Any German-American Families here?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
Any German-American Families here?
5
Sun, 01-29-2012 - 1:09am
Hi! I'm JM. I'm American but my husband SB is German, and we live in Germany (NRW). We're both 30 and expecting our first child, which is why I decided to join the boards.

We met in 2001, and I've lived in Germany since 2005. This winter we moved to a tiny village (pop. 1,000) - so it'd be great to get to know some people in our situation on ivillage!

Is your family bi-lingual? How long have you been together? Any kids? What state (as in Bundesstaat :-P) do you live in?

Looking forward to meeting you!

- JM

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Wed, 02-01-2012 - 1:27am

Hi and congrats on your pregnancy

I'm not in a German American relationship, but I'm no stranger to multicultural relationship and the wonderful world of expatdom.

I'm Swiss, French native speaker, married to an Indian man and living in India. I grew up in a Christian family though not particularly religious, DH is hindu and while his family is religious, he is moderately so.
We have a 2 and a half daughter, whcih is obviously raised in a multicultural environment, I chose to speak French to her, DH speaks Hindi, and both DH and I communicate between ourselves in English, she just started playschool a few months back whcih is an English medium one, so she is efficiently dealing with 3 languages all at ones. To be fair she spends the most time with me so she understands more French than other languages now, but is picking up in English too, Hindi is taking the back seat in her mind it seems.
One thing we got to learn about bilingual or more kids is that the speak later than the other kids because they have a little more to figure out, but when they start picking up things it goes fast. Ishi just started really grasping the fact there are different languages now and with school we've seen an explosion of verbal expression, even if most of it is total gibberish we just can't make much sense out of it.
What I find the most challenging is that I'm her only source of exposure to French language at the moment, the pediatrician recommended us to keep the cartoons in English because most of what we otherwise watch on TV is in English and she has to set herself in a mindset associating languages with entities, so that in her mind she gets that Mom is speaking French, Dad is speaking Hindi, TV and school English, and the rest of a world a mix of all trhree.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
Thu, 02-02-2012 - 3:01am
Wow three languages! Thanks so much for replying. I'd love to hear how you and other families manage multilingualism.

My uncle married a German woman, and they seemed very dedicated to raising bilingual kids. I don't know if it's because they live in America or what but I speak better German than their kids. They dont even seem to enjoy it, and they treat it like homework my aunt said.

I also once had a neighbor with an American mother - but her English was so bad you wouldnt have guessed it. I didnt really believe it myself until I met her mother.

On the other hand, I once met a bilingual woman who spoke both languages so perfectly, I just knew he had to have been raised bilingually. She was proud I was able to notice.

So, as you can imagine, I'm wondering what makes the greatest difference in being fluent in both languages? Do you think that the more sources of the language the better? Does it matter if they hear non-native speakers? (My aunt used to ask me not to speak German in front of her kids - now she asks me to.) Or does it just depend on the individual kid?

- JM

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Thu, 02-02-2012 - 10:23pm

I have no idea, but I guess if you are a profficient speaker in one language and have affinities with it I'd say go ahead and speak it with your kids even if it isn't your native language. My mom was a preschool teacher when I was growing up, she had two brothers in her class, the mother was Thai, the father Swiss and native French speaker, the mother spoke Thai to them, the father was a fluent in English so he decided to speak this language to his kids, they picked up French in school.
I have no idea however how well they speak each language now.

Most kids in India are exposed to more than one language, even in purely hindi speaking families in the North kids get to learn it in school, but that said I noticed that North Indian I less keen about speaking another language than their own. I lived in South India a long time, and it is not uncommon to have kids speaking 2-3 languages at age 3-4 and people are generally more fluent in English, a sharp contrast to my North Indian husband's family where all 3 nephews don't speak much English, even though they go to a English medium school.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
Fri, 02-03-2012 - 2:18am
Have you read any books on the subject that you can recommend? I vaguely remember trying to find info 10 years ago (when DH and I met) but not really finding anything applicable. What I found was mostly about same culture immigrant parents teaching their native language alongside, or in place of, the local language.

- JM

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Fri, 02-03-2012 - 11:17pm

No I haven't read or found any interesting book on that topic, I read a few articles here and there in Idnian parenting magazines, but they of course put the higlights of families in which more than one of the official languages are spoken and the fact there is always more than one person speaking it, so it doesn't really apply to my case where my own family is living ina


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