Info : Each month, we share multilingual family interview from a family around the world. The interview shares their story as well as their challenges, successes, tips and advice in language learning. If you would like your family to participate in an interview, please contact us here.
Introduce yourself and your family
I am Aisha from Turkey and my husband is İndonesian. We have two little sons. Yusha is 4 and Shamil is 1 year old. We moved from Istanbul to İndonesia 2 years ago.
What languages do you speak ?
I speak Turkish, Indonesian, English and a little bit Arabic.
How many and which ones do you speak on a daily basis ?
Turkish with my children, English with my husband and Indonesian in daily life.
Are you teaching your children these languages ?
I always talk Turkish with my children, but with Yusha we sometimes talk indonesian for him to improve his bahasa. My husband feels more natural talking Turkish with the children, so he mixes Turkish and English while talking with them. After learning Quran recitation, Yusha interested in Arabic and I teach him whenever he ask for it. (recently we added to our homeschool plan). Actually I learnt German and Romanian too during University. Even though I lost almost all what I learnt, I still like to express myself in those languages from time to time. Both my husband and Yusha enjoying to use some words from those languages.
Do you homeschool, if so, how do you incoporate the languages into learning ?
Homeschooling was always my choice and I just recently started with a proper planning. So, we spare one day in a week for Arabic language and another day to learn reading and writing in İndonesian.
If not, do your children attend a bilingual or multi-language school ?
Yusha soon will be joining a course to learn reading and writing in İndonesian. In fact he needs that course to improve his speaking too and he loves learning new languages – and of course İndonesian – more than i expect.
What have been challenges so far ?
Yusha started to talk around 2.5 years old and everyone was very worried about him. At that time I knew and understood that he was exposed to 3 languages on a daily basis, so I was relax and enjoying his Journey. Around that time we were staying with my in-laws and to express himself Yusha was using Indonesian, English and Turkish in one sentence. I also didn’t know when things would be set in his mind but I believed that, the natural development of a child would solve it in a way. And, when we moved to our own house he mastered Turkish language in a very short time and now he is fully motivated to make his İndonesian better.
Tell us about one of your successes.
I think I was able to make my son interested in languages by exposing him to all the languages that I know even its very little. And I never pushed him to learn any language or subject, instead I have tried to motivate him and make the topics interesting. He told me that he decided to put the languages that he wants to learn in an order and occasionally is able to write in german by himself (making up his own words).
What are some other ways besides just speaking lthe language that have exposed your children to your’s or your spouse’s languages ? (ex. cultural events, food, travel)
We don’t spend so much time outside but my children are exposed to those languages on a daily basis. Arabic, while reading quran, hadith or dua, Turkish is an everyday language, Indonesian whenever we step outside (also at home time to time), and English is another everyday language. Reading books and using language posters has helped us a lot.
What is some advice you would like to offer to other multilingual families?
I think, we should relax and trust our children abilities. I believe hurrying them when they are not ready or interested enough can backlash.
Name up to 3 ressources you find useful for your family.
- Posters on the wall (several times in a day he just stops and reads-or asks me to read- what is written on them (such as Multilingual animal or vegetables postcards)
- Any kind of language book
Which langauge would you recommend someone to learn and why ?
I guess I can recommend a language which I have knowledge about. So I would recommend someone to learn Arabic, because it is such a rich language having a unique grammer and great amount of vocabulary that provides deep content. And Indonesian, it is such an easy language with almost no grammer (at least while speaking) and easy to pronounciate.
Aisha was born in 1990 in Turkey, studied medicine in Romania for 2.5 years and studied İslamic studies in İstanbul and Arabic language for 2 years. She was married at the age of 23. Aisha loves reading about education and developmental psychology from time to time. She defines myself as a muslimah, a nature lover, a busy mom of two sweet boys and who dreams of a large happy family, wannabe gardener and blogger.