Perhaps that title is a bit deceiving, as Mausi isn’t yet speaking any language. She will sign, for ‘milk’, ‘eat’, ‘water’, ‘more’, ‘finished’ and various foods, but she hasn’t yet spoken.
Apart from the signing, which is another thing altogether, we’re speaking to Mausi in both English and German. More precisely, Mausi’s daddy is speaking to her in English and I am speaking to her mostly in German. There are times when I will speak, sing songs, or read to her in English, but most of the time while daddy is at work during the day, I speak to her in German. Or try to. I was brought up speaking both English and German, but it has been a while, and my German is rusty. I am surprised however, by how quickly it is all coming back, and with each passing day my confidence is boosted.
While browsing the internet for resources I came across an interesting book about teaching children multiple languages: ‘‘The Bilingual Edge‘ by Kendall Kind and Alison Mackey.
Reading this book has certainly helped. Written by two linguists and mothers it really stresses to do what works for each family rather than following a prescribed set of rules, and adds that parents do not need to be fluent in a second language to help their child learn it. This buoyed me a little, as while my German is all there, it needs to be unlocked again and I am still a little self-conscious about it. Add to that that daddy is learning along with Mausi, I was pleased to discover that even with the few words he knows, he can help her along! A great review of the book can be found at Hobo Mama.
I’ve ordered some German children’s books (board and ones with regular paper pages) online (I’m expecting some more in the mail sometime soon…) and I’m searching around for some good children’s music in German. We’re getting our supplies all set up…
It’s a work-in-progress, and a slow evolution to the perfect language balance for our family. But above all, we are having fun with it ~ and that, I think, is the most important thing of all.
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