I speak English and Korean and my partner speaks English only. I am currently speaking to my 2-month-old daughter predominantly in Korean to promote her to be bilingual. However, I also want her to speak French, because I am French as well but never learned to speak it. The only French speaker in the family is my father but he doesn’t live close enough to be an exposure. I hope to enroll her in Alliance Française around 4 but a lot of research depicts the importance of phonetic exposure before 3.

I am hoping to play some audiobooks or read to her in basic French (although my pronunciation isn’t perfect). Would that help at all? Does anyone know how to successfully teach a baby a third language without speaking it themselves fluently?

  • 3
    Three languages is more than two, don't overstrain the child. And please don't try to teach something you don't know yourself. Learning to do something the wrong way doesn't help.
    – puck
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 5:30

2 Answers 2


There have been many posts on multilingualism and the most common approach, namely one-person-one-language, as well as mixing languages.

It sounds like you'd be offering your child input 3 languages (I mean "you" personally), which seems like too many to be sufficient in itself, in particular since you are not a native speaker of French and therefore would not be able to interact naturally in this language.

What would help most is to have a French-speaking nanny, even for a couple of hours a week (in addition to audiobooks, children's songs, etc.). If you FaceTime with your father, agree with him to use French and be consistent with it. Maximize exposure to it, but do not give up on the other minority language, Korean (I assume you live in an English-speaking country).


YOU cannot.

If you are already raising your child in a bi-lingual environment...that should be enough.

Find a good bi-lingual pre-kinder school when she is old enough, and let the teachers do the job; unless she is being considered for one of those hyper-advanced Asian pre-schools, the requirement for facility by age 3 is nonsense.

The more languages, the better she will be, just be prepared for "code-switching".

In other words...most children learn languages by acquisition, not teaching.

If she is attempting to use new language and you do not realize it, you may end up causing a "conflict" which could provoke serious problems later on .

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    BTW...Congratulations on the birth of your little one! Welcome to a magical journey through the eyes of your wonderful child. One thing I learned...is always put yourself on the actual level of your child to have the best communication later on. I mean get on the floor and play with her! Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 0:16

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