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Bilingual children.

I had a little girl eight months ago, one of my main worries is what language to talk to her in. I am Moroccan, which means my mother tongue is Arabic, my husband is French and we live in London. My daughter is going to grow up hearing three different languages and I would like her to be able to speak and understand them all. Is this possible and will it cause any problems? I really don't know what to do. Please help me before it is too late! Leila.

What does your husband think? Di'scuss it with him and make sure you both want the same thing for your baby. What language do you use to speak to each other in? It is easy for babies to absorb two or more languages as long as the parents don't mix them up to much, so avoid using more than one language in each sentence until she is a little older and understands the differences between both languages. The earlier she is exposed to different languages, the easier it will be for her to pick up new ones, so don't worry, it is hard to make mistakes when your baby is learning to speak.
Your child's first language will be the language which you use at home, which you use to speak to your husband (is this French, English or Arabic?). You should both also speak to your child in your own mother tongues if that is not the one you use at home, especially in relaxed situations, like when reading stories or singing lullabys before bed, or cuddles. This way, she will understand strong emotions and feelings better and associate different languages with different things. Your daughter will learn English from other children once she gets to school anyway, but it would be as well to familiarise her with the language before she gets there to help her fit in, if you do not speak English at home. She will also find it easier to pick up other languages at secondary school, bilingualism is a very useful attribute, she is very lucky!



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