Jump to content
Linguaholic

A household of various languages


Recommended Posts

This has always puzzled me in the most awkward of ways. I have a few friends who come from households where they speak different languages and yet still seem to live well together and understand each other perfectly!

When I say various/ different languages I mean a situation where the man speaks say for example Spanish, the woman Portuguese and the children end up speaking Italian. They converse pretty well with each other but in their different languages. This has been said to be a helpful or strategic way of learning multiple languages at the same time without the strain of having to actually go to school.

Do you know people like this and have you even thought this possible?

Link to post
Share on other sites

My family is actually pretty multi lingual. My parents both know Russian, English and of course our native tongue Vietnamese. My sister and I both know some French, but no Russian. We get by using Vietnamese :grin:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think my household will be very multi linugal in the future, hopefully my children will end up speaking at least 3 different languages:  english and both of our mother tongues.  I really want to give main priority to english tho, because it's a very important and international language. I'll also give priority to Spanish because it's also widely spoken in Latin America.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a friend who is a son of an immigrant so he and his mother speak the native language while the father spoke the language of his original country. I don't think they spoke that much to be honest and whenever I came by I had a hard time knowing how to speak to both my friend and his dad whenever we were in the same room.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my twenties I lived in multiethnic suburbs of Washington where the norm was for twenty-somethings to rent the bedrooms and share the kitchen in a house/flat, and yes, these houses were typically multilingual. An official house language might be set by the oldest occupant and used when that person was at home, but housemates might use whatever other languages they had in common.

My husband and I had learned English first but sometimes, either after speaking or reading other languages, we spoke Spanish or French at home. (I'm very wary of saying I speak French, but I do read it and will speak it with people who are either kind and sympathetic, or desperate.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is becoming more common place as more and more people marry beyond their borders. I see it in Botswana, and especially in my home town. For instance, I know this family where the mum is a Zimbabwean/Motswana, married to a Dane. The mum speaks some Danish, Shona, Ndebele, Setswana and of course English. The children are also fluent in all these languages. The father obviously speaks Danish, English and some Setswana. It's just fantastic.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A family friend married a Taiwanese. She speaks Filipino and I'm not sure if the man speaks Mandarin or Cantonese. All I know is they both barely speak English. When she brought her husband here, it was funny as heck. They were both struggling to understand each other. They used a lot of body language. They now live in Taiwan and they have one baby. I'm not sure if language is still a problem with them but that baby will certainly pick up both languages with the way I know the girl.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When people live together they start to learn about each other in ways that nobody else understands, especially if all people are related. Sometimes it is easier to understand someone just based off their mannerisms and behaviors, and just knowing how the person expresses themselves. I imagine that you pick up on words to even if you are not fluent in the language the other person speaks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know people who are like that that speaks 3 or more languages, but over here in my country, it is quite common to see bilingual families, because here in the Philippines, English is widely used and is even regarded as a 2nd language.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do agree that a household with multiple languages is a strategic way to learn these languages for free and also to learn them more quickly. I don't think they fully understand each other all the time though. The fact of the matter is that they learn as they go along and what they don't understand they just use common sense or gestures to figure it out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know people who are like that that speaks 3 or more languages, but over here in my country, it is quite common to see bilingual families, because here in the Philippines, English is widely used and is even regarded as a 2nd language.

Yes, I guess it's quite like that in my country; most households are bilingual. English is also the official language, so the bilingual family setup is quite the norm.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...