Wednesday, September 17, 2008

L is for Language

What language do you prefer? English? Is this your native tongue? What if you've learned a second language, do you like it more? And what about the third?

When I was twenty, I moved from small-town Ontario to Germany. I couldn't speak German very well, but in time I got better and now I am fluent. I love the language. It is much more poetic than English and that is perhaps why some of the world's greatest writers and poets wrote in German. I think of Wolgang v. Goethe and Herman Hesse. Listen to some Schubert "Lieder" and you will know what I mean. My children's lullabys were sung in German, except for the odd song, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" or "Rock-a-bye Baby". The language has grown on me and I love it. This is how I feel and this in no way meant to be an attack on any other language.

We have finally come to an agreement / solution on how to be a true bilingual family. In Germany, we spoke German most of the time and I tried to speak English to the kids most of the time. I caught myself speaking more German than English, though. When we moved to Canada, we stopped speaking German for the most part. As daddy's English got better, the happier the children were. They adopted English as their native tongue and stopped speaking German altogether. After a year in Canada, we were speaking more and more English and were losing our German. Even dad was having problems even though he had spoken German all of his 30-some years of life. So, a few weeks ago we finally agreed to unpack our dusty German vocabulary and speak German outside of school hours. This means on weekends, too! It is more difficult for some than for others, but it feels good to know that we can do it as a family if we really stick our minds to it.

Now, the funny thing is, we have thrown a third language into the fire. Before we had come to this "German-after-school agreement", I ordered a Spanish program to home school with this year. We ordered "Learning Spanish With Grace". It the Catholic approach to learning Spanish and we love it. There are CD's and conversation booklets and neat games to play. We are just learning for fun and hope to be able to retain some of it. Since it is new for all of us, no one has any advantages and we have to rely on each other for hearing correct pronunciations. I am excited about learning this with the children.

Some families are very athletic, or love something else passionately. We love languages. I may never run a marathon (although that is a dream of mine), or watch my son win the Stanley Cup, but someday... Who knows??? I hope to go on a mission somewhere and perhaps one of my kids will join me or go on a mission of their own. God willing, of course.

Ich danke Gott für alles was Er mir geschenkt hat. Gracias. Thank you God, for all you have given me.


  1. Tina;I think it's great that you can speak other languages. I for one if I had someone here to talk to in different languages I would do the same. I would love to learn German. Well you know why it's in our blood. Having different languages make you smarter because you have to remember them. It's just like reading music they say music help people become smarter too. I'm so proud of you all for knowing different languages just keep up the great work!!One day I would love to visit and practice German like after school just to get to know it better.Your children will become great teacher too and follow what you love to do. Like my boys they love sports because I was good at it, but in the real world it really doesn’t teach them anything. What you are teaching your children is great; you open more doors for them! The kids will appreciate what power you are giving them!You GO von Hatten family and enjoy your learning in what ever you do!!LoveTante Colette :o)Do what your hearts wants to do. :o)

  2. Thanks for your comment. I wish my kids liked sports more. We signed them up for sports at the Leisure Centre and after going three times, the little one doesn't want to go anymore. He is still little, but I don't think it is in his blood. Oh well, maybe next year.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. May God bless you.

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