Friday, May 21, 2010

Raising a bilingual child

I love Germany. I do. I really miss living there and I am sad that my child won't grow up there.

This, to me, is home. Or one of the places I call home.

This is a crummy picture, taken while riding in my dad's car. But just looking at it I can smell the fresh cut grass, the fresh bread in the bakery next to the church, and the clean mountain air. I can hear the cowbells, the tractors and the churchbells. And all of this is just 25 minutes from a major city. I miss it!

This being said, German is one of the most unattractive languages that exist. I actually cringe when I hear someone I don't talk to on a regular basis speak German. When I visit Germany, I can't listen to the radio or watch TV because I just can't take it.

I never gave much thought to raising a bilingual child, I think I always expected it to come naturally. Of course I would speak to my child in my native language. Or would I?

I have to admit that I have said maybe five German sentences to Ben in the past month. I don't know why, but I can't get myself to speak German to him! Is it because the language is atrocious? Or is it because my life here is lived in English? Maybe it's because I am lazy (that's probably it).

I really think it would benefit him to grow up knowing two languages, and until I can force him to go to Korean school in three or four years, German is the only thing I can teach him.

So, as of this afternoon, I vow to only speak German with my child. Good luck to me!


  1. wow. i can't wait to hear how it goes!

  2. I am always jealous of anyone who can speak more than one language. I took Spanish for a couple years and can read it but I still have difficulty having a conversation. I think it is awesome that Ben will be trilingual!

  3. What a wonderful gift you will be giving to Ben! My husband's mother was an immigrant from Germany, and she spoke only German to him at home. He picked up the language easily. He has since lost most of it, but I have a feeling that if he were to ever actually try to speak it again, he would get it back quickly. His family was tickled that I took German for several years in high school and college.

  4. Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

  5. Sandra, my dad taught me only one phrase in German, but it is probably not one I can repeat on your blog! All I know is that when he said it, I knew I was in trouble!! I say, teach him what you can because it will be one more way in which you will share in each other's heritage - you in his Korean history and him in yours. That's what a family is all about! That's why I love my ravioli as well as my sauerbraten! Sharing your heritage is always a gift, no matter what it sounds like!

  6. Should have also added - your home town is beautiful! I can see why you have such fond, vivid memories of being there.

  7. I think that's a GREAT idea! Babies and kids are sponges when it comes to learning languages. Good luck!

  8. i think it's a wonderful idea!