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Poll: How many languages does/do your child/children speak?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:19
SITE STAFF
Mar 7, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many languages does/do your child/children speak?".

This poll was originally submitted by Crystal Samples. View the poll results »



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Adnan Özdemir  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 17:19
Member (2007)
German to Turkish
+ ...
I don't have children Mar 7, 2011

I don't have children




Anadolu'dan selamlar
Saludos desde Anatolia


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:19
Member
German to English
+ ...
1 Mar 7, 2011

My children are monolingual at 6 and 4. Although they can order a chocolate ice-cream in German!

Although both my husband and myself speak languages, we are both English. Hothousing them in languages at this young an age would have felt contrived. Hopefully languages are something we will be able to help them with later in life, though.


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Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:19
Member (2009)
German to Greek
+ ...
2 Mar 7, 2011

She (1.5 y.o) speaks her own versions of Greek and German

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:19
Member (2006)
German to English
3 Mar 7, 2011

Our 4 year old daughter is fluent in German, Hungarian and English.
We are bringing up our second child inthe same way.
I only speak English with them, my wife Huingarian and the German comes from their environment (kindergarten, etc.) Works brilliantly and we do not regret taking this step
Our youngest even translates from Hungarian to the other languages for those who cannot speak Hungarian, it is amazing how they can sort out the languages and actively use them


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Susanna Martoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:19
Member (2009)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
One Mar 7, 2011

My 5-years-old daughter speaks Italian, her mothertongue.

And when I try to speak English or Spanish with her, she laughs!

Well, maybe in the future she will be fascinated by languages (I really hope so).


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Sonia Hill
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:19
Italian to English
One Mar 7, 2011

My 3-year-old and 1-year-old both speak English as my husband and I are both English speakers. I would like to encourage them to learn foreign languages as they grow older, but at this age I would prefer them to develop a really good command of English.

My husband is Welsh and speaks the language quite fluently, but not to mother tongue standard. We are planning to move back to Wales in the near future, so the boys will study Welsh at school. I would also like to teach them Italian when they're older as we're bound to holiday there and I would like them to be able to communicate with my Italian friends and their children.


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Magdalena Altieri
Argentina
Member (2010)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
A little interpreter!! Mar 7, 2011

My three-year-old boy speaks Italian and Spanish fluently. And that's not because he's a genius, but because I think it's a completely natural consequence of having both parents who speak Spanish as mother tongue at home, but Italian outside home... living in Italy, all the other activities (friends, school, sports, TV) are in Italian!!!
He loves translating and interpreting "to others" (you can imagine my pride!) and he always asks "and this how do you say it in Spanish?". But the best thing, above all, is when I speak to him in Italian and he gets angry and very serious tells me: "Mom, you DO NOT speak Italian!".
Have a nice week everybody!

[Edited at 2011-03-07 09:10 GMT]


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Eser Perkins  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 17:19
Member (2010)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Two, but... Mar 7, 2011

My older son was born in the US and came to Turkey at the age of 3,5 with impeccable English. After two months in Turkey, He was nearly fluent in Turkish. He was extremely enthusiastic to speak Turkish so he gradually lost his willingness and ability to speak his native English in the process. Now he is 7 and speaking Turkish extremely well with usage of idioms. His English? Well.. he is down to vocabulary with nearly no sense of grammar. He cannot comprehend the necessity of speaking a language different than all the other people around him and he reproaches me when I try to speak English with him. He still understands when he hears someone speak English and I believe that he can speak if he really wanted and tried to. Maybe in time, once he realizes the value of being bilingual, he may make some effort to bring his English back to the surface of his consciousness.

I also have a 3-year-old who was born in Turkey. I used to speak English to him during his babyhood. He started talking very late, around the time he was 2. One day, out of the blue, he came to me and said "I love you". After that, I taught him basic things like good morning, good night, etc. he is more receptive, thanks to his young age. Now he is 3 and mostly speaking Turkish and uttering English phrases once in a while. The last time I heard him saying something English was last week. He was playing with his toy car and he said "Here I go!" That was cute.


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:19
French to English
+ ...
One speaks three, the other only English Mar 7, 2011

My eldest is not a linguist at all - as far as he was concerned, his mother could do all the interpreting when we were abroad! My youngest however, speaks three - English, French and Spanish and is studying French and Spanish at university, so the genes seem to have been passed on in his case. Whilst I did occasionally speak the odd word of my languages at home, it would have been very forced to constrain them to speak other languages in an all-English environment when they were little. My ex-husband is English too and it just wouldn't have come naturally. In saying that, I've always worked at home and we've holidayed abroad regularly so there has always been exposure to languages other than English and that can only help. My youngest also had a best friend at primary school in Scotland whose mother was French and they only spoke French when he was there, so maybe that rubbed off too? I still think genetics has a lot to do with it though as my eldest also had a friend with a French mother, although only until he was 5, and that didn't seem to transfer across at all. Then again, that mother didn't insist that they all spoke French in her house and kindly switched to English when English friends were there, whereas my other friend was adamant that her children would only speak French under her roof. All credit to her, she even made them do French by distance-learning so that their written French was up to the standard it would be if they were in France.

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:19
Member (2008)
English to Italian
other Mar 7, 2011

the first refuses English, he understands something, but no chance to hear a word in English, only Italian-
the second doesn't speak yet (the lazy little cheeky monkey!) but understands perfectly Italian and English


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Trinh Do  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2007)
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Happy to teach Michael Harris' children Vietnamese Mar 7, 2011

Michael Harris wrote:

Our 4 year old daughter is fluent in German, Hungarian and English.
We are bringing up our second child inthe same way.
I only speak English with them, my wife Huingarian and the German comes from their environment (kindergarten, etc.) Works brilliantly and we do not regret taking this step
Our youngest even translates from Hungarian to the other languages for those who cannot speak Hungarian, it is amazing how they can sort out the languages and actively use them


I look forward to teaching (free of charge) your youngest and 4-year-old daughters Vietnamese so they can translate German, English, Hungarian into Vietnamese.

I bet they'll be the only linguists to translate Hungarian into Vietnamese.


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dasein_wm  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:19
Member (2009)
Italian to English
+ ...
Two sort of.. Mar 7, 2011

My daughter is 2 and a half years and my son is 10 months old. The boy isn't speaking anything at the moment but she speaks Italian quite fluently and English sporadically. I am her only English constant and I only speak English to her while her mom, in-laws, day care and everyone else speaks Italian.
She understands everything I say and she has good vocabulary in English but she doesn't come out with it voluntarily at this point and I have to coax her. I only let her watch cartoons in English but I don't want to get her addicted to the TV so I am curious if anyone has any comments on how they instruct their own children in their mother language when living in an environment where no one else is also speaking the language.
I would be grateful for any input on the subject because it is extremely important to me that my children speak English as well as Italian. (I'll let them decide if they wish to study German on their own

[Edited at 2011-03-07 11:08 GMT]


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Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:19
Italian to English
+ ...
Two plus Mar 7, 2011

My children are both grown up now, but had no problem keeping up both English and Italian at spoken and written level.
My son now works as a translator too and considers English his first language, even though he did all his schooling in Italy.
He studied German at school, I absolutely didn't want any Italian teachers messing up his English ....
Now he has added Romanian, thanks to his wife and fellow-translator.
MY daughter is currently in Germany on an Erasmus exchange, so I look forward to having a fluent German speaker on hand when she gets back.

To those who are worried about getting the kids to speak English despite the presence of non English-speaking parents, grans, aunties, etc .... keep on speaking English and especially READING English aloud with them, not just sticking them in front of the TV. Reading that involves question and answer is good for stimulating a response/reaction. Singing too ....
(This of course applies to all languages, not just English).

When family reunions occur, as sooner or later they will, you don't want to have to act as interpreter with the grandparents .... !


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Jana Novomeska  Identity Verified
Malta
Local time: 16:19
Member
English to Slovak
+ ...
Trilingual boy Mar 7, 2011

My son is 4.5 and speaks 3 languages - English, Slovak, Maltese.

We live in Malta so English and Maltese come naturally from his father and extended family plus his pre-prep school and friends. Slovak he speaks with me and his grandparents on Skype or when we visit Slovakia couple of times a year, however he also has a passive Slovak "intake" from many Slovak books and DVDs.

In all 3 languages he is pretty fluent - sort of - according to his age) He has absolutely no problem to switch between them from one moment to another and I have a feeling that so far, he does not have any preference.

We've had no problems in raising him this way, it is possible if you rigidly stick by the rules

[Edited at 2011-03-07 13:35 GMT]


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