09 January 2018

German with Big Brother

Just a few months ago, our fourth-oldest, Dallin, came home from serving a 2-year mission in Brazil. During that time, he didn't ever use his German. However, he became quite fluent in Portuguese! When he left for his mission, the three little ones were still speaking only German with each other and with all of us. In fact, 2 years ago, they spoke almost exclusively German at home. Since that time, they have slowly switched to speaking more and more English. They still speak German when reminded, but they have become more comfortable with English.
It was fun to see that Dallin hadn't forgotten all of his German and that he was still more comfortable communicating with his little siblings in German than in English. On several occasions, I caught Dallin and the boys playing Legos together, and of course, I was thrilled to hear them conversing in German. Even though they don't always speak German, I'm so glad that they still "can" and often "do" speak German.
I also found that there was another perk to having Dallin spend two years in another country, learning a third language: He came home even more interested in improving his German. And I actually think that learning Portuguese (along with all the Portuguese grammar), helped him to better understand German grammar. Granted, he has forgotten quite a bit of his vocabulary, but I watched it come back very quickly as he spent time talking and playing with his little siblings. It will be fun to see how all of this pans out! I'm just always happy when I see that German is still a special language that the kids use when they are bonding.

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Bilingual Baby Dream Team

Going on 20+ years of raising our bilingual babies...
I'm so grateful for a sweet husband who was willing to give this whole experiment a try and and that he was willing to speak German to our kids, even though his German exposure had been limited to a few semesters of college German. It's been one of the most fun and rewarding things we've done. The fact that our family speaks German has given us our own identity and helps the kids feel like they are a part of something special. And anything that helps your family feel special and connected is a good thing.