Can children learn to be multilingual?
Q: I am working and married to a South Indian man. We have a 8 month old son. My husband and my mother-in-law always communicate with him in Kannada. Due to this I feel insecure about the fact that when he starts speaking he will communicate in Kannada and will not understand my mother tongue. Being a mother I want him to communicate with me in Hindi. Since I am working I am not able to spend much time with him and having depression. What should I do?
A:If this was a comedy show, I would say next time marry a Hindi speaking guy but since it appears that you are seriously worried, let me assure you that children in India are exposed to and can pick up four languages - so rest assured your kid will not only speak good Kannada, good English but he will also speak Hindi well. It is understandable that you feel left out of the mother-son equation when they communicate in Kannada but thats the way they have always talked and it is unnatural for them to start speaking in Hindi or English. Somehow, I sense that there is more to this than just the language factor. So be critically introspective of your own motives and see what answers you can come up with. As far as your son is concerned, there seems to be no real cause to worry.