What parent can honestly say that their 3-year-old speaks four languages? Rhonda Ross can. The daughter of Diana Ross recently told the press that her son, Raif, not only knows English but can also speak a bit of French, Mandarin, and Spanish.
“It started very innocently,” said the proud mother. “At six months is when we started introducing the French, and at a year is when I started exclusively speaking to him in French. My husband speaks to him in English. He has a babysitter that comes three afternoons a week that speaks to him only in Spanish. He also has a Chinese babysitter that comes a couple of times a week that speaks to him only in Mandarin. In addition to that, he does a preschool program five mornings a week that is Immersion Mandarin. He doesn’t confuse the languages. He doesn’t mix the languages. It’s working very very well for us.”
Although Rhonda knew that she wanted her son to be well-versed, she didn’t think it was necessary for her to learn another language until a friend convinced her that one-on-one learning between her and Raif was the best way for him to thrive. “I wanted to give my son the gift of French, but I’m not fluent. I started with a French babysitter, but a friend convinced me I would have to speak French to my son myself if I really wanted him to be fluent. I took classes and constantly worked on my language skills,” explained the mom.
Rhonda gave birth to Raif in 2009. He was Diana Ross’ first grandchild at the time.