Sunday 14 April 2013

It's not Them, it's You!

"With all those languages, aren't you afraid your children won't learn any language properly?"

Heard that before, haven't we?

The latest incarnation came from a French au-pair girl who works for our neighbours. She reported that often, our children wouldn't understand her.

Turns out she based that on the fact that they didn't answer her, giving her the impression she had not reached through.

In reality, they almost certainly did understand everything she said.

But they know that she is monolingual. They knew exactly what they wanted to say, and usually would have said it easily using their vintage Arabic-French mix with some English thrown in, but of course she wouldn't have understood them, and they knew it.

So instead, they decided to just not say anything. Easier.

In essence, the problem here is not that the Babelkids don't understand French. The problem is, in fact, that the au-pair doesn't understand Arabic.



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