Lanaguages and Children

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for Journal.
Teaching Your Child a New Language

 

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During college, I had a huge desire to learn languages. (I still do.)  I also wanted to make a commitment in teaching my children a language young so they might be bi-lingual.  After years of school and study, I think I have decided I am going to teach my children German.  Here are the ups and downs of this endeavor.

 

UPS:

1)      I have started learning German myself.  I am taking the classes, am immersing myself in child-like songs and am registered for a college level class to learn how to speak, write & interact only in German.  I am even trying to work with my husband on this (he just started school himself so it may be more difficult.)  But I feel comfortable enough now I could teach my own child right now some information, like “Danke” for thank you and “bitte” for please/you’re welcome.

 

2)      I decided to pick a language that was fun & easy. I agree, German is not for everyone, but you should not pick a language you cannot enjoy yourself.  For example, despite the advantages of choosing Korean, I have extreme difficulty speaking any Asian language. This is why I did not choose to learn an Asian language up front. But I will gladly encourage any language knowledge my own child would explore…and maybe I’ll learn “hello” and “goodbye” in any language.

 

3)      I tried teaching my dogs their commands in German.  It’s easier than expected because the word “to sit” is setzen and since my dogs know hand and verbal commands (somewhat) I can use the same visual and use a similar word.  They get nein now and setzen and kommen (to come.)  And dogs are supposedly the same intelligence as a 2year human.  Good practice for teaching a new language to a non-speaking mammal.

 

 

DOWNS:

1)      I am not a native speaker. I am trying to resolve this by trying to think only in German and be around native speakers (my class and recordings are helping, but…)

2)      I am just starting this… so if I have children in the next few years, I may know some German, but nothing to communicate fully (well, trying to resolve as I said.)  I do know they offer children classes in the area, of which I would greatly appreciate.  Again, something to overcome.
 

I am curious—how many people out there have thought about teaching their children a second language?? If so, which language? My brother used sign language to communicate, I know of someone else using French… Please post your comments—I am welcome to suggestions and ideas of how to teach a child another language.

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