Thursday, 3 March 2011

Trials and Tribulation of Bilingualism or is it Multilingualism?

This week has just flown by and things are starting to change in my life, for which I am truly thankful. There are big changes that will be taking place but I'm not sure when but it will have an impact on all areas of my life when they do take place.

Today we met a new family to the home education community, her son was in school for 19 days and she took him out. He and L got on like a house of fire and M was fine with him too.

Tonight I was treated to an Indian meal by my friend. She and her daughters and my daughters and I went to a really nice restaurant. The men who work there were so funny with the children.

C, my friend's daughter, asked the man if the little forks and knives were for the starters and the big knives and forks were for the main course. Without skipping a beat he replied, 'No, the little ones are for you and the big ones are for me.' I was in stitches.

Today L and I tried speaking French to each other, it was strange because at one time in her life I only ever spoke French to her and she used to speak it quite well. She's lost that but hopefully will get it back. I think I'm just going to do it and speak French all the time at home when DH isn't around.

That will get the language back up again, I also need to get the German up too but alas it is a complicated language. M completely understands everything you say to her in German but answers in English.

DH didn't want me to speak to her in French because he wanted her to learn German but she doesn't speak any German so there goes that.

We know a couple who did the OPOL rule, that means one parent one language. So the child or children speak to the mother in her language and the father in his, but in our household that doesn't work because they both speak to him in English and he answers L in English and M in German.

Then I wanted the ml at home and ML out rule, that means minority language at home and the Majority Language out so living in an English speaking country, we would speak German at home and English among friends. That didn't work because my German is just not there and so DH would get fed up and speak to me in English because I don't understand his dialect. See the problem is that I speak and understand Hoch Deutsch which is the German equivalent of 'Oxford English' he speaks some dialect that I just don't understand. It took me two or more years of being with him before I could remotely understand half of what he said but yet all his Northern German friends I could understand without any problem.

He refuses to speak to me in 'Hoch Deutsch' and so that means I will never fully understand him. He told me that I speak a variation of German that was common around the war.

Yet another example in my life of being dissuaded from trying to speak a language. At one point in my life I had a complex about speaking French to men and if I knew that someone spoke English, I refused to speak to them in French and it seems I have this same complex in German too.

The biggest problem that I have these days in German is that I speak it well enough to get myself into trouble. That means that I speak it better than I understand it and it poses problems for me, everyone thinks I understand them and actually I caught about 25% of what they said.

I just need to listen to it more then I would understand it but since we will never live there, what's the point? At least when I was learning French I had real motivation, I lived in French Canada for a while and in the south of France.

I've only spent a few weeks in Germany and Austria and think I'd love to live there but he doesn't want to so there goes that idea. In Germany we wouldn't be able to home educate and in Austria we could.

This post seems to have gone in a completely different direction than it started in, in fact, I even had to change the title.

Tomorrow is drama and we're making headway through Animal Farm, it's a very interesting read. Since my train of thought got completely derailed, I think it's est that I go to bed, before something else happens.