Sunday 13 June 2010

Why English?

I think we have mentioned before that BK1 & BK2 often use English when they're playing. Now that BK2 is starting to really speak this has only increased. The Babelwife and I try to stop them, but frankly, it's a losing battle.

The funny thing is that they switch back to Arabic, German or French as soon as they want to tell the other something important or non play-related.

So why do they use English when they play?

My guess is that BK1 spends most of her time with children who speak English and she obviously plays with them a lot. She does not play with me or BW as much. So in a play situation, the language is likely to be English. That means that whatever she says in that situation will be easily available in her head in English but not necessarily in another language.

BK1 and now BK2 basically have a huge repertoire of play-related phrases in their heads, all English.

BW has another theory which she will hopefully publish here soon. Watch this space!


  1. As we live in the US and have no close Francophone friends nearby, almost all of Griffin's interactions with kids are in English. We do attend a French playgroup once a week, though, which means that he has started to differentiate between them: he says "playgroup in English" and "playgroup francais"!

  2. Please put me out of my misery, and publish the other theory :)

    I still find this quite interesting, and it is so very different from my own kids. English is their default, period. What happens is that our eldest will speak to me in German, regardless of what it's about, and then turn around to her little brother and speak to him in English, even if it is part of the same conversation. It is very rare that she continues to speak to him in German, even though she is clearly capable of it.

    So yes, I'm definitely interested in more!


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