Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Report on Linguistic Effects of our Algerian Adventures

As expected, our month-long stay in Algeria has had beneficial effects on the children's fluency in Arabic and French.

BK3 is the perfect illustration of how easy it is to be monolingual. We've been immersed in this multilingual thing for so long, it has almost become second nature. How  lovely it was to hear BK3 repeat all words in Arabic and use them. How easy it was not to wonder what language she is using. And how liberating to drop my attention to giving a fair exposure to the minority language.
BK3's vocabulary, mostly in Arabic and partly in French, just exploded during our stay. She also began to string words together to say things like: "Arwahi lahna" (come here) .

BK2 has started making complete sentences in French, thanks to Nickelodeon Jnr. Who said TV was bad? She now says things like: "Je suis trop occupée maintenant, je ne peux pas manger", (I am too busy now, I cannot eat), or "Je ne veux pas passer toute la journée à peindre, peindre est très difficile" (I don't want to paint all day, painting is very hard).
Of course she makes mistakes: "Je dore maman" instead of j'adore maman. But hey, she is 4 and a half and muddles through four languages!

BK1's accent in Arabic is slightly less pronounced. She still struggles with some guttural sounds. As with the other two, her vocabulary both in Arabic and French increased. She is also more confident in her ability to make herself understood in Arabic. Arabic sentences flow more easily. Here she is in our garden a week ago, back in England.

ps: BK1 is 7.5, BK2 is 4.5 and BK3 is 22 months.