L is for language 

As I’ve probably mentioned, SB is growing up with about 2.5 languages at the moment: her parents’ native language at home, Nordic language in kindergarten, and some English that, while not often directed at her, she still hears a lot of (us talking to colleagues or her caregivers, documentary-type stuff my husband watches, sometimes friends talking to her).

And a surprising number of people have asked why we’re not also teaching her English right from the start. Admittedly, none of these people have kids, but still, I was a little taken aback. I know it’s often said that kids learn languages more easily than adults, but that doesn’t mean we need to challenge them with three at once.

In contrast, one of my colleagues learned 3 languages as a kid because of international moves. I asked how he speaks to his young son. Nordic language. To keep it simple, he said.

In my language class, I seem to have an easier time than most of my classmates, supporting the claim that my native language is closer to Nordic than many others. On the one hand, this makes the class easy… on the other it doesn’t feel like great use of my time.

SB, meanwhile, has her own ideas. A few weeks ago she walked up to her book, pointed at the ball and exclaimed “ball”, getting me all excited – but she hasn’t repeated this. On Friday when we were leaving her kindergarten, she said something that sounded very much like the local goodbye, which translates to “thank you for today”. I’m really curious to see how and when she’ll start using more words I understand. And how much (little) of a head-start I have for the new language ;)


5 thoughts on “L is for language 

  1. I agree with MLACS. I can only speak English and French, but I wish I could speak or even understand many more languages. I work for a global company and have offices and customers across the world – would love to be able to communicate with others in their native tongue.

  2. So cool! AJ knows some words, but mainly she likes to call everything “ba” (although I think it mainly means bright lights, which she’s kind of obsessed with. Two languages sounds like plenty to me. Languages aren’t really my thing though: so much work to learn! But the human brain is amazing, especially when children are so young and full of potential.

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