You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy. - Eric Hoffer
(Yeah.........I jumped the gun yesterday. Today is Friday. Ah the joys of not having to go by a watch or calendar.)
I have Hoffer's book,The True Believer,and have had it for years and years with so many of his quotes underlined.I hope I still have it. Anyway...he has a definite take on things and in his time was very controversial.I really like this quote.
Now I have to laugh at myself (I hoard books, even though I know I have nobody to read my childhood books in German).
anneliese, do you have kids or g'kids? I was mentioning this issue to some friends a few weeks ago of parents passing on their birth tongues to their children. We have friends of whom the mother was raised speaking Portuguese. I asked her if she is using it with her child and she said not. My cousins never were raised with Spanish being spoken much in the home, either...even though it was the first tongue of their father. In my own family German was lost really when it was not used by my g'father to my parent's generation. His mother was German-speaking Swiss. Phrases here, traditions there but not the tongue.
How do you feel about that?
I have a 26 yrs old granddaughter, but she grew up with her mother's family. My son and her mother divorced when my grandaughter was still little. My younger son and my daughter-in-law have a ward. Her mother was from a Spanish speaking family and since she is already a teenager she does not speak German either. My sons do, or did, since the rarely have an occasion to speak German.
How sad....I was born into a pure white bread family, the only immigrants were 300 years ago and those from the British Isles.
Back in the day, it was really pushed to learn English and something to be ashamed of not to know English, so they forced the kids to learn English at the expense of the "birth language".
I was never so aware if the situation as when I went to a high school reunion and spent some time talking with a formerly mousy and quiet girl who told me she was so ashamed of her mother because she couldn't speak English, and how she was the youngest of 8 and had to stay home and take care of her mother because she couldn't speak English and couldn't take care of herself. But, my friend wasn't fluent in Italian!
What a shame to lose a language....but times were very different then.
My daughter teaches Spanish, did teach ESL and has taught French and knows families where the kids are totally bilingual. They speak baby talk in 2 languages! What a gift!
anneliese_, you lucky person to have your childhood books. I have two books from my childhood. One is a novel about a little girl on a farm, the other is a school book about cooking.
But I was very fortunate to be able to borrow books and those early books were books of art. Wonderful covers and drawings in the books. Three dimensional popups etc.
In my mind, languages can be translated to all kinds of media, but the artwork is unique.
Do you have any of those?
I think being able to speak more than one language and then making sure your children learn them both by hearing it spoken is one of the greatest gifts you could give them.They learn so quickly when they are young.
IMHO, there is no way to learn all the languages in the world. I've read the bible in three different languages. Norwegian, Swedish and English. All of them have been translated from the original and the translations are open for discussion. But I'm not the one to argue any point.
DS is reading the Koran,in English, just to understand the premise. DD and DS speaks Spanish because that is the second language here in CA and they want to communicate with people. Norwegian is my mother language, and I have taught them the some basics about the language.
My interest has been to be able to communicate, in way or another.
DH and I went to visit a young Chinese family, with a 4yo boy and a 3mos old girl. The mom spoke English perfectly, but she explained that her son did not speak English at all, just Chinese. I asked when she would teach her children English, she said "the school will do that". I don't want to see that English is the second language here in the states.
There is not reason not to teach children two languages concurrently. Likewise if one parent uses ASL, or if there is one hearing impaired child in the family, there is no reason not to speak and sign at the same time.
I have read some studies where it was implied that children may develop a small degree of confusion in comprehension when bi-lingual at a young age, but to my mind the benefits outweigh the shortcomings at the end of the day.
I spent a good deal of time at a young age living overseas, and due to our locations (remote from other American families in general) and with no vehicle when my father was at work, most of my playmates did not speak English. I got along well enough in their language I felt comfortable with it, and I believe it has given my an ear for languages I'd have gotten no other way. Occasionally I pick up instruction manuals still and have it partially read before I realise I am not reading it in English. I have gotten rusty on so much of it, but the reading comprehension is still there and enough of it, I 'quizzed out' of taking the courses in University and the prof who tested me simply asked how many course hours I wanted applied to my transcript.