My son is midway through childhood. He is a great kid, easy-going and kind to others. Unlike his classmates, he is truly bilingual. He can speak both English and Japanese.
So what are some of my thoughts?
- Multilingualism is not always easy, but I feel that it is worth it. It feels that we embarked on a grand experiment that some succeed at and some fail at. Fortunately, I think my son is a success story.
- Japanese is a difficult language. English is a difficult language. The two languages are practically opposites. Thus, the combination of the two is more challenging than the combination of two languages which are related (like English and German.)
- However……living in Japan, English is the easiest second language to embark on. The resources for English are easy to come by in Japan. English is a high prestige language. (Basically, it is THE language to learn.) This makes life much, so much, easier for us.
- I often worry that my son will be good at Japanese and good at English, but not great at either. I wish he read more. I think school here takes a lot out of him and the last thing he wants to get when he is relaxing is more education!
- Trilingualism? I see that is often done by other people on the internet, and all I can say is two languages are ENOUGH for us. More than enough. Exploring the worlds of Japanese and English is enough to keep us busy.
- Biculturalism is something we also think about. However, this is fairly easy in Japan because American culture is such a strong influence in the world. I feel my son has an advantage knowing that there is more than one point of view, more than one way of doing things.
- Which country would my son choose? Canada LOL (or maybe not LOL)