Of course my kids have to grow up bilingual, no questions asked! Hmm….but all German-speaking grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends are on the other side of the world. I can only say it’s not as easy as it seems.
When I first arrived in Australia, we nominated the „German Sunday“. All other days of the week I was to speak English to get used to the Australian language. All I can say is „Mission accomplished“! Ten years later and all that comes out sometimes when trying to speak German is „Denglish“ (a mix of German (Deutsch) and English), because I just can’t remember some German words. There is some things that I can only explain in one of the languages, because I’ve never used the vocabulary in the other one. I dream in English and I swear (no NEVER) in English, so first thing that comes to mind is always in English.
On trips to Germany I always have to chuckle when I hear people use sayings. One of my favourite words that I rediscovered is: Futschikato (gone). You don’t use that much here and even in German it sounds funny! 😉
So when we had our first child, I did start speaking German to him. Then he turned two and wasn’t talking much. As a typical first time mum I was really worried about what the matter was. „Maybe he is just confused about the languages?“ I ask the doctor who replied „This is typical for bilingual children, they usually take a bit longer until they start talking, don’t worry!“ Of course I worried! I would’ve been confused to, we go to the library and sing English songs, mum speaks to other people in English and then when we go home, she talks funny. In the end, of course, I worried too much and now I wish he would talk a tiny little bit less every now and then ;-). He just doesn’t stop talking, mostly in English though. But he knows the „really important“ things in German like „Can I please have a cookie?“, „Oh Chocolate“ and „Futschikato!“ 😉 .
We are lucky that the little library around the corner actually has a tiny selection of German kids books. It’s always hard to persuade the little one to take some German books, but mum always takes a few while he selects loads of dinosaur books. Last week he said „Mum can we please go to the library, I want more dinosaur books!?“ – I say „First you have to take some books back, so we can get new ones“, to which he (3) then replies:
„We can take all your German books back!“
After I finished laughing I told him that I’m going to take him to German classes soon, he said
„No mummy, we can practise that when I’m older!“