Bringing up a child bilingually with minor languages

Raising children bilingually is a wonderful thing. It's like you endow your children with a lifelong advantage for some areas. In Korea, English is regarded as some kind of privileged language, and a lot of parents find the bilingualism (Korean/English) as the perfect gift for their children.

As far as English is concerned... that's relatively easier, because there are everywhere found abundant English materials.

However, if the concerned language is some minor (or regarded as minor) language, the problem becomes quite serious. As for my case, I'm bringing up my 4-year-old son as a Korean/Esperanto bilingual. Most of neighbouring people show some kind of uneasy worry about the language of the child. Wouldn't it be better to give him English?

사용자 삽입 이미지

Jinho, 4 years old, Korean/Esperanto bilingual


In my opinion, English is a language of school... So my son will learn English anyway, throughout the course of education. Even the kindergardens provide English program in Korea. So I think that English for my son is all up to himself. He'll get English without any help from me.

I have a plan of Chinese for my son. When my son will start to learn Chinese letters (roughly at the age of 13) I will help him only in Chinese(Mandarin) pronunciation for each letter. If he gets certain level of Mandarin pronunciation, he'll learn the Mandarin a lot easier than me. That's my plan, and eventually I expect my son will learn at least 4 languages. (Korean/Esperanto natively, English himself, Chinese with the help from me) Perhaps he'll choose at least one of other major languages - Russian/German/French/Italian/Japanese, totally up to his own interest. Just like I learned myself German/Japanese/Chinese of my own interest.

One principle of multi(bi)lingualism for parenting is ...

"You care for the minor languages only. Major languages will be learned by child itself anyway."


--Nomota, 2008-01-02.


Posted by nomota multilingual

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