As several experiences and investigations show, bringing up a child in 2 (or several) languages even both father and mother are in/from the same national/linguistic community – so called “artificial bilingualism”, is not a big deal if it is done following some procedures.
– “one-parent-one-language” rule
You keep speaking to your child in 1 language. Don’t mix up several languages.
My case: both my wife and I are Japanese (living in Japan). My wife speaks Japanese and I, Spanish.
Some says it is also effective to limit language depending on the place, for example: Spanish at home and Japanese outside home. I personally have not tried yet (as of 2015) but I may have to consider it when my sons start going to school.
…and As of today
Now my son Hibiki is 3 years old, and I conclude that passive bilingualism is completed. I mean; he understands and speaks perfect Japanese (for 3-yr-old child) and also understands everything I speak in Spanish, but he speaks very few Spanish words. I keep speaking Spanish to my son (and will try to urge him to speak it, too)
Artificial Bilingualism >>> Artificial Trilingualism
Following is next experiment with my 2nd son (who is coming soon)
a. How can my 2nd son’s English skill be developed with my English?
My English is not as good as Spanish (I have never lived in “English-native” country nor practiced it in daily life. My “living” experience as English speaker is 3-year-working in a Japanese company in Frankfurt, Germany. But even so, my English level should be standard level in Japan.
b. Does this multilingual-method work for both?
My plan is to speak in Spanish with Hibiki, and in English with my 2nd son. I hope they do not mix up languages…
c. Is it possible to bring them up as “artificial trilingual” with this method?
From my experience, Hibiki already understands there is another unknown language for him, English, and he sometimes tries to speak in English (just for fun), which means he pays attention to 3rd language. It may be possible that both sons pay attention to their conversation each other. Well, who knows…
This post is also available in: Japanese