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Growing up with Three Languages: Birth to eleven (Parents' and Teachers' Guides) [Kindle Edition]

Xiao-lei Wang
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book is based on an eleven-year observation of two children who were simultaneously exposed to three languages from birth. It tells the story of two parents from different cultural, linguistic, and ethnic-racial backgrounds who joined to raise their two children with their heritage languages outside their native countries. It also tells the children’s story and the way they negotiated three cultures and languages and developed a trilingual identity. It sheds light on how parental support contributed to the children’s simultaneous acquisition of three languages in an environment where the main input of the two heritage languages came respectively from the father and from the mother. It addresses the challenges and the unique language developmental characteristics of the two children during their trilingual acquisition process.

Product Description


This book is hugely enjoyable! It is written in a highly accessible style, and yet it is academically rigorous. The author has a profound understanding of the linguistic, social, cultural and psychological aspects of trilingualism and uses her large corpus covering more than 10 years of trilingual interactions in a family setting as an illustration of successful trilingual development. The book reads like a novel: the characters are two determined parents, one Chinese and one Swiss, and two biracial and trilingual boys growing up in New York, proud of their unique identity. The author presents different perspectives: the parents view, the children s opinions about their multilingualism, and the researcher s perspective. She draws excellent conclusions for prospective parents of multilingual children and has a clear message to those who doubt that multilingualism can work: it is possible, her children developed superior cognitive and communicative skills, but it involves a constant, unrelenting effort from the parents part. --Dr. Jean-Marc Dewaele, Department of Applied Linguistics, Birkbeck, University of London

Packed with research, advice and personal accounts of trilingualism, this book will quickly become every multilingual family's treasure trove. Written specifically with the multilingual parent in mind, it is easy to read, full of real-world experiences, and replete with researched facts and wisdom: an essential read for any family raising children in more than two languages. --Corey Heller, Editor-in-Chief, Multilingual Living Magazine

Wang has written a highly readable and entertaining real family story but it is much more than that. It is an encouraging and supportive book for parents not only through the real family story but also through its description of how to plan, steps to take, developmental information, description of successes and difficulties, related to language, culture and development. It is worthwhile for educators as well; a scholarly well referenced work in the genre of Gnyx T Wrk. --Carol Keyes, Ph. D. Professor, Parent, Early Childhood Educator/Consultant, New York

About the Author

Dr. Xiao-lei Wang is currently a tenured, full professor at Pace University, New York. She was born and grew up in the People s Republic of China and came to the United States on a graduate scholarship awarded by the United Nations. She received her Master s degree from the Erikson Institute in Chicago and her Doctoral degree from the University of Chicago. Dr. Wang has conducted research in different cultural communities and worked with children and parents of immigrant and multilingual families. Dr. Wang has traveled in many parts of the world and studied languages such as English, French, Russian, and Japanese. She also speaks several Chinese dialects in addition to Putonghua ( standard Chinese).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4315 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005MRI7MO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #185,075 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting family experience 5 Feb. 2010
This is book resembles very much a PhD dissertation. The details of the evidence and data is typical of a researcher. The language, however, is simple and easy to follow also for a English non-native speaker as myself. It provides many personal example and highlights also critical moments in the language development of the two boys in Wang family. This is not a How to Guide, which would be anyway difficult to write on children language development. It is more a reflection on the experience of a family. It therefore possible to compare one own experience with the one described in ths interesting book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars giving lots of ideas 3 Feb. 2011
By aplus
This book gives you ideas of how to bring up your child with three languages. Although it is rather specific which Chinese, French and English, it still gives examples you can use for your own language. Really helped us with our "adventure".
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is a well referenced, well written testimonial of a 11 year long study that an academic linguist mom did on her two kids. The text is indeed written as a scientific study, and often quotes the most authoritative sources in the field. In this sense, it is also informative of the most important bibliography on bilinguism.

The book provides little field guidance (it's not a step-by-step guide) but it does explain very clearly on what pillars linguistic proficiency is based and how to develop this proficiency as a child grows. The experience that the author lived with her kids is used as a base to deliver insights which may be valid for other families. There are many context and time specific advices and strategies which are strenghtened with plenty of sound scientific grounding that could be very useful to parents and that I will surely apply in the future with my sons.

This said, the book requires some thinking on the parents side to put the theory and examples in practice. The author does a good job in providing more than enough material to take it a step further and adopting the techniques and practices they might like the most in their personal family communication pattern, so the text can still be very useful.

If you're looking for a guide with very clear advice on what to do and when, something "ready-to-use", this isn't the book for you.
If you would like to understand more about bilinguism and trilinguism, rather than just refer to a set of instructions, this could be one of the reads to add to your list.
In any case, I suggest to read other texts along this one as some more practical advice might really come in handy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book 15 Jan. 2014
By Sarah
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yes as previous reviewers have said it is written in an academic style as a research project but it is very easy to read and is a good guide if you are trying to raise children with three languages. There are very little materials on the subject (and many people forget or don't know but raising trilingual children is very different from raising bilingual children). The author described her own family and the progress of her own children. Not all her methods are practical depending on your circusmtances and her children look quite gifted (mine were nowhere close to hers in terms of progress at the same age!) so don't give up because of that! She says herself that this book is intended as a guide, an example of certain methods that were successfull in a particular set of circumstances and it is not a "what you must do to succeed book". I am raising children with English, French and Hebrew and this book has been extremely useful. It gives ideas, helps you set realistic targets and explains the challenges at each stage. I highly recommend to any parent who are told that "anyway kids always chose one language", "they will maybe understand but they always reach an age where they refuse to speak one particular language" etc. It requires efforts and commitment from the parents and it is not an easy journey but it is possible and this book will help you. Don't listen to the ones who failed and tell you it will never work. Good luck!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but was looking more for practical tips 2 Mar. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Being in a similar situation as the author (german speaking mother, spanish speaking father and living in an english speaking country) I was hoping to get some advise of this book. But I didn't got really practical tips how to help my girl learning all these languages. It explains more how language development worked with her children
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4.0 out of 5 stars could have been better 5 Jan. 2014
By olivier
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There is not much choice in books about kids in a tree languages environment.
It has a lot of good advices and a very academic approach to it. This academic style was a bit boring for me to read with a lot of repetitions, but my wife like that kind of approach, so i suppose it depend on you.

I liked the real life examples and explanations of the exchanges.
She give different options other that what she did, which is also good because their situation is a bit too perfect with a parent always home.
If you plan to raise a child in a 3 languages environment, this books gives you definitely a good base on what to do and what to expect.
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