Officially Trilingual!


November 12, 2012 by empraise

After over a year of speaking Spanish and German to our son, M, he is “officially trilingual”!  According to Josefina Villamil Tinajero, from the University of El Paso, his brain has been working hard for these past 12 months, making an “auditory map” for him to recognize these languages.  She is quoted in this article, which outlines strategies for raising bilingual children.

So although M can’t actually speak any of these languages yet, we did a little experiment with him and were very surprised at the results!  On three different nights, we told him it was bath time.  One night my husband said it in German.  The next night, I said it to him in Spanish, and on the last night, I said it to him in English.

Each time, he immediately dropped what he was doing, and took off for the bathroom, shrieking with delight.  Amazing.  How is this even possible?  In moments like this I think, “Wow, could this actually work?  Could our son, flesh of our flesh, actually take the imperfect languages we offer him and become a complete, trilingual person?”  That is our hope.  That he will eventually surpass us.  The human brain is so fascinating.  I have been reading parts of a blog by François Grosjean, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of psycholinguistics at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.  This letter to his grandchild made me think of M, and the fascinating journey on which he is embarking.



Anyway you slice it–Badewanne, baño, or bathtub–M loves this time!


One thought on “Officially Trilingual!

  1. Bonne Maman says:

    Exciting times!!! I remember that speaking my non-native language to my first born became so much easier once she could show that she understood what i was saying and respond accordingly…it’s the validation you need to show that what you are doing isn’t just a folly…it actually does work…and, on the days it feels harder than others, it’s something great to back to to keep you feeling positive.

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