Me and my wife come from Poland, but live in the UK. Our son was born here, and is with British child-minder since around 1. He'll be 3 this December. We speak both Polish and English to him, and Polish between ourselves. I can see that he favours English as a 'default reply' language and struggles with Polish words, but understands most of what is being said to him in that language, and sometimes try to reply in Polish too.

Now, I want to learn another language - French - for myself, and I think it would be good to introduce my little one to it, too.

My question(s) is - is that at all possible, since I don't yet know the language? How would I go about it, if I want for both of us (maybe all three, if my wife decides to join us) to learn French? Should I learn first, and then - if/when I feel proficient enough - introduce my boy to it?

  • Pronunciation will be key. Studies have shown that adults don't have problems with foreign pronunciation when they learned that language initially as a toddler even if they forgot everything else. That being said, I think you should look for a French childminder (or if you have the money) get a French nanny for him. Unless you're always at home, it's going to be difficult for you to fulfill that role since you don't even know French in the first place. Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 9:42

1 Answer 1


If French is important to you, then you could look into getting an Au Pair. It would be great for your child to learn French from a native instead of you.

But honestly, you're mixing 3 languages with 3 different roots, Germanic, Slavic and Romance. I am not a linguist but your child is already having trouble with Polish. I am pretty sure that adding a language that neither of you speak fluently would create problems.

Drawing from personal experience, in a household where 4 languages are spoken from fluent speakers (1 myself, 1 my wife and 2 at school), it requires a lot patience. Patience is the keyword here.

One suggestion would be that once you feel that you have a good grasp of French, to communicate with your child only in French while your wife still speaks to him in Polish. That's what we're doing and it's working great. I speak to my children in a mixture of mine and my wife's language while my wife only speaks to our children in her native language. They both can understand and speak both our native languages and the local languages they learn at school.

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