Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Home rules

We speak the Old Country language at home. We speak it everywhere, actually, as long as nobody else is inconvenienced by it. Monkey's English is getting better by the day, and we now have to talk about how each language has its proper sentence structure and idioms, and that to really speak a language it isn't enough to use the words, you have to have those other things right too. We have to talk about that mostly to squelch the word-for-word translated English expressions from sneaking into conversation, mind you. However, unlike many other kids we know, Monkey isn't putting up much of a fight about speaking the Old Country language, at least not for now. I am frequently happy about that, for a variety of reasons.

Today it was because when we got out of the car and Monkey said very loudly "Hey, that man over there is smoking. He is going to die soon," she did it in the Old Country language.

In the interest of disclosing just how fully I have been assimilated by the Borg blogs, I will admit to my first thought being something along the lines of "Baby Blue would be proud." My second thought was that, thankfully, her brother's death doesn't seem to have screwed Monkey up completely, seeing as she was remarkably unperturbed by the idea of the smoking man kicking the bucket. In many ways, she is still your typical five year old. Whew.

10 comments:

kate said...

My mother spoke to me in our Old Country language, but as soon as i learned English in preschool i started using it at home. My father encouraged English & spoke it with me. The result is that my mother tongue is buried deep in my brain right now -- i can understand perfectly but it is very hard for me to speak it. I can't seem to access the words.

Beruriah said...

Good for Monkey! It would have been okay with me had she said it in English. I'm only sort of kidding.

niobe said...

It's so great (and quite possibly a tribute to your parenting) that Monkey is willing to speak the Old Country language. I know so many kids whose parents have really tried to speak another language at home, only to be thwarted by the kids who, after a certain point, pretend they can't understand it. It probably helps that Monkey has friends who speak the same language, so she doesn't feel different from the rest of the world.

Julia said...

Kate, that is a very common thing to happen around here too. I am hyper-vigilant about it, and am the mean one in the bunch-- I make kids (mine and others) speak to each other in the Old Country language in my house. Most of our friends have given up on this among friends thing, but I am still holding out. This is also why we took her to The Old City-- so that she would get that it's not a little private language we have going here. And now every time she wants to say something in English, I ask her how she would tell her friends in The Old City about this. Seems to work so far. My sister and my cousin both came as pretty young kids, and at one point insisted on speaking English. Then towards the end of high school they both realized that they are throwing away a huge thing, and took steps to get it back. They are, sadly, not where a native speaker would be, but they are doing pretty well.

B, you know the sad part? The scientist in me couldn't let her get away with that statement, so we also talked about how smoking increases the probability of certain diseases, and that there is no certainty either way. I know-- dork.

Lori said...

I think it is fabulous that you have been able to continue your native language with Monkey. What a beautiful touchstone to her heritage even if she lives her whole life in the States.

I cracked up reading your comment about how you had to clarify to her the actual dangers of smoking. You are so funny!

Snickollet said...

Wonderful that you're doing all you can to give Monkey a solid foundation in the Old Country language. Lucky, lucky girl.

Loved the smoking/disease correlation explanation. Your girl is going to be one smart cookie, she is.

Amelie said...

I'm impressed that you're "mean" and make the kids use the Old Country Language, that's probably not easy. I haven't thought much about that stage yet, when they might want to use the "outside" language rather than ours... and as I have no idea where we'll go next it is hard to imagine anyway. But I'll try to remember your insistence. My relatives who moved to the US did not speak German to their children, or gave up quickly and later regretted it.

Oh, and the smoking, I certainly could not have resisted.

ms. G said...

I think that is so great that Monkey can speak both languages comfortably. I think about this a lot because my in-laws speak another language, but I don't know if baby girl will be around it enough to really get, and I would love her to. I also love the explaination of smoking!

On another note, thank you for the info on HIPPA in your comments. I found that you can file a grievance online with my HMO, and I was planning on doing that. However, knowing there is someone who is in charge of HIPPA compliance interests me and I may want to explore that. I decided to go higher up than just the nurses in the NST room because I think it is totally ridiculous and I have yet to see it's relationship to what I am in there for, plus, I'm sure I am not the only one to have some medical history I would like to be sure is kept private.

Beruriah said...

You're too funny. So honest.

slouching mom said...

I'm dying to know what language is your Old Country language.

Just sayin'.