Ellinor Speaks Three Languages and She’s Not Even 3 Years Old! – The Fi2W Podcast

Ellinor at home with her books; photo by Janie Shen

When Janie Shen decided to move to New York with her Norwegian husband and their baby daughter Ellinor, she knew that maintaining a household with multiple languages would be crucial to their cultural identities.

Born in China and raised in Sweden, Janie is used to living in a multilingual world. But parenting in a trilingual home presents unique challenges.

From Ellinor’s dinner-time conversation, which seamlessly switches between Mandarin, Norwegian and English to a Chinese/English playgroup in Brooklyn, Janie together with fellow journalist Shadi Garman, delve into the struggles and triumphs of parents raising trilingual children.

This story was produced by Janie Shen and Shadi Garman as part of the Feet in 2 Worlds journalism course at The New School.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation, an anonymous donor and readers like you.  

AboutJanie Shen
Janie Ziye Shen is a researcher and photographer based in NYC. Born in China, Janie grew up in Sweden and has studied and worked in the UK, Belgium and Lebanon. She is currently a M.A. candidate in International Affairs at The New School with a research focus on refugees, migration and mobility. Before moving to New York, she lived in Beirut and worked for Save the Children on child protection in the Middle East region. She also organized language classes for local migrant workers and refugees there. Janie is fluent in English, Mandarin, Swedish and French.