A couple months ago I shared on my Instastory that my daughter is trilingual. I got so many questions and continue to get them as to how we have taught her Farsi, Armenian and English so I thought to share our journey here with you as it isn’t a short answer. I would like to mention that I’m not making any recommendations here as all people learn at a different pace and learn differently. There has been a lot of trial and error for my husband and I and it most certainly isn’t easy. It just takes commitment and conscious effort. I learned my husband’s language in my 30’s so all things are possible!
A little bit of background on us. I’m Persian born here in United States and my husband is Armenian and born here in the United States as well. There are lots of Armenians from Iran and often times people think I’m Armenian from Iran but I am full Persian and my parents were born in Tehran, Iran. Before my husband and I got married, I made the decision to learn my husband’s language for the sake of our kids knowing that when we had kids I would be home full time with them. A quick disclaimer: Armenian is an entirely different language than Farsi and Armenian has different dialects, we speak Western Armenian. I took private classes at the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute for a few months which gave me a strong base. From there on my husband spoke ONLY Armenian to me with the goal that would help me excel by hearing it all the time and encouraging me to use my new found vocabulary. It was challenging to say the least but that’s where I excelled the most and broke out of my comfort zone with pronunciation and putting setting sentences together. Imagine if you were dropped in the middle of new country and had to communicate the local language? You would be forced to communicate. This is the point where I feel I really took off to become fluent in Armenian because I was forced to use what was in me, what I learned in class, and from what my husband and I had been practicing.
When my daughter was born and up to around 2 years of age, I spoke both Farsi and Armenian to her, no English. I would repeat both languages back to back when speaking to her. For example if I wanted to ask her if she wanted milk I would say, (Farsi) “sheer meekhayee?” or (Armenian) “gaht goozes?” This process worked for 2 years with her and gave her a strong base in both languages. Once she started to become conversational and I noticed I couldn’t keep her attention by going from one language to another back to back, I stopped speaking Armenian and only Farsi, no English still. This worked for us because now Farsi and Armenian wasn’t one big jumbled language and she learned who to turn the languages on and off with. She absorbed and excelled much quicker at this point only hearing one language from me and one from her father. Our families speak our native languages to the kids too but they aren’t close by for consistency so the biggest source of lingual influence comes our home, my husband and I. I think the fact that I’m with them all the time is what has helped both my kids learn Farsi. I am proud to share that my son Milan is on his way to learning both as well!
Some supplements I use and I find to be helpful are the following:
Engilisifarsi (books and iBooks)
Golreezan (Farsi + Armenian)
I don’t remember how I learned Farsi. I just grew up and knew how to speak it. As I got older and especially when I became a mother, I came full circle and make more of a conscious effort to speak Farsi well. Children are sponges and any language they know the better. Especially in the world we live in today. I don’t want one day for my children to ask me why didn’t I teach them our languages when we are fully capable of gifting them with this knowledge.
I am sure there are more resources out there then the above mentioned that I am not aware of so please share if you have any! I hope that you will find me sharing my journey with you informational and encouraging. For a quicker reply, please leave any questions or comments in the comment box (versus emailing me). Always love to hear from you guys!