From Ingrid Weilguny
Photo credit: Jason Bolonski
I recall before my kids were born which we proposed how it would be. Bringing them up bilingually, that is.
We agreed on the 1 parent-one language strategy. We determined as outside the door they heard German, that English could be the main influence within the house. However although I tried to bring up my kids bilingually, I occasionally wonder exactly what went wrong.
All my kids appears to talk less English.
I’m an English speaker from Australia, living in Austria with my husband that speaks chiefly German with the kids.
When my first daughter was born, I could not speak German and the language I heard me talk was English. Had been German with her dad and quite clear about just speaking English with me, when she began speaking, from early. When she was in kindergarten when we came home although she couldn’t sing the tune to me on the day of mother as it had been , she filmed it in English and interpreted it. For this day, she’s quite particular about just speaking English with me.
I’d learned to talk a bit of German, when my daughter was born three years later. She noticed me speak German when I mixed with the other mothers at kindergarten, in the grocery store, along with my mother-in-law. When playing with her sister, they’d change between German and English based on what the matter was. For my child, her existence was chilled in German than the original. Though she talked to me mostly she was not so worried because she knew I knew, when she talked in German.
My daughter was born. By this time, I was competent in speaking German. The women have and she noticed me and they speaking German. She heard (and proceeds to listen) me talk German if the women do their assignments. I did not have enough time such as I did with all the others to spend some time with her singing songs in English.
Our third child hears more German at home than the kids although I try to stick to the 1 parent-one language version and just talk from English. She switches or sings songs in German her language as opposed to searching for the phrase in English.
Excels in language dominance are dependent on each kid’s exposure to languages, which is different for each child. It all depends on the languages that the parents are speaking, their siblings, their friends and anyone else they talk with, based on Professor Gathercole, a Professor of Linguistics at Florida International University and Professor of Psychology at Bangor University, Wales
Instead of viewing the differences because something negative, this is a natural result of how kids (and adults) learn languages. Does this mean your child is not regarded as multilingual? NO!
As Professor Gathercole says, “Language is heard in context, and also a kid may hear each language in different contexts. For instance, a child might hear 1 language used from the kitchen, another language on a sports area, but in the exact same time might hear both at a grocery store and in school.”
It could be that our child knows something better. 1 language might be more important at this phase, but this might change as they grow older as well if they must use 1 language greater than another.
Nevertheless, it is very important to bear in mind they have two or more languages, even which is greater than a monolingual individual has.
So have I failed?
Instead of seeing the differences in my kids ‘ language use as having failed, what I’ve done is provide a foundation of bilingualism for all three of my kids. When she wants to she understands and can talk though my youngest chooses not to talk in English.
We talk is our unique mix. It also works for everybody, although it might not be exactly as we intended. That’s definitely the most essential.
Do each of your kids speak less and less of this minority language? How has this made you feel about the bi-multilingualism through the years of your family?
Ingrid Weilguny is an Australian living in Austria with her three bilingual German/English women. She has an MA in Applied Linguistics and also an Med at TESOL. She works as a Foreign Language instructor while.