Hanging Onto My Broken Mother Tongue

It may be weird, but I don’t even know Chinese words for “please” or “good-bye” .  Yet I dutifully check off Chinese, as my mother tongue on Canada’s census form.  Am I delusional about my own Chinese fluency? Does that mean I come from a rude, brusque family?

Sparring boys figures --part of a children's festival. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by J. Chong
Sparring boys figures –part of a children’s festival. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by J. Becker

Meh.  Maybe.  Each family has their own patois of linguistic shortcuts, sprinkled with facial and body language signals.

Keeping Family Together: Butchered Mother Language

Language fluency reduced to cuisine and every day living. Toronto 2014. Photo by J.Chong
Language fluency reduced to cuisine and every day living. Toronto 2014. Photo by J.Chong

I speak a near-kitchen Chinese.  My speaking fluency has almost been reduced to words and phrases about food  –with some butchered Chinese basic phrases for everyday living:  shopping, sleeping, going to the washroom,  etc.  My siblings and I must speak our crazy lingo with our mother and some relatives.  It was less of an issue with my father when he was alive, since he was fully bilingual in Chinese and English.

Equal, Competent Multilingualism Only for the Gifted?
I’ve always wondered other people who claim to be  multilingual. In Canada, it’s possible to be equally fluent speaking, reading and writing in 3 languages:  kudos to some Canadians in Quebec, who immigrated to Canada and not only are fluent in their mother tongue, but learned French to function well, plus know English on the side, if they want to be more competitive job-wise  across Canada.

Forays in French
For me, I only know a smattering of French. It’s from several years of mandatory, weekly 1 hr. lessons in Canadian  schools, then 1 university course I had to repeat twice in 2 years.  After such repetition, some French words did stick to help me read  some signs, tickets and menus when I travelled in Quebec and France.  Heck, several years ago, I even miraculously passed the basic French reading exam when I applied for a federal Canadian government job.

French-only sign for a lovely bed 'n breakfast inn where we stayed by Velo Quebec bike route east of Montreal. Saint-Raymond de Port Neuf, Quebec 2012. Photo by J. Becker.
French-only sign for a lovely bed ‘n breakfast inn where we stayed by Velo Quebec bike route, northwest of Quebec City. Village of Saint-Raymond de Port Neuf, Quebec 2012. Photo by J. Becker.
French cathedral Renassiance era-clock. shows both time and days of the week. Strasbourg, France 2010. Photo by J. Chong
French cathedral Renaissance -era clock, shows both time and days of the week. Strasbourg, France 2010. Photo by J. Chong

In contrast, while I was vacationing in Czech Republic and Greece, I felt truly lost. I couldn’t even figure out the language script.  My 3 years of high school  Latin were useless.

Third, Fourth Language Competencies: Like Distant Cousins
Most bilingual people I know, are  equally fluent in speaking, reading and writing in 2 languages.  But for them, tacking on a 3rd, especially 4th language or more, may mean uneven competencies in reading vs. participating deeply in lengthy conversations.  Some gifted people can absorb multiple languages and have fantastic memory.   I’ve just known a lot of people who have relinquished mastering the 3rd language at the same level as their other 2 languages.  They just lacked time, opportunity or motivation to use the 3rd language frequently.

Bilingual signs in Inuktitut, language that covers all Inuit dialects in Canada's far Arctic. Iqualuit, Nunavut, Canada. Photo by J.Chong. In this small capital city of Nunavut, there were also trilingual signs with French. Inuktitut is the official language for government and education in addition to English in Nunavut.
Bilingual signs in Inuktitut, language that covers all Inuit dialects in Canada’s far Arctic. Iqualuit, Nunavut, Canada 2003. Photo by J.Chong. In this small capital city of Nunavut, there were also trilingual signs with French. Inuktitut is the official language for government and education in addition to English in Nunavut.

Linguisitic Competence:  Help Me Please
Unfortunately I do not meet true hallmarks of linguistic competence for Chinese and French. To me, speaking fluency means to clearly ask questions and understand without grossly misinterpreting for safety of others and yourself:

  • converse and help someone in medical emergency, medical/health distress
  • determine and help someone who needs first line legal assistance.  Simple legal problems –tenant problem, driving ticket, identity fraud.
  • go to bank, vendor to resolve a financial transaction problem, purchase.

It’s having fluency to ask the right questions to determine a problem, understand another person’s responses  and make useful referral to experts.  Ok, maybe I might understand the gist  — 5 words out of 20 words.

Changwon, South Korea. Photo by J. Becker
Changwon, South Korea. Photo by J. Becker

Childhood Years: Living on Margins of English  Language Mainstream
It wasn’t always like this. I didn’t learn English until kindergarten. Even though I was born and raised in southern Ontario, my life was very sheltered.  I had no clue I didn’t know any English until that fateful first day of school.  Until grade 3, I lived on the margins of school life because I had to take additional English as a Second Language lessons .  For my teachers, it meant special attention to phonetics, enunciation and literally taken out of class for half an hr. for extra tutoring.

I also read lots of library books which did accelerate my English learning. Now,  I’ve moved so far from dreaming only in Chinese as a kid, to  dreaming primarily in English.  That’s another test of language comfort:  what language do you dream in, word sounds do you mutter in your sleep?

My name stamp.
My name stamp.

When Jack and I play Chinese-German word games, I’m reminded how much my Chinese language has rotted away.  We choose simple English  words. He inevitably knows a lot more German word translations while I do not know the Chinese equivalents.

My Face Does Not Reflect My Real Linguistic Competencies
Still, I hang onto my shattered Chinese, like a broken mirror that only holds chunks of glass patterns.  I can’t throw away that broken mirror. That mirror seems to hang on a string around my neck forever. I just have to remember to use it carefully, no matter jagged my fractured sentences may be.  That mirror reflects possibly, a puzzling Canadian identity to others.  But there are many people like myself:  my face does not match at all the languages that I can or cannot speak.

When I do utter certain Chinese phrases, however broken, they just pop out of me naturally with no thought.  I cannot read nor write Chinese.  So I do not envision Chinese words in my head.  So speaking a language is like primal oral sound  from the brain.  Like a sunbeam suddenly flickering across the broken glass pieces in one sudden pattern.

Icing sugar German endearments adorn heart cookies. Far right yellow cookie loosely translates: My little mouse you are fabulous. Karlsruhle, Germany 2010. Photo by J. Chong
Icing sugar German endearments adorn giant heart cookies. Far right yellow cookie loosely translates: “My little mouse, you are fabulous.” Karlsruhle, Germany 2010. Photo by J. Chong
Advertisements

45 Comments Add yours

  1. Love this post Jean. My first language was German, but my dominant language is now English. I can converse quite comfortably in German still, but I know I think English and then translate it in my head. I used to be quite fluent in French too as I grew up in Quebec. I can still read/comprehend it ok, but speaking it is pretty touch and go! Do you have any Chinese-speaking friends? My best friend speaks German and we often practice together. ❤
    Diana xo

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      I think you have more German speaking fluency than my Chinese speaking fluency, Diana. I don’t speak Chinese (Toishanese, which is a peasant dialect of Cantonese) with any of my good Chinese-Canadian friends who do speak the same dialect as I do. They and myself would be embarrassed and frustrated with each other at the pace of our dialogue!

      It seems if you lived in a francophone environment for a few years, your French will probably come back even more. I believe Jack does think certain words automatically in German and less used words first in English.

      He will have speak a lot of German, which he doesn’t mind when his German cousin and hubby come over to B.C. this summer.

      There are certain words and phrases that just come automatically to me in Chinese without me thinking in English. But not a lot of words these days, compared to when I was a child before I picked up English in kindergarten.

      Like

      1. They say we remember things differently before we learn to read and write. In other words, as adults, our memories are clearer about anything we did after we learned to read and write. That’s why you speaking Chinese fluently and me speaking German fluently are forgotten unless we continue on after learning to read and write.

        They also say that language actually made us (human beings) forget things we knew instinctively like which plants heal us, sense of direction, sense of a coming storm, being born with universal memories, etc.

        And yet, sometimes we may smell something, and it makes us happy or sad or frightened, yet we have no idea why…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jean says:

          They also say that language actually made us (human beings) forget things we knew instinctively like which plants heal us, sense of direction, sense of a coming storm, being born with universal memories, etc.

          And yet, sometimes we may smell something, and it makes us happy or sad or frightened, yet we have no idea why…

          I love this thought Diana..in a strange way. 🙂 I believe the Japanese said a long time ago or it’s in Zen thought, that language corrupts the purity of a feeling’s essence. That language can never accurately express our “senses”.

          That said, then we are left with the language, the words that we inherit and cultural overlays for that word’s meaning. While the Internet may have pseudo-elevated the dominance of the English language, it will limit for humanity, the range of linguistic-cultural expressions for the concept of “love”, “magnificence or “awe”.

          Like

          1. Interesting! It seems when you gain one thing, you lose another along the way. Love this conversation we’ve had Jean! ❤

            Like

  2. Absolutely relate to your post and thoughts. Love the title too. Languages are so much more than words, you’re right. In a funny way I am also reflecting about this as I am offering a French idiomatic expression, its literal translation and correct equivalent or meaning in American English. It’s quite fascinating to move from one language to another and in your case even more. And of course you are absolutely right about the fact that a face doesn’t always match a language, unlike most people assume. Great post!

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      In a funny way I am also reflecting about this as I am offering a French idiomatic expression, its literal translation and correct equivalent or meaning in American English.

      Perhaps you can give an example for a French word or expression, Evelyne. Some of my regular blog readers don’t know any French. When did you learn English? I’m sure you could spin a poem that would combine all this with word puns.

      Do you feel you convey a slightly different personality when you speak English vs. French?

      Like

      1. I am different I think whether I speak English or French. I learned English mostly in the US, even though I took classes in school. I wasn’t fluent until I spent years in the US. A poem would be a neat idea. In May when I’m finished with my idiomatic French expressions I could do that. Thanks for the idea and again congrats to a great post.

        Like

        1. Jean says:

          Send me the link when you release the poem, Evelyn I am certain because of my poor Chinese, I am unintentionally too blunt and direct in self-expression. Limited vocabulary means less flexibility for expressing subtleties.

          Like

  3. How fitting that the bulk of your Chinese words revolve around food. Maybe you’re developing your own patois, a special Jean language.

    My daughter learns languages easily, but claims she loses it quickly. Her French impresses natives, or so they claim (maybe it’s just flattery — oh to be twenty-three) speaks a tolerable Spanish, has picked up a little Portuguese, and enough Bambara to get around in Mali, and now has learned enough Bislama, a creole dialect, to get around in Vanuatu. She refuses to allow me to say she’s fluent in anything. Whatever she is, I’m a little jealous. Eight years of Russian left me with about a thirty word vocabulary and terrible sentence construction.

    Funny comments about about how you look versus what you speak.

    You sound like a practical and hard-working person. If you needed to, you’d probably brush right up on that Mandarin in no time.

    Cheers.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Most adult Chinese-Canadians who I know like myself, who tried to learn Mandarin as adults and also write Chinese, found it a difficult struggle. It’s probably because the dialect is different from Cantonese and the script is not romanized/like English.

      Sounds like daughter is sensitive to native speakers and hence, rightly wouldn’t want to claim deep speaking nor comprehension fluency. Since she is American and unilingual, it’s wiser to be reticent/modest about language fluency unless one has spent years speaking, writing and studying it.

      If she has a natural ear and love for foreign languages, she will land on the 2nd language eventually and learn it more deeply.

      Doubtful that Russian was an easy language to learn, JBW.

      Like

  4. My mother has been living in Germany for over fourty years now as she came to work in a certain company here. Back then Germany lacked labour force to they hired from abroad. Through this the Finnish community grew a bit here in this town and these days when the ladies are speaking finnish with each other it is truly a butchered version of that language. It is half german half Finnish ..

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Must a strange patois to hear the half German-half Finnish conversations. Probably just as strange as half-Finnish half-English. 🙂 As you might have noticed, I made some minor (not all) corrections on your comment. You must have been in a rush or had a busy day.

      Let us get this straight: so you know Finnish and German equally well? How much Mandarin do you know, if much?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the corrections. The auto correction can be a mess on Apple products . I know german very well and Finnish well enough that I can talk without troubled but writing it is terrible.
        I know some Mandarin, around 600-700 characters I can recognize And conversions I can understand however my pronounciations are really bad

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Frances says:

    Very interesting observations in this thought-provoking post. While I realize we get “rusty” when we don’t practice s language I was surprised uthat your first language was so fully replaced by English. If you were in a situation where you only spoke your native language for an extended time, I wonder if it return more fully. Do you find you can only express certain words or associations in Chinese–that there isn’t an adequate English equivalent–even though you don’t speak Chinese fluently?

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Hi Frances! I would have to live in a place (China) where I was forced to use my dialect daily but it would be like learning the language all over again with proper grammar and much greater vocabulary expansion. Just speaking with people here in North America, we just easily cheat by sticking in English words here and there. The listener understands why and tries to understand Chinese bastardized sentences. After all, the listener with whom I’ve had to speak Chinese, often does not have a good deep command of English. Otherwise, person and I would be both speaking in English.

      Yup, there are Chinese words / associations which there isn’t an equally good English equivalent. For instance, there is a Chinese word for something that’s smelly..more wet-based but not always mouldy. Same adjective can be used to describe bad breath or a towel/rag that has been used too long but not cleaned in detergent to “sterilize” it. Maybe the closest is “stinky”, but I don’t think that English word is the best choice. Can you think of the proper English adjective?

      When we get mouth sores inside our mouth from eating too much of certain foods, there is a term for the condition based on Chinese (traditional) medicine that I’ve known since I was a kid. But I don’t know the English equivalent. So when we got the condition, my mother would make a Chinese herbal soup that she would have us sip. The mouth sores would disappear. Soup was made from goji berries, ginseng, some sort of root (that I would have to check for name), some rice grains, etc. It had a slightly bitter taste.

      Like

  6. Girl Gone Expat says:

    A very interesting post Jean. For somer reason I had not imagined that one could forget about ones mother tongue as you are describing, so it was an interesting read for me.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      So all the concerns about immigrants refusing to learn English in North America may be true for some resistant adults, but not for their children and subsequent generations.

      Assimilation especially for young moldable minds of children, teens and for those willing to learn, can very easily knock down mother language along the ladder of memory or nearly wipe it out. Unless they are often in social situations several times per wk. not per month, where they must use their mother tongue which helps them retain the language.

      Like

      1. Girl Gone Expat says:

        Absolutely, kids pick up new languages so fast! We socialise with some Norwegian expat families in the city and their kids are all speaking english. Some if them don’t like/or prefer not to speak Norwegian. Their parents speak Norwegian at home, but in pre school and all social events English is the language and that is what they use, even at home:) They understand Norwegian, but reply in English. But they all arrived Canada very young, or were born here.

        Like

        1. Jean says:

          Any family uses whatever language or blend of 2 languages, to get their message understood expediently and least amount of fuss. I’m sure those children will regret later that they didn’t retain enough Norwegian. Retention happens best when a parent or both parents speaks the language often in daily life. Mine comes from my mother who understands only primarily Chinese and also from us, listening to our parents discuss stuff for hours in Chinese. Quite normal in a marriage. 🙂 It doesn’t mean we understood everything, but at least one can detect certain meaning or figure out pieces of the conversation. You also learn to live comfortably in a twilight zone where you don’t have to understand every single word that’s said if subject matter has nothing to do with you.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Isaac Yuen says:

    “My Face Does Not Reflect My Real Linguistic Competencies”

    YUP. My Cantonese has not progressed beyond a second grade level (which was when I moved to Canada). I recall the switch in thinking from Chinese to English after a few years. It just seemed very natural. I definitely do not consider myself Chinese-competent in any sense now. Makes things awkward during family reunions…

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      It is interesting when some of us don’t want to say we are at all competent in speaking a particular 2nd language, but then there are others who claim 3-5 languages. Honest, for some people it sounds like inflated sense of competency, to me. Knowing only 20 words in language or 50, doesn’t constitute much linguistic competence. It’s more survival..or showing off when using nearly baby-level language.

      Like

      1. Isaac Yuen says:

        I think your measures are quite grounded. To be competent, you kind of have to be you know, competment, be functional in regular society. That’s surprisingly difficult.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jean says:

          Some of us have learned the hard, even painful way with close family members. Some of my siblings work in health care. They learned very quickly that they could not interpret patient’s problems or symptoms even expressed in the simplest of Chinese nor give simple advice how to take certain medication. One has to be absolutely “accurate” in those circumstances. Hence, it is nearly dangerous to claim language fluency in those work situations.

          My mother who only understands primarily Chinese, determines what we are saying through many years of paraphrasing and figuring each of our own Chinese speech broken idiosyncrasies. She knows how to slow down and oversimplify her speech for us. Still, there can be problems…

          Like

          1. Isaac Yuen says:

            I don’t know if it’s just me either, but I find that a lot of the tone and significance of the language flies over my head. Even when family members are discussing very serious matters, I can’t seem to take things seriously because I don’t know the weight of words and phrases. It doesn’t help that Cantonese is, in my opinion, a very coarse language with no lyrical subtleties whatsoever. I sometimes laugh at the most inappropriate times… It’s an issue haha.

            Like

            1. Jean says:

              I don’t know enough Cantonese to comment on what it lacks or what it has. I just get the powerful impression there is a earthiness but it’s in my dialect (Toishanese) which is peasant variant of Cantonese. Here’s a book that explores the food language through Chinese written language, “Swallowing Clouds” by A. Zee which gives some stories on word origins which may point to more poetic or colourful expressions. I think I have the book somewhere lost in my collection. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/815836.Swallowing_Clouds

              Like

  8. Mabel Kwong says:

    Like you, Jean, I’m hanging onto my parent’s language. They speak Cantonese as a first language, Mandarin a close second, and they are fluent in writing the languages as well. Both my parents made it a point to speak to me in English, saying that if I were to get anywhere in the world, I’d have to speak English.

    I took Chinese reading and writing classes as a kid as part of school for two years, and only remember a handful of basic words (dog, cat, hellos, numbers one to ten). As for Cantonese, I still know enough to order food and ask for directions, and understand the news. My parents do say my way of speaking it sounds a bit off at times.

    I think a lot of the time language slips away from us because we don’t use it enough, or we don’t find a need to use it. Or maybe we don’t see the point of using the language. I would love to brush up on my Cantonese and Chinese, but then again, time is an issue. So is excuses, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Both of my parents never knew Mandarin: they immigrated to Canada in 1950’s just shortly after Mao came into power and imposed Mandarin learning requirement in schools. They were adults by then..

      My father was bilingual: he taught himself English while we were little children. Unbelievable given the reality he was the breadwinner for a large young family. Hence, he spoke primarily English with his children with some Chinese. My mother is the parent with whom we must speak Chinese because that’s what she primarily understands.

      You seem to know more Chinese than I do since I cannot understand the Cantonese newscasts at all.
      One day I’m sure you will make the time to learn Cantonese / Mandarin.

      Like

      1. Mabel Kwong says:

        Your father is amazing, learning language in between a full time job and looking after the family in his younger days. And I suppose back in those days he didn’t learn using computers but by hand and book and those around him. These days if you’d ask any young person to learn a language, they’d probably look up a language learning website straight away.

        Sometimes I do get lost in the middle of a Cantonese news bulletin, usually when the news is talking about a politician or politics. That I usually find it hard to follow along.

        Like

        1. Jean says:

          The web is a helpful, supplemental tool for language-learning. ESL classes for working adults were not available in the city where we lived at that time (1960’s) or if they were, not for times convenient for my father who worked in evenings. We remember big huge tape cassettes where he recorded his own verbal reading practices and word pronunciations. This was the time of tape players that were the size of small suitcase. Probably there was a language learning tape or 2 he bought.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Sue Slaght says:

    Jean I would love to be fluent in a language or languages other than English. However it seems that I have accumulated only smatterings of many. I took French in school but as you know and describe if it is not used only tidbits remain. Having learned it in the 70s I can ask where the disco is. Very helpful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. livelytwist says:

    “my face does not match at all the languages that I can or cannot speak.”

    I guess I would expect you to speak Chinese, but migration has changed the face of the world, nothing should surprise me. Yes, hang on to the broken bits of Chinese.

    I’ve been on a staple diet of English for much of my life and don’t particularly enjoy learning languages. I learnt Dutch much later in life and till this day, have never dreamt in Dutch. I notice my fluency in Dutch taking a nosedive as I find myself immersed in English 24/7. Growing up in my native Nigeria, it was very common to be bilingual- a local language + English, our official language.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Me too, I don’t really enjoy learning languages either. I just like wordsmithing deeply in a language and understanding its word roots and derivations. So English is the only language I can do this properly in an uninhibited way.
      I did take three years of high school Latin which did help a tiny bit when I studied the older works in English literature at university. Latin confirms / provides the base logic for conjugating verbs for the Romance languages, pluralization and spelling according to male or female nouns.

      If you live/have lived in the Netherlands for a while, then you probably know sufficient Dutch to function on a daily basis. It sounds where you have worked in the Netherlands, you used more English.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. livelytwist says:

        Understanding word roots and derivations is very interesting. Sometimes to understand a difficult text in the Bible or just to shed more light, I would dig into the original Greek. Always enlightening. I can only imagine the pleasure you get wordsmihing.

        In my daily life at work and home, yes, I use more English.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. HapaMama says:

    I can relate to this very much, Jean. I sometimes don’t realize that it may seem strange to people that I am not fluent in Chinese until someone else seems surprised that I do not speak Chinese well.

    Hang on to the bits that you know. I’m sure you understand much more than you realize.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Our bits of Chinese language, do come in handy at times. At the very least, it can give a “cultural” feel of a social situation. Maybe that’s why some of us hang onto our crummy language fluency. Once that “passport” is relinquished, we’ve lost some cultural intuition as a social guide or base.

      Like

  12. “Still, I hang onto my shattered Chinese, like a broken mirror that only holds chunks of glass patterns” You have some beautiful lines in this post, Jean. It’s okay to be a walking mosaic of culture and language. It’s funny how we come to regret not knowing more of our mother tongue as we age, when we were so busy trying to undo it and assimilate in our youth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Sure, many commenters here on this thread, are walking mosaics of their parental culture and language. There is a point in life (hopefully) we can see the mosaic is a great thing within ourselves. Do you know any Korean, Diana?

      Like

      1. Yep. Am still fluent in K. I realized I was pulled out for ESL too in first grade and learned Eng closer to when I was eight.

        Like

        1. Jean says:

          Eight years old seems abit older than normal first graders– 7 yrs. old? But no doubt, you caught up and went beyond.

          Like

          1. I started at 7 and picked up Eng more toward the latter half.

            Like

  13. Rita H. Azar says:

    Wow Jean! This post talks to me in so many ways. When someone ask me what’s my cultural background, I always say French Canadian. But, there’s always a curious look on their face. With my dark hair, olive skin and brown eyes, I look nothing like a French Canadian. So, I always have to add that my parents are Lebanese. Although I cherish my Lebanese background, I was born in Canada and received a French education. My first language is French (read and write), I can speak fluently Arabic but can’t write. So, of course I feel more Canadian than Lebanese.
    I love what you said about dreaming. I’m not sure in which language I dream but I do think now more often in English than in French…

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Though your child will probably learn and know primarily English, do you think there’s a chance baby might pick one of your languages somehow? My nieces and nephews can only speak and understand primarily English because their Chinese parent (my siblings) can no longer speak Chinese well at all. They communicate with their children only in English. Hence, it’s important they at least know their Chinese-speaking grandparents for several years when they’re growing up –to feel more naturally connected to their roots. At least, they will have a personal direct connection and some comfort level with non-English speaking close relatives.

      Given past French colonization in some African countries, I don’t see why we should be sticking to stereotype of the paler looking francophone. 🙂

      Rita, what things will you naturally want to pass on to your child in Lebanese culture/Arabic language? Well, other than food dishes. Do you come from a childhood with Lebanese children’s stories and Arabic children’s songs/music? I don’t. My parents didn’t bother with telling any of us legends and folk tales. Either they didn’t know much or culturally it wasn’t part of child raising at the time for them in Canada. I think they were just simply too tired from dealing with 6 children. 🙂

      Like

  14. Rita H. Azar says:

    I would love to teach French to our daughter. Husband and I have agreed on me talking to her only in French and him in English.
    Yes, my parents raised me by telling me many stories especially coming from the One Thousand and One Nights. I would like to pass that to her too.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      It would be a challenge to have each parent speak exclusively in different languages to a child. At least the child knows you both communicate to each other in English –that’s important too how people discuss, debate and compromise in 1 language.

      Best of luck. And those fairy tales would be exciting to tell baby/child. I actually didn’t learn of any fairy tales until I had to learn to read in English. So it was Grimm’s Fairy Tales and 1-2 from 1001 nights which were probably adjusted in anglicized way. Hope you are collecting lots of cool books, puppets over time.

      Like

Chime in with your thoughts here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s