Thursday, 29 April 2010

Bilingual Carnival April edition

Thanks to my email letting me down, I've sort of missed the bilingual carnival this month. Just for writing and submitting a contribution, luckily my preferred feed reader is still working (though it had 1000+ posts when I returned from holiday) so at least I can tell you all about this month's edition which is happening at Bilingual For Fun.

So while I read through all the fabulous contributions, watch the final election debate, and do some baby baseball tee knitting to keep my emotions level, I'll leave you with a not quite contribution to the bilingual carnival. It's not a proper post, it's not particularly exciting, but I really also want this blog to be a bit of a record of Cubling's life for posterity - and maybe, just maybe, someone finds this mildly interesting. And if not, nevermind.

And by the way, the next bilingual carnival in May will be hosted right here, so please let me have your posts on raising children bilingually to keep up the amazing range of information and experiences that this months carnival has brought together. Email me at blog at (email is working again) or cartside at

So here's my bilingual child at just 3 years, after almost a fortnight in Germany:

  • We have clear signs of code switching.
  • She can now say full sentences in German "Ich moechte kuscheln" (I'd like to cuddle), i.e. personal pronouns now occasionally come out in German (before it was "I want kuscheln")
  • She still focusses on noun and verb to indicate which language she speaks in, so the sentence will be English with verbs and nouns generally in German. She does use many adjectives in German, but less so adverbs: "The Suppe ist too heiss!"  "The Suppe ist ein bisschen too heiss"
  • Her pronunciation is incredibly clear in both languages.
  • She can pronounce English "r" but not the German one.
  • She can't pronounce "th"
  • She makes up words and loves it
  • She really struggles with longer sentences, such as polite questions, leaving out the "can you" at the start in both languages
  • She defaults to English with new people but understood quickly who doesn't understand English and switches accordingly
  • She loves questions. Why/Warum is added to every conversation and is driving me bonkers. What morgen doing? is the first question of the day. What you do today? Is the one that welcomes us home. She will listen to the answer, attentively even if daddy speaks of nomads, as if she knows exactly what he's talking about.
  • She loves role play and telling us what to do in a role play.
  • She still maintains some early toddler mispronunciations (t for k which she very consistently did when younger, now she can say both phonemes but will still say tock on the door, which I think is a mix of knock and klopfen)
  • She translates into both languages: The volcano broke out (from German "ausbrechen") and You missed the Tasche? (you forgot the bag, derived from you're missing the bag)
  • She doesn't seem to understand past tense questions, so when I ask about something she did, she has problems knowing what to say. That's in German, not sure if she has the same difficulty in English.
  • She keeps talking about a friendly plastic spider that she meets at both nurseries, and other mysteries.
  • She makes up the coolest names for her toys.
  • Her mixing of languages makes me mix languages. Maybe I'll end up speaking Cublinglish.
  • She can catch a ball (which clearly has nothing at all to do with being bilingual in case you were wondering)



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