Friday 9 May 2014

Family Language Diagram Update

I feel a bit bad: we haven't updated the family language diagram for ages! I cannot even remember how long ago I touched it. Bad Babeldad!

Then again, the situation has only changed very slightly when it comes to languages. All three Babelkids are now sufficiently fluent to be able to speak pretty normally with native speakers of their four languages. English is the dominating language, by a mile, but it has always been.

So all good in the Babelhouse from a language perspective.

Small Changes

Drill down into details though, and you will notice changes.

BK2 is more and more defaulting to English, when in the past she would speak Arabic or maybe German. We now witness (and sometimes interrupt) long conversations between BK2 and BK1 entirely in English. BK2 starts it, usually.

BK3 has recently jumped onto the bandwaggon as well. And while the long days in school are a good justification for why BK2 does it, BK3 doesn't even go to pre-school yet, so she got it entirely from her sisters!

BK1 is probably the one with the most solid knowledge and command of all four languages, as she's always been. I guess the time we were able to devote to her when she was alone really paid off for her.

Slightly Bigger Change

So all is more or less as usual in our Babelfamily.

Just the right time to overthrow it all and add more complexity to the mix: we're moving to Basel, Switzerland!

This is a work-related move, of course, but we did actually chose Basel on purpose based on its proximity to France and Germany and the hope that we would come into a multilingual environment. I won't make any guesses as to what the move will do to the girls' language, but I'm sure it'll be interesting.

If you were thinking "Basel... hm... German-speaking part of Switzerland, isn't it?" then all I can say is "technically yes", which obviously means "nope!". There's a fine line between a dialect and a language, I guess. For me, personally, Swiss German is a language. I recently spent four days in Basel and quickly found that I was better off speaking English if I wanted to actually understand what people said to me. So, depending on how you see it, the girls will either pick up yet another language (and a new majority language, too!), or learn a dialect that is quite frankly very different from mine.

This blog might just come to life again in September!

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