Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bilangual children

because I was very young when I learned some english and it was of great help at school, we decided to raise our children in such a way that they would be able to speak their national language as perfect as possible and be so familiar with english that they would be able to understand the language well and would be able to speak it in such a way that they would be able to express themselves enough to engage in conversation.

We also agreed I would be the one to speak english, because my pronunciation is good.

It was no effort at all to speak english with them at times.
When changing nappies they got familiar to the sounds, for instance.
And I would learn them the names of objects in both languages.

When the oldest was about 2 and a half years old it turned out that we had made the right decision.
A couple came to live here and they and their kids were speaking english as the only language.
We became good friends and the children played together.
And learned together.

Both little boys used to walk around our round table and point to the things on the table, playing a language game: cup-kop, paper-krant.
The english speaking boy learned dutch very fast, and my boy learned some words he didn't know yet.

This language game was something they shared for years.
Even when they were 8 they used to ask themselves: do I know the name for that in another language, and when they didn't they would ask.

At school my children did very well on the subject.
They enjoyed tasks others loathed, like writing letters and stories.

They had it easy on the subject for their final exams and this morning one of the girls told me that she was happy she learned english so early in life.
She's dyslectic and she feels it's not interfering as much in english as in her native language.

I'm very happy that all this turned out a very good decision.

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