Saturday 18 February 2012

Not Mixing Languages - Extreme Edition

Our friends have a little boy called S who just turned 4 a week ago.

I think I have mentioned before that I sometimes address children in German whether they speak it or not, and S is no exception. In fact, I started early on and I somehow must have thought he would eventually learn it, but of course he didn't.

S is trilingual: he speaks Arabic, French and English. So we have two languages in common, right?

Well... for some reason, I just kept on speaking German with him over the years. And he, inexplicably, has decided to speak Arabic with me. Except for rare occasions where something really important has to be said and either of us will switch to French or English, we both speak a language that the other just doesn't understand. It's hilarious.

Earlier today, we walked towards our cars and he pointed to something and said:

S: (a long series of words that I cannot repeat)
Me: Ich habe keine Ahnung was Du sagst, S (I have no clue what you're saying, S)
S (slightly annoyed): WOT?

I wonder whether he speaks Arabic to me because I speak German to him.

And I wonder whether we will both eventually give in, or rather learn the others language :-)


  1. Very clever little boy, I say!

  2. Your son is really smart.. Mine will take the easy way out and answer in English even though I insist to talk to him in Mandarin or cantonese.

  3. He's not my son, Dominique. If he was, he'd speak German ;-)

  4. Kids are very smart...smarter than us adults.


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