Thursday 16 August 2012

Less German

The Babelwife has been in Algeria for 3 weeks now with the Babelkids and I'm finally joining them later today.

Babelkids were obviously very excited yesterday evening when I called them. They even asked the Babelwife to give me another call when they went to bed, so they could say good night. Bless them.

I spoke with BK1 and BK2 briefly in the afternoon. It had be a long time, almost 2 weeks. (We kept our calls very brief because there is currently no landline phone where they are, stolen cable apparently, don't ask.)

I noticed that both BK1 and BK2 had lost some of their fluency in German, as they always do during the summer holidays when they're immersed completely into an Arabic-speaking environment.

Interestingly BK2 lost a lot more than BK1 this year, and now I'm wondering why that might be.

Does it help that BK1 has been speaking German for a lot longer than BK2? Probably. Maybe the time when she was the only child we had was crucial, too? I'm convinced BK1 had less English around her when she was little.

I reckon it is a combination of those two.

Whatever it is, I'm happy to see them later and I'm sure all kids will find back to their usual level of German quickly.


  1. What a great time for me to come across this post! I have been really stressing over the loss of my kids' French over the summer holidays, but your 'it always comes back' sentiment is very reassuring. A recent monolingual French playdate did help, so I'm sure you're right and when the new term begins at their French immersion school they will slot right back into it!

    1. Aahh, language immersion school, le rêve ... Why are there not many of these around where we live? :(

  2. Really interesting post! I'm sure they will jump back into the German once they return. I wonder if bilingual kids benefit from occasional immersion in a single language, kind of like an intensive study? Glad to have found your blog through the Bilingualism Carnival!

    1. Actually, we have noticed the effect of such a monolingual immersion during our trip to Algeria. BK3's speech came on so profusely, in Arabic. It made me realise how easier it is to be monolingual, and how careful I am usually (and instinctively) to keep the balance between the 4 languages...


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