language forgetting.
The issue at hand is that my daughters do not hear enough German to be able to develop a strong foundation, right?"/> InCultureParent | Language Forgetting

Pin It
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Language Forgetting

By

I am still thinking about language forgetting.

The issue at hand is that my daughters do not hear enough German to be able to develop a strong foundation, right? I am the only constantly available source of German they have. Doesn’t that mean that I am the issue, really?

Well, part of it is the fact that one person alone cannot provide enough immersion. It’s almost like dipping your toe into a puddle and then claiming you took a bath. I also work during the day and my time with the girls is limited, a lot more limited than I’d like it to be.

But within the limits I could still do a better job if I didn’t experience language detachment myself. I think.

Expat Issues

A lot of people who leave their countries or cultures and settle somewhere else develop behaviour or beliefs that link them back. Could be a strong faith, strict adherence to tradition or close ties to fellow expats.

It’s a normal reaction. If you do not have the comfortable support of a whole society behind you, you can either forget about your roots or keep them alive alone. The latter is difficult at best and easily overdone.

Now I am fairly laid back and I don’t usually overdo a lot of things. But I find myself obsessing about my mother tongue. I worry about it. I talk about it with anyone who will listen or share. I read about it. I blog about it.

Sometimes I will address non-German children in German. I started doing it with our friends’ smaller children (planting seeds, I guess). That worked better than I anticipated. So I stepped it up and tried it with older kids. It still works a little bit, and the looks I get are just brilliant. Can’t really see myself stopping this anytime soon…

I guess language is my personal expat issue. Maybe I should accept it as such and go for it completely. From now on, people visiting my house will be expected to speak German! Or at least understand it. Jawohl!

© 2011 – 2013, Jan Petersen. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


How I Made My Forgotten Native Language My Child’s Strongest

I started off by speaking dodgy Cantonese. No word for remote control? No problem! ‘Pressy thingy.’

How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000

It's cheaper than you think to make that move abroad you always dreamed about

Primary School Privilege

Time outs due to whistling versus school's out due to poverty

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jan, who is German, works mainly from home as a software engineer. His wife, who is Algerian, stays at home to look after their three girls aged 7, 4 and 1. They live in the U.K. and are raising their children multilingual in Arabic, French, German and English.

Leave us a comment!

1 Comment
  1. Commentssaill   |  Wednesday, 20 April 2011 at 5:36 am

    I wonder if speaking more than one language at the same time is as inefficient as other types of multi-tasking is being found to be.

    For myself, I feel stilted and awkward with a different language until I have been immersed in it for at least several weeks – to the point where I am beginning to dream in the second language. I would guess that even my native language would get “back-burnered” once I were sufficiently immersed in a new one.









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!
[easy_sign_up phone="0"]

A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
Hi...I am an Asian who was adopted and raised by Caucasian American missionaries in South America. I have two kids-my daughter is 16 and my son is 11. When I had my first baby I too was indoctrinate...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
This Karina, the Karina from the article. I'm now 13. It took this article was written 3 years ago and barely coming across it right now. I was originally trying to look for my folkloric pictures fo...
From How This Single Working Mom Raised a Trilingual Kid
Nice recipe, thank for shari...
From Vaisakhi Recipe: Sarson Ka Sag
I've been in Germany Ten years now, Lived in Frankfurt and Stuttgart, specifically Leonberg. In Frankfurt I was shocked by how unfriendly the People were, how aggressive their Drivers, but in Leonbe...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
At DreamAfrica, we are a streaming app for animations and films from around the world. We celebrate cultural representation in digital media and invite you to download and share our DreamAfrica appp...
From What We Are Not About
Imagine those people who work at your typical IT Department, yeah those weirdos with low EQ, no manners, no social skills; indeed those who kiss the bosses' ass when it's convenient, but get offend...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I contacted the editor of this magazine (Stephanie) and she told me she'd inform Jan about this article. I have since changed my mind about going to Germany because of Merkel's policies, and this i...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Daniela You speak BS, you have never seen Franconia, or you're a Franconian girl. In the second case, I know that no intellectual conversation could be made with Franconian people, because you'r...
From Are Germans Really Rude?

More from Our Bloggers