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About This Blog

This blog is for anyone interested in raising their children in a foreign language--meaning a language which neither of the parents speak natively.
We have used the approach where both parents speak the target foreign language (in our case, German) to the children. Neither of us is a native German speaker, yet we have spoken German in our home for the past 20 years and have 8 German speaking children. In this blog, we hope to share our successes, our lessons learned and a few of the insights that we've gained along the way.

Rock Paper Sissors!

video
I think it's fascinating how the kids will pick up games, words and songs in the dominant  (community) language...yet they still continue to communicate in the minority (target) language. This video shows Clarissa and Simon in the back of the car. We're on our way home from church, which is an English speaking environment. At some point at church, they must have picked up the game "Rock, Paper, Sissors." Maybe one of the other children in their Sunday school class taught it to them. I don't know how they learned it, but I was intrigued by the fact that they played the game in English, but still continued to use German when communicating. When Clarissa gets frustrated with Simon, she talks to him in German...but then immediately goes back to playing the game in English. It's a lot like the post Language Boundaries where the kids were also playing an English game and communicated with each other in German. I just find this so fascinating. I'm amazed that they continue to stick to German with all this English surrounding them. I attribute this phenomenon to solid, habitual language boundaries. Children will choose to communicate in the language that feels most natural to them. Rarely, can you make them continue to speak in a language that feels unnatural or forced. The key is to raise them from birth in the target language so that it feels as natural as possible. And, hopefully, they'll prefer to speak the target language for many years to come.

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I'd love to hear from you! Do you speak a foreign language? Do you have questions or comments? I'd love to hear them. Thanks!


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