Lisa è mamma di tre bambini trilingui (sembra uno scioglilingua, tipo 33 trentini andavano a Trento). La sua ricetta è semplice: ogni genitore parla la sua lingua, la terza si impara a scuola. Il suo ingrediente segreto: non sgarrare mai dalla regola, per nessuno motivo. Non è facile avere tanta disciplina, ma si direbbe che funzioni.
I am an American mother of three children, whose father is Italian, and we are living in French-speaking Switzerland.
I am raising my 3 kids in 3 languages and it works fine. My oldest (12) recently did a CILS test in Italian and received a 37/40! We are very proud! He goes to school in French and gets English from me and the TV!
None of the languages are as fluent as a monolingual child. You do notice a lack of vocabulary and a slight accent but they are fluent in all 3 languages.
We are proud of our children and happy with the choice that we made. We stay consistent with our children (I speak English, my husband speaks Italian, and they are schooled in French). We NEVER speak to them in another language. When other children are about we translate everything even though our children understand. We were told by our pediatrician to be ULTRA consistant. There have been times when my husband gets frustrated with them as their vocabulary is small in Italian but he trudges on and it has paid off!
I do admit that it is hard at the beginning but you must stop yourself from switching languages.
Also, if my kids asked me something in another language, I would just say…in English please, and they would repeat it in English. If they had trouble finding the right words then I would help them.
At one point my 2 oldest started speaking together in French (as they go to school in French) and I told them that when we were just us or between themselves, they must speak English together. I felt bad insisting on it but they didn’t bat an eyelash and have never looked back! They are thanking me now as they see other kids where the language is slipping
Geneva is an exceptional place. Everyone seems to have more than one language at home anyway! Switzerland has 3 main languages anyway (4 if you count Romansch) and on top of that Geneva is an international city. I only know a handful of couples where both parents are the same nationality!
I can thoroughly recommend Tracey’s book: Raising multi-lingual children.