Hope this can omit or minimize any risks to cause language development problems or raise another me.
    I haven?t started the Mandarin yet, that will be 4 languages if I start it. This is just a matter of now or later, after all Mandarin is an important language and a culture thing to us as Chinese? I am worry if this could be too overwhelmed.

    Hope there are other views on how I can do better to benefit my baby?s language development in the long run?. Any views or experience sharing is much appreciated.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
    MeowMeow is offline Registered User
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    Have a read through this thread :)

    Fluency in English and Chinese

  3. #3
    MaiYe is offline Banned
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    kplus, you were brought up in a multilingual environment. why would you worry your baby?

  4. #4
    kplus is offline Registered User
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    Thanks MeowMeow for letting me know bout the thread.

    Hi Maiye, While I am glad for the multilingual environment, I am also worry my boy will be like me, jack of all trades and master of nothing... :)
    May be I am asking for alot...hahaha
    Hope any bil/multilingual family would share their experience...

  5. #5
    capital is offline Banned
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    Here is my expereince. I speak English only and as such speak only english to my children (2 and 4),my husband speaks Cantonese from birth and is fluent in english started speaking english at school in HK, and he speaks only cantonese to the children. Or at least he thinks he only speaks cantonese to them but I see he does throw some english in there and I don't think he even notices he does it. He and I speak English to each other. We live in Canda so the world outside of our house, has been all English, he has no family here. The choldren speak English fluently and as they should and Cantonese has been a struggle. The older one can speak it but prefers not to. We make him speak cantonese to my husband. The 2 year old speaks even less. It is a source of frustration to my husband that they don't know more. The main problem is exposure, there just isn't enough. I finally found 2 different "preschool programs" in cantonese language but both are terrible. The older child is currently in a weekend cantonese school but it is so old fashioned, he is 4 and is suppose to sit in a desk and write characters and this is the kindergarten class! We won't do it again next year. He is bored out of his mind and is learning nothing with a teacher who is clearly a cantonese speaker yet talks in english to the children except for the "words of the day" they are learning. In my community I can find good preschool programs in german, spanish, ukranian, french, and other languages yet not one good cantonese or mandarin program and there is a very large chinese population here! The chinese child development opportunities are 40 years behind the times!!!

    I thought it would be very simple, I'd speak english, my husband would speak cantonese and the children would be amazingly bilingual, but it just hasn't happened. Good luck with your journey!

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