My wife and I expect our first child and are currently preparing everything for the arrival. We read some books and also were able to observe friends with their children. I speak fluently English (mainly through work) and our native language is German. We decided to raise it with both German and English and already have some strategies.
My problem: My wife's family speaks a special kind of Croatian which has a lot of German words and differs largely from the classic Croatian. In their region the language is also taught in school, so they can learn it professionally. Now they want to 'teach' our the same language they are speaking, but I doubt they are able to do so with basic school knowledge from 40 years ago.
I observed this behavior in her family where the parents started talking mixed German and German-Croatian. They usually build sentences and introduce Croatian keywords. The children were mostly confused since they only here the words from their grandparents and only can associate the unknown word when the grandparents point to it or use the German phrase.
I am unsure that just some vocabulary is helpful for learning our two main languages since nobody can teach it the grammar and real usage. Their main argument is: 'Its better to know more languages', 'children learn so much faster' and 'its good to know some words from another language'. The main difference is that they learned it in school parallel to their parents talking at home. This will not be the case in our home.
Is it harmful to introduce a third language with just phrases, occasional words and no clear learning path?