Google+ Raising a Trilingual Child: June 2013


Monday, June 24, 2013

Being proactive in exposing your bilingual child to the new vocabulary

I find it good to be proactive in introducing vocabulary to my already bilingual children.

If you see your child is playing, let's say, with boats, try to provide the needed vocabulary in the language you are exposing your child to. Play, talk, read books about boats, show cartoons and documentaries on the topic. He will absorb the words faster as he uses them in his games over and over again.

It is always better that your child learns new words in the minority language before they will be introduced in the country language. Thus, your child will use them at the back of his mind even when he is immersed in the majority language environment (kindergarten).

You might also like reading:

How to read to a baby?
How much time do we have to influence a child's minority language development?

Monday, June 17, 2013

What language do multilingual siblings speak to each other?

The two questions that I have right now are: what language my children will speak to each other after the younger child goes to a kindergarten? And most importantly: What can I do to support them to speak the minority language, in this case Russian?

I have an almost 2 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. As of today they speak Russian to each other, with some occasional Italian.

Knowing that I have little time to teach my children Russian, I started early to develop their language skill.  My strong influence on them will end, when my daughter goes to a kindergarten. There she will spend time with the Italian speaking teachers and friends joining in it to my son. They will be in different classrooms; however, for one year they will be sharing the kindergarten's play ground. I expect all these factors will push them to speak Italian to each other.

At home I keep control of the situation by my presence. The children speak Russian to each other when I am around. It works beautifully. I periodically check on them asking some questions so that their mind does not wonder in the languages but stays on one,  in my case Russian.

I hope that spending the summer vacation together will create a better bond to Russian as well.

If their are parents out there that know other tricks to stimulate siblings to speak a minority language to each other, please share with us your secrets to success.

You might also like reading:

How much time do we have to influence a child's minority language development?

How to read to a baby? 

7 facts that can determine the language spoken between multilingual siblings.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

How much time do we have to influence a child's minority language development?

Our children grow becoming more independent, detached from us, parents. At about age of 4 children have their new world established with the best friends, teachers they love, whom they try to copy.

This world is growing, flourishing alongside our children. From this point of time, the vocabulary in the country language increases with a greater speed; thus, majority language starts slowly taking over.

This fact needs to be taking into a consideration when we set our language goals and develop an action plan for a child. The understanding that we have limited time, about 4 years after birth, can help us to choose the best possible action plan.

We might need to sacrifice ourselves in some way: no TV, no music in the majority language, if the child is around. It will pay off later.

I had to create dominantly Russian language environment at home, by providing various entertainment to the children: Russian children's songs, beautiful Russian and foreign, doubt in Russian, cartoons and the pillar - Russian books that I read them everyday two times a day, when possible. I speak English to my husband, that also limits the majority language "intake".

My son is 4 and his Russian vocabulary allows him to speak to me without borrowing words from the dominant language - Italian. The reality is that it will change at some point and he will start code-switching. The only thing I am confident in is that the later he starts, the better it is for him.

Update: My son is 5 years old - still no code-switching and can say the same for 3 years old daughter.

You might also like:

Being proactive in exposing your child to the new vocabulary 

How to prepare yourself to be a speaking model for your child.

Teaching the letter sounds before letter names.

How to develop early phonemic awareness and reading readiness by using language play with kids from birth to preschool. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ha ha ha or correcting your child's pronunciation problem.

Baby mouth
Oh, No! My child pronounces some letters wrong. Should I bring him to a speech therapist? He is just 4 years old.

Don't run to a therapist yet! Many of the pronunciation problems could be corrected  by parents themselves, as I learnt by trying to do so.

My son did not pronounced the Russian letter "X" at all. It was produced closer to the Russian "C" at the front of the mouth instead of throat. I tried to find a combination of the consonant (Russian"X" sounds like "H" in "Harley") and vowel that makes the use of the same place in the mouth for sound production and I came out with Russian "XA" (means laughter "Ha ha ha" in English). We were practicing this Russian laughter sound "XA xa xa xa". It was so much fun for him, so after a week he told me:  Mama, listen " XA", "Xarek" (means "weasel" in English)! His pronunciation was perfect! I had to remind him for a month or so about the correct pronunciation, as he could not control it in the speech all the time. The fact is that the problem is gone.

I am sure in your language you can do the same, as I also was able to find a letter combination in words, to practice the correct pronunciation for Italian sounds for my American friend.

Do not push it too much, try once if the child does not want to repeat after you, take a week break, and in the mid time just find something to read that has some of those problematic letters in it.