Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Look who's talking: the March Carnival of Bilingualism

Today, let's here it for the Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism which is hosted this month at Verbosity. It's going from strength to strength with a fabulous range of very diverse entries, a real resource for parents who are raising their children bilingually or considering to embark on the journey. When I first had the idea of initiating such a carnival, it was because all the books I could find seemed either not to fit my situation or give me little idea as to what expect, somehow they didn't address the practical questions that I had on a daily basis. For me, the carnival has managed to help me answer these questions, and I honestly get more motivation, inspiration and knowledge out of reading the contribution than I get out of any of the books I've bought.

I'm so pleased that more and more people contribute with such a range of languages and language situations. Thanks to Letizia Quaranta at Bilingual for Fun/Bilingue per Gioco who manages the mailing list and the carnival schedule (head there if you want to join the mailing, see the list of carnivals, the schedule or want to offer to host) what was once a foggy idea has taken real shape and become a resource for hopefully many parents like us.

At the start of the year, I made up a 10 point plan to boost Cubling's minority language (German). I'm pleased to see some success, and it also becomes a bit clearer what works and what doesn't. She's been quite insistent that she's English and not German, so we're working on that. I think she's starting to accept that she's both. She is very clear that everyone has to speak Deutsch to her sister, which is rather lovely, though not impractical.

We have had a few playdates with German children and together with generally having come across more Germans in Glasgow, and more situations where mummy speaks German, she is now more willing to speak German to me. It still amazes me how good her spoken German actually is when she talks to other people (with me, it's a mad mix and I do have to insist rather a lot so she doesn't slip back into English only).

Above all I've learned to see the whole language business from her point of view. If there's no need to speak German, no benefit to it, why should she? If it's just mummy who speaks German, but she clearly speaks English too, where does the motivation come from? If it's just my motivation, it will be no good. Speaking German has to make sense for her, not because her mummy tells her so.

So exposure when possible, lots of one to one playtime with me (we didn't have much of that in the first month's after Snowflake's birth, it was mostly playtime with daddy), and I also have high hopes for our 2 week stay in Germany in April. Without daddy. Which is a shame in one way but a great opportunity of two weeks full immersion.

And you know what? I need it too. I cought myself saying something like "Er weart eine Jacke". Ouch.

1 comment:

smashedpea said...

I know this is kinda late, but what with vacation and all...

Anyway, I just wanted to say how cool it is to read about Cubling's progress - her speaking German so much better with others than with you so mirrors what's happening at our house, so it makes it all seem so much more normal and just the way it's supposed to be. And sometimes normal is good and all I want :)

Good on her (and you)!



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