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  #41  
Old 08.06.2011, 13:20
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Re: I speak english to my kids, they respond in german

Hope my children will switch to my language one day. İm polish, still living in England with Turkish husband and 2 kids 8 and 6 years old. Both of them born in England, going to english school. before they started english school they spoke very nicly polish and turkish. now they switched to english completely. They always play in english, talk in english answers me in english, puttin in middle of sentence sometimes polish word most used at home. İ always talk to them in polish, but now it starting to become funny cos my
older child starts to translate for her brother polish to english wich makes me crazy. i want them to speak in polish but this getting really difficult. in agust we are moving to Switzerland and will come 4 th language french qnd probably İ will not have any more polish speaking friends around so will be really difificult to keep them speak polish.
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  #42  
Old 08.06.2011, 13:30
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Re: I speak english to my kids, they respond in german

Jumping on this thread a bit late, but had the same experience only insert 'french' for swiss german.

I spoke exclusively english to my daughter since birth and she always responded in French, for at least 3 years. What really helped was that we took a vacation to my homeland when she was 3 years old, where grandma only speaks english, and being immersed in english-only for 3 weeks really snapped her out of it. Going there I was really scared that she wouldn't communicate with anyone, but after 1-2 weeks, she was always responding in english, and came home to CH still speaking it. I would suggest immersing your children in English for a short period, even without your presence if necessary, ie. trip to english-speaking country, enroll in english play group, summer camp, social events (scouting, football, etc.). Once they gain confidence and are forced to use it, it will be there, I am quite sure.
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  #43  
Old 18.06.2011, 10:31
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Re: I speak english to my kids, they respond in german

Hi,
I've observed this frustration that can build with parents wanting to raise their child bilingual when I was an au-pair. I was once confronted with the problem of choosing a language being the caretaker of a little 2 to 3 year old boy. He was more comfortable with french, the language he talked mostly in with his french mother and the kids in his neighbourhood, being raised in canton of Neuchatel. Nevertheless, he was understanding German dialect quite well, being exposed to it on short holidays with his Oma and Opa - Germans - who lived nearby in Baselland. He could easily switch the language. So, even though the boys parents would have appreciated it me speaking SG to him, we agreed on me talking in french with him. His father then had to take care of the exclusive moments he and his son would actually speak SG in Baslerdütsch. But with the predilection of french in the very environment he struggled just as you, to receive replies in dialect as was intended. I think you are realistic letting them have their say in what language they prefer to reply. It would be a wonderful thing if their grand parents could be involved a bit more and have their grandchildren stay with them on a trip to Canada.
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  #44  
Old 18.06.2011, 22:03
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Re: I speak english to my kids, they respond in german

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I searched this subject but didn't come up with anything. Sorry if I have missed anything.
I was wondering if anyone else has the same "problem". I have been living in Switzerland a number of years and have become pretty much fluent in swiss-german. I am married to a Swiss guy and at home he speaks swiss-german to the kids (8, 6, 4 and 1) and I speak english. I only switch to swiss-german when they have friends over to avoid repeating myself.
The problem is, since they've been born they have always responded in german. This occasionally, depending on my mood, drives me crazy. I am constantly saying "how do you say that in english? Speak to me in english!" which is annoying to me and to them!

Sometimes they, especially the eldest one, will make an effort at one or two sentences (after being reminded), and they can hardly put two words together that make any sense.

I am beginning to wonder if they, after all these years, have ever understood anything I have said to them!!!

I read to them mostly in english and if they watch tv I try to get them to watch english programs or the english version of movies.

Does anyone have any advice besides sending them to english school?
I am drowning in a sea of swiss-german....
You can send them to a Chinese school, their enviroment still will be HERE .

I remember a woman we knew who had fled from Stettin to West Germany and landed up in Krefeld north of Düsseldorf, and was most embarassed that her two sons spoke Platt.

I remember a visit to Diana T. whom was the girl of neighbours when we both were 5 to 7 years old, but who had moved to Beaconsfield at age 24. We chatted about old times and happily mixed two languages into one. Her 10 years old son at one time remarked "Mum, do you realize that you two speak the strangest of Pidgin language possible ? "

The father of a colleague of Italian origin moved his whole family to Lugano when his son got out of school so that the son attended commercial school in Lugano and so learnt some "real" Italian, but the "daily language" and language of thinking of Aurelio remained German, and so, he returned soon after the Luganese "Leerabschlussprüfung" back to the Zürich area

An aunt of me, the stepsister of my grandmother, in 1905 moved over to Texas. She learnt English by comparing the Zwingli-Bible with the Shakespeare-Bible, but with he two grandson strictly spoke Swiss-German while they replied in Texan-English. She in 1955 gave an extensive visit back to Switzerland, and then after having shown the attitude of "Mission Accomplished" died away a year later. Her son (the grandsons mentioned were the sons of her daughter), born 1902, emigrated 1905, then gave a visit to CH in July 1958. He then still spoke Swiss German and a "get/got" dominated TX English, but lost his Swiss German due to a stroke in the late 60ies. He however suddenly out of nothing reconquered his command of Swiss German on the day when my parents and me gave our farewell in 1988.

An uncle of me who I met in 1988 when he just was 98 years old in his young days had spoken both French and Swiss German but had almost forgotten his Swiss German, still spoke remarkably well Arabic and English.

Back to the start. What you experience is what countless immigrants experience. I see Tamil women saying something to their offspring in Tamil and get the reply in immaculate Züritüütsch.

So that this is normal. And no reason to panic
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  #45  
Old 18.06.2011, 22:09
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Re: I speak english to my kids, they respond in german

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Years ago, my younger step-son always answered in SG (he lived with his father).

So, once we went on a two week vacation, with his maternal grandmother and aunt, who did not speak anything other than English and Quebecois. Anyway, he wanted to watch TV, so we said that he'd have to ask his grandmother, and so finally he relented and did, and the rest is history!

Anyway, stick at it. Ignore them when they respond in SG. Make it clear that it's great that they speak SG, but just not with you!

My kids are the opposite, they don't like it if I speak Italian to them. Even when they have friends over, they always speak English to each other, then translate for their friends!

Of course, I always speak Italian to my daughter's boyfriend, even though when we send email or sms messages it's in English! But I also work with people that we speak one language, and email another (ex-girlfriends as well).

Tom
Well, English in Switzerland (German+Italian speaking CH I mean) is a "language of prestige", and so, when your children realized this, the result was clear ! In German speaking CH, languages of the Med are of "inferior prestige", which is a different thing
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  #46  
Old 18.06.2011, 22:15
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Re: I speak english to my kids, they respond in german

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Depends where 'here' is.

My kids speak English to their SG speaking brothers, as their brothers don't speak Italian, and they only learned German, and not SG, at school, and don't see the point of speaking German to them!

An ex-girlfriend described my German as high-German with a Swiss-American accent (which freaks out most Germans, who immediately start speaking English when faced with such an alternative!)

Tom
Compliments to your nephews
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Old 18.06.2011, 22:21
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Re: I speak english to my kids, they respond in german

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My mum only ever accepted English from me, same with my dad and French. As a consequence, my spoken English has no Swiss German accent in it, my French has a slight English twang to the native speaker but then my parents are divorced and I hardly spent time with my dad.

So my mum got remarried and had more kids and despite both parents of my half-siblings being native English speakers, my brother and sister have a strong Swiss German accent and a much smaller vocabulary, most likely because they were never forced to speak English unless the other person didn't actually speak German. I think it's a shame, of course it's ANOTHER battle for the parents but it's definitely worthwhile. I secretly love those moments when English speakers ask me where I'm from and are surprised when I say Switzerland.
I always loved it in the USA when I was asked what state I was coming from
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