Thursday, April 7, 2016

|| three languages ||

Liesl is non-stop talking these days.   Most of it is in English simply because I am around her the most during the day and I speak English.  However, her little brain is learning how to process three languages.  I love the fact that she will be fluent in three languages.

So many Americans only speak English.  To be able to communicate in another language besides one's own is such an advantage.  

So how is she learning three languages?  Do we sit her down and go through vocabularly flashcards to teach her words?  Does the mother need to know as many languages as the child?  Do we wait until she is old enough to understand one language and then increase to two then to three? No, no, and no.

Simply, the one who is speaking to Liesl speaks their native language.  I speak only in English to her.  My husband speaks Afrikaans.  And the maids (and others) speak Bemba to her.  

The rule is that each of us should not put in words from the other language simply so Liesl learns how to process the three languages.  But that doesn't exactly happen.  I grew up with a few German words sprinkled in my vocabulary and I've done the same with her.  Sometimes, I say to "sit moi" (sit pretty or sit nice).  And Leon puts in a lot of English words in his vocabulary.  

Another great thing is that I have effortlessly been learning Afrikaans since Liesl has been born.  Because Leon primarily speaks his native tongue to her, I have learned from the very beginning simple phrases such as "Papa is going now"  or "Wait a minute" or "Stop crying or screaming".  In a pinch if I want to say something privately, I can speak a bit to Leon in Afrikaans.  

The newest thing that I have been noticing is Liesl speaking Afrikaans.  She says many things in English.  But just lately, has been saying more Afrikaans.  It is so neat to me to hear her speaking another language.  

I would most certainly encourage anyone with a background in another language to speak that language to their children.  It is so beneficial!!

1 comment:

Heather said...

What a beautiful opportunity your little Liesl has! Keep it up and she'll be such a smarty-pants :)