Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Language Learning in America

The Frau spent last weekend with some expat friends who were visiting the States from Switzerland. Their daughter, Toddler S, speaks Swiss German. And when The Frau heard her speak, she couldn’t believe how much she had missed hearing the language.

But the best part was that Toddler M and Toddler S played like they had never been apart. Although they were starting to play exclusively in Swiss German back in September, this time Toddler M spoke English and Toddler S spoke Swiss German. But they understood each other perfectly. Kids these days.

Anyway, that fact that Toddler M still understood Swiss German six months after leaving it behind made The Frau extremely happy. One of her big regrets lately is that Toddler M isn’t being immersed in another language at the time in her life when it is so easy for her to learn.

Sure, every Tuesday, Toddler M gets approximately 30 minutes of Spanish at her preschool, which is the American idea of language learning, but The Frau longs for a preschool that immerses the child completely instead of teaching the language like a class. The Chicago area has several of these preschools, but alas, none are in her very white and English-speaking neighborhood.

So. The Frau is doing the best she can. This means that Toddler M watches a lot of Peppa Wutz and Bummi on YouTube, she meets with a German expat and her child once a week at the local library (which involves more German for The Frau than for Toddler M, but that's another story), and this summer she’ll go to German School. Granted, this German School is American in that it only takes place for three hours once a week, but hopefully it will be enough for Toddler M to keep her language retention going. Another part of the American Experiment continues…

Frohe Ostern, mitenand.


Anonymous said...

You can also watch via Internet the following:

Not everything is working but some are, depends on the rights, I guess. My kids like "Löwenzahn" and "Terra Max" but they are older.

And language learning ability depends on the child. My daughter was able to put herself into French with 7 and you can not tell now that she was not born here. My son.....So, every kid is different, but hopefully happy ; )

Greetings from Québec, Andrea

Hattie said...

It's hard to keep languages going in a monolingual environment. My daughter is multilingual, but her U.S. born and raised daughters are monolingual. But they have an array of talents in other directions. I'm sure that even after the critical period they will be able to learn a foreign language, with an accent, no doubt! And they can do a junior year abroad in Germany, perhaps, some day!

Tim said...

Why don't you find a Swiss German Au-Pair, who will speak Swiss Geram to your daughter?

sara said...

The tips that you give are all good. It can help a certain student to improve their writing skills in English. Also, in that way, it may lead them in to a good writer who can write well in English language.
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