Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Bilingual babes

There is a lot of talk in the papers about  being bilingual. I even read about the possibility of personality being different depending on the language you are speaking in. When my eldest son was born, my Italian was too poor to speak to a baby all day long, so he had to listen to my nursery rhymes and lullabyes in English. When he was 1 until he was 2 we lived in Belgrade and so he could happily communicate in Serbo-Croat and English. On our return to Italy Nonna was horrified that he couldn't speak Italian and quickly set to change that by happily chatting to him constantly. Within 6 months he was perfectly at ease in both languages, but forgot his Serbo Croat. Our daughter was such a sweet, gentle baby we thought she might find it too much to cope with 2 languages, but by 1 year she was saying acqua or water as the case may be. By the time our youngest son was born we really didn't give it any thought at all, it was all just natural.
My main challenge was to make them feel Italian, that they belonged here and it was their home, in spite of having a Mum with a weird accent who made strange things to eat.
I think I succeeded rather well because whenever there are international football matches they have to walk out of the room if Italy is doing badly but just make me a cup of camomile tea when England plays.

No comments:

Post a Comment