'We pass on our own mother tongues to our children'

Be consistent in the use of language. My husband only speaks Italian with the kids, in all situations no matter who we are with.

How old is your child/are your children?

Fede is 10 and Nadia is 4 years old

What languages do you speak at home?

Italian, English, Dutch and Indonesian

Who speaks which language and what is your background?

My husband is from northern Italy (Piedmont) and speaks Italian and English. I myself am from Indonesia, I speak English, Italian, Dutch and Indonesian.

What is the reason you are raising your child(ren) multilingually?

We think it is important to pass on our own mother tongue to our kids. But because they were born and raised here, we chose a Dutch school.

Do you have a funny anecdote you want to share?

During corona, we got a kitten. Fede was allowed to come up with the name. He could choose any name except 'cat'. After a few days of hard thinking, he cheerfully came to tell us that he had found a nice name, it became 'gato' (cat in Italian) ?

Would you advise other parents to teach their child(ren) multiple languages? If yes, why?

Yes absolutely. Because they learn another language without much effort. Even if they wouldn't use that language later, the basics remain. So we only see advantages.

What tip would you give to parents who are also considering teaching their child multiple languages at an early age?

Being consistent in language use. My husband only speaks Italian with the kids, in all situations no matter who we are with. If the kids want to ask or say something to their father, they automatically switch to Italian.

Are there any other things you would like to share with us about multilingual parenting?

In the beginning, we received many comments that our children could not be understood. And that they didn't speak Dutch well enough. Hang in there and just continue with all the languages, at some point all the languages will fall into place. We do sometimes wish they would stop talking from time to time ?

About Liana

Hi, I am Liana and have lived in the Netherlands for almost 20 years now. I am married to an Italian man and together we have 2 children, Fede and Nadia.

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With Jungle the Bungle's app, children aged between 2 and 8 can learn a new language in a very fun way. Why so young you might ask? Young children in particular learn a new language very easily.

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