it really works: my proud mum moment

27 Aug 2013

I am really sorry if this post sounds too much like I am patting myself in the back but most parents of multilingual children will understand where I am coming from.

Let's talk English and parental language. P and I speak English together as I explained here. I never speak directly to LJ in English. P sometimes does but it is usually followed by the same thing in French or Portuguese. LJ is certainly never expected to reply to us in English and has never done so. Apart from hearing her parents chat away in English, she has spent the first year of her life in the UK. Since then, she hears English on TV and at a story time (every two weeks) we started attending in January. Can we say her exposure to English was limited? I think so, it is certainly her third language in terms of exposure time (behind French and German).

She has never really uttered a word in English apart from the odd phrase like 'it's nice' to make us laugh. But this has just changed drastically. We have no more secret language!

Last weekend, we had some friends round for a couple of days. They are from the UK and we had not seen them since we had left. It was a wonderful weekend. We had explained to LJ that they spoke (only) English well in advance.
To our amazement, she spent the whole weekend playing with their children (4 and 8) in English! We overheard a little bit of switching and few German words here and there. But she was able to give clear orders directions to her friends about going to play upstairs and making this and that, commenting on the weather, asking for ice-cream, etc.

- Come and play downstairs. (she actually meant upstairs)
- Do you want an ice-cream?
- I need to make some food.
- It's raining.
- You can play with my baby.

When children start speaking they usually, utter single words then put them together in sentences. But she seems to have skipped some steps and is just gone straight to the full sentences.

We were amazed. P even said: "woah, I knew this would work but not to this extent"! This also reinforces what I wrote last week about people who mix. She knew these people understood nothing but English and had no hesitations whatsoever in approaching them from the start!

Proud parents all round. 
I will stop bragging now. 


  1. Well done LJ! I don't blame you for being proud.

  2. It has to be so nice to see all your hard work paying off - well done!

  3. Jumping up and down with excitement for you! No need to apologize for bragging... that's your reward for all the commitment and hard work. So brag away, my friend, brag away! I would too! ;)

  4. thank you everyone. I am quite proud and astonished this quadrilingual thing is working so well.

  5. That is really wonderful! Raising multilingual kids often feels like a big experiment, with a lot of self-doubt along the way, so it's wonderful when the results are so great!

  6. Congrats and no need to apologize, it's great that all your efforts and patience pay off! And congrats to your daughter as well!

  7. That's definitely something to brag about! I see it all the time with some of my little students -- they pick up EVERYTHING and even if you're not trying to get them to actively produce it, they likely will.


  8. That is SO wonderful. We need those moments of joy and seeing the rewards, to keep going when it seems like nobody makes any progress! Love that she is becoming quadrilingual! (The start of a polyglot?) Yay!

  9. How exciting. You should be very proud!


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