Thursday, 27 October 2011

Bringing up bilingually

It is clear that trying to bring up a child bilingually is harder than one imagines. Especially, when the Archaeologist Husband has only learnt to say ‘Hello’ in the minority language that is my mother tongue Finnish. To make things harder, it is not an Indo-European language and is spoken only by a handful of persons in our area as their first language. You only hear Finnish on TV about once in two years when there has been a horrible accident or event in Finland and you hear a police or ambulance driver uttering a sentence in the background or Sheldon wants to learn an obscure language in the Big Bang Theory.

English is everywhere and DVDs have different languages on totally randomly. Our selection of DVDs bought in UK includes DVDs with audios in Hindi or French or English only or all Scandinavian languages and German. One could watch Pikku Kakkonen children programmes over the Internet but we disconnected our old PC from our TV when we turned our living room furniture around to maximize the effects of heating. No matter how much I try to talk in Finnish I cannot keep chatting over Alex’s favourite film or be in the nursery on his nursery days.

The example of the other Anglo-Finnish children is that the children choose what they want to speak. In the Finnish Saturday School the children tend to speak in English with each other and flatly answer in English to their parents’ or mother’s (since it is mainly women who marry to UK) Finnish questions. It looks like it will be an uphill struggle when even the older children of the Finnish parents translate their parents’ Finnish to the younger children… Thus, I can only give an opportunity to learn a very difficult language from birth and hope that he will like to have a ‘secret’ tongue when he will be slightly older.

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1 comment:

  1. I hope you are successful!! It seems like a tough situation, but it will be so worth it for your kids later in life. Best of luck :)