Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two languages are better than one

Guest blogger (my husband):

DW enjoyed the intelligent adult conversation she had at a gathering of an acquaintance of mine. I was certainly glad to see her enjoying herself, while I mainly watched the children and hung around my colleagues. I kind of wondered whether they joined me out of discomfort in the other room or if it was kindness to me...

As topics turned, we talked a little of dod's (dear oldest daughter) school arrangements. Naturally, one of my colleagues had nothing disparaging to say about homeschooling or the fact that we're trying to get our girls to be bilingual, though they seldom actually speak German. Hrm.

So here are my reasons I want my girls to be bilingual:
  • Knowing two languages makes life more fun.
    • Daughter's friend: "What did they say in this non-subtitled movie?"
    • Daughter: "Oh, he just said X with a terrible accent. He's definitely NOT German."
    • Daughter's friend: "Wow, that's so cool that you speak German!"
  • It makes that pesky language requirement in school either obsolete or fillable by a third language.
    • "Ha ha! I already speak two languages, so my other class this semester is college canoeing!"
  • Cool resumé filler.
    • Languages: English, German.
  • Broadened travel horizons.
    • Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein! (plus other places where Germans would be more welcomed than US folks)
  • Easy way to throw off telemarketers.
    • dod: "Hier bei Familie X."
    • telemarketer: "Congratulations! You qualify for the platinum card!"
    • dod: "Ich hab' gar kein Interesse daran, aber möchtest Du etwas schönes von mir kaufen?"
    • telemarketer: "Does anyone there speak English?"
    • dod: "Eigentlich schon. Aber das möchte ich Dir nicht zugeben, oder?"
    • telemarketer: "Um, okay. Goodbye!"
  • Bilinguals tend to do better in school.
    • Must be all those extra linguistic neurons.
  • Sort-of-secret language from strangers and others around us.
    • [In public]: "Siehst du den Mann da? Sein Hund hat keine Nase!"
    • "Dann wie riecht er?"
    • "Furchtbar!"
  • It's so cute when little children speak foreign languages.
    • Really, it is!
  • Linguistic family bonding!
    • "In this house, we obey the rules of der neuen Rechtschreibung!"
  • People who speak with accents are just generally more attractive.
    • This one needs no explanation!

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