Thursday, June 28, 2012

Poor kid, he speaks too many languages

 Two to three times a week P gets picked up in the nursery by his babysitter, Eva.

She takes him to the playgorund, the zoo, they ride busses and trams together. She puts her scarf and hat on him, when bad mommy forgets to leave warmer clothes there for him.
AND, she speaks German to him.

When she picked him up yesterday, one of the moms, hearing they spoke German (in an otherwise Hugarian nursery) asked her if P was bilingual. Eva proudly explained he was actually multilingual, to which the mom said: Oh, poor kid!

Now, for a little bit of a background: I am Croatian, daddy is Serbian, we live in Hugary. We have friends to whom we only speak English.
Ever since I was a kid and my cousins from Germany came for a visit I knew what a gift it was to grow up bilingual. Even then, when I had no idea what that meant, I knew I am going to try to give that to my children one day. I had no idea then that I am going to live in a foreign country and some of that will be given.

When P was aroun 8 months old we started with sign language. Most people thought I was insane doing that, saying it will slow down his speach development.Well, it didn't!
P signing 'more' at the interactive fountain in Budapest:) They grow so fast!

Currently P speaks mostly Croatian at home, and even though Croatian and Serbian are very similar, he does know the difference very well. He speaks German to Eva. Since he was born I made it a daily routine to introduce English through singing and later reading books, and most of the cartoons he watches are in English. And naturally, he speaks Hugarian. He is past three now, and he still does not mix the languages. When Eva, P and me are together we use three languages at the same time (Croatian, Hungarian and English) and there is no mixing, he turns to me speaking Croatian, turns back to Eva speaking German, while Eva and me are speaking Hungarian.

I am not talking about best practices here, only something that works for us for now. I don't think he is a 'poor kid', I think he is lucky!

What do you think?

Here is P reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar in English. It is too funny for words:


  1. And I think, I'm lucky, too, to gain experience from such a lovely family. :) Your boys are great!!!

  2. Wow! I think that is amazing! I have heard it said that teaching languages from the beginning is the best way to do it, Children are amazing learners :)

  3. Fantasticno je sto tako malen govori vise jezika, a cinjenica da ih nikad ne mijesa ostavila me je bez teksta. Ne znam zasto bi neko smatrao da je tako dijete "namuceno" kada se mozak tako dodatno razvija. Bravo za vas!