What follows is the original text I wrote in January 2011. I've put some updates in italics, to show how things have evolved.
Three children living in France on the border with Switzerland, born to a British mother and a German father. We are an OPOL family, i.e. we do a "one person one language" set-up. In our case, I speak English with the children and my husband, Thomas, speaks German with them. Thomas and I speak a mixture of English and German together. So what do the children speak to whom? Well, they always talk to me in English. To their father they speak a mixture of German and English (Feb 2012: they now only speak German with Thomas). They also speak French, which they are exposed to at nursery (for Leonard, the eldest, five days a week, and for Annabelle and Sofia three days a week) (Feb 2012: A. is now also at nursery five days a week). And they almost only speak French there, we seldom hear it at home or when we're out with them. And amongst themselves? Mostly English, with occasional switches to French or more rarely into German. (Feb 2012: Oh my, now they speak all three languages amongst themselves, often whole conversations in one language, but some mixing of course.)
So that's our deal. Why do I want to share this with the world? Well, I've been reading this and that about multilingualism on the internet, in books and magazines, and a lot of the material out there seems to me to be rather fraught. And we're not. Not that it's always been a breeze: sure, we've found some things difficult, we've faced times when things weren't quite panning out as we'd hoped. But we've taken decisions, stuck with it and so far we've managed to keep the situation more or less where we want it. So I wanted to add some cheerful multilingualism into the mix to even out some of the more dire and desperate contributions.
The other reason I'm writing this blog is, of course, for my own self-edification (isn't every blogger?), but also to help me think through some of the issues facing a trilingual family. So if you are enjoying reading this, or have any comments on what you read, do let me know.