“Pampers To Polyglot: 7 Ideas For Raising Multilinguals Like Me” presents the story of how author Tetsu Yung was raised to become a polyglot and summarizes his experience and knowledge into seven practical ideas for you to apply in your daily routines in raising your children to become bi- or multilingual.
Tetsu is fluent in English, French, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish, and can converse in another five languages. However, what is unique in his story compared to many other polyglots and hyperglots in the world is that he acquired most of his languages as a child, in a unique multilingual environment designed intentionally by his parents back in the 70’s and 80’s.
As such, Tetsu literally does not know what it is like to be monolingual, and in fact, for as far back as he can remember, he has always had to use at least four languages in his daily toddler life. This special multilingual upbringing greatly enhanced his language learning skills very early in life, leading naturally to easy language acquisition throughout his childhood and into his teens and early adulthood.
A popular TED talk by Washington University linguistics investigator Patricia Kuhl discussed the linguistic genius of babies, and how human language acquisition skills decline sharply from the age of seven onwards. Hence, investing heavily in multilingual education very early in life is essential for raising children to become truly fluent and native-like in all the target languages you want them to speak.
Based on first-hand experience, rather than academic theories, the ideas presented by Tetsu and the rationales underlying each one of them are convincing and can be tailored to different life-styles and situations. For example, having different people speak different languages to your children (also known as One Person One Language (OPOL), letting them watch TV or surf the internet in the target language, letting them join summer camps in the target language, sending them abroad, etc., are all ideas that allow you to build a bi- or multilingual environment for your children depending on what your living context offers. This way of preparing a natural multilingual living context for your children is what Tetsu refers to as Contextual Language Acquisition Philosophy or CLAP. It is the very foundation of all the language learning tricks and methods that have allowed him to become the polyglot that he is today.
Now, as a father of a 4 year-old son and a 2 year-old daughter (with the third child expected in late fall of 2016), Tetsu has been applying CLAP and OPOL and all the ideas in his book to ensure that his children will quickly become fluent in all the languages that he speaks, and hopes that they will easily surpass their father as multilinguals and go on to live happily as global citizens. You can follow the progress of his children’s language learning by subscribing to his YouTube channel.
For more information on Tetsu, please visit his website.