We are a Chinese mother-to-be, a French father-to-be, and an Australian baby-to-be.
So here we are, a trilingual family in the making!
Nicolas and I met in Grenoble/France. Two years after we met we moved to Shanghai/China, and got married there (we had to have three weddings to cater for the needs of the families oceans apart). Another three years later we decicded to cross another ocean to Sydney/Australia. That was in a beautiful early-spring day in late August 2008 (hey this is down under). Yet again three years later, we’re expecting our first baby, due in January 2012.
I am a native Chinese, speaking Mandarin Chinese, English (fluently), and French (pretty fluently), and 2 Chinese dialects (Ningbo and Shanghai dialects), and I’m learning Spanish (struggling). Nicolas is a native French, speaking French, English (fluently), and Mandarin Chinese (I consider his Mandarin quite ok knowing that he can get by with his mother-in-law in the language :)).
Hopefully the paragraphs above satisfied a few curious souls!
While we (especially I) go through the initial anxiety of becoming the first-time parents, before everything else (that is the first name, first pram, hospital, etc etc), we have quickly agreed on the future language rule in the family. I will be speaking 中文 to her (so yes it’s a girl!), Nicolas francais, and between Nicolas and I we’ll continue with francais. Outside of the family, she will have to get on with English.
We haven’t figured out yet exactly what that means and how that will work. But one thing is quite certain: a trilingual-family-in-the-making is going to be an interesting exprience, probaly even quite fascinating, albeit complicated. I started to read about the subject and am discovering a lot of things about brain development, bilingual/trilingual education, parenting, cultures, early linguistic development, languages in general, and more. I have always been interested in these subjects somehow (admittedlyexcept parenting up to this point) and now I have one concrete reason to find out more. As I like to learn and experience new things, it is helping me immensely to cope with the anxiety. I’m quite content with my new-found coping strategy, so I’m going to continue the thoughts along this line.
And why not keep a record? So voila !