Monthly Archives: May 2011

Be the example…

When this blog was born a couple of weeks before Una’s birth the main idea was that we use it to bridge the distance between us and our families and friends and make them part of Una’s growing up. And to do this in two languages.

The main mission stayed the same over the years (four already?) but some things changed too. We quickly became I (turns out Mark does not enjoy writing as much as I do), I started ocassionally stealing the space for some of my own random ramblings, and other means of social networking such as Skype and Facebook became much quicker and thus preferred ways of communicating and sharing.  Most importantly I have started using it to document all these gems that Una (and soon Nestor) say and do so that I can share it with them one day. All these changes I am fine with but there is one that bugs me, that I can’t really explain and vow to work hard on.

The blog became monolingual. I don’t exactly know why. Did it become too much work? I doubt that was the reason. I am far from being the world’s most frequent blogger so typing two instead of one paragraph every now and then should not be so difficult, right? And why didn’t I drop the other language, instead of my native one? So that my husband can understand it? Has it become easier for me to think in English? My mum asked me once what language I dream in and sadly, I couldn’t answer. Speaking one language to my children, another one to my husband and the third one outside home, I sometimes struggle to find the word in any language to describe a notion I have in my head. Normally, this language mess is something I have no problem with and am actually proud of, I mean how great it is that I can now read one of the favourite books of my childhood in the original?

I have all but given up hope on ever speaking Serbian with Mark but it is incredibly important to me that my children can speak my mother tongue. To all my other friends in multilingual marriages and environments this is a given, and the vast majority of people in general think of it as a great gift to children. Mark and I have come across some people who think that we are confusing, overloading or damaging our children by doing so. We very much disagree but hey, different strokes for different folks.

I have read a lot about raising multilingual children and most of them sooner or later go through a phase where they only want to speak the community language. But as long as parents remain consistent that usually passes quickly and the child remains fully multilingual. So if Una and Nestor go through the phase of boycotting Serbian or English or both and insist of talking as though they are permanently clearing their throat that is fine with me. But if I want to keep encouraging them to learn and use the language I should at least write the silly wonderful bits they say to me the way they say it to me, in the original.

So from next post on, this blog is bilingual again!

And a recent photo of my wonderful trilingual  toddler and my gorgeous all-lingual baby (I am sure he speaks them all, we just don’t understand him!)

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Filed under Raising multilingual children

Honesty is overrated

I: Una, shall we put some music on?
Una: Are you going to stop singing then?
I: Yeees?
Una: OK then.
Ouch.

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Filed under Out of the mouths of babes