Friday, December 05, 2008

Swedish and English

My son is way more exposed to English than my Daughter was at the same age. Every day he is out playing with the (English speaking) neighbor kids that didn't live here when she was a toddler and he is pretty fluent already despite us always speaking Swedish in the house.

And he is already mixing the langugages the fun way you can only do if you're bilingual.

"Låt mig gå", he'll scream when we pick him up to go inside from playing with his friends or we're stopping him from jumping up the kitchen table or some other height. "Låt mig gå" is his Swedish version of "Let me go". Now when he says "låt mig gå" - he sounds really cute, like a character from a black and white love drama from the 40s. What he means in Swedish is "släpp loss mig".


Ally said...

Bahaha! That's so cute. My daughter has this horrible habit of saying things like this, "Hon sa 'piesek' och det menar 'hund' på polska." I think Pete and I say 100 times a week "BETYDER!"

I know I make mistakes in Swedish (my husband is the only one kind enough to correct them, where as the rest of you are too polite), but the kids make their own mistakes in Swedish. What's quite funny, they make "typical" Swedish speaker mistakes in English (although it's very rare now).

I don't hear your children code switch (using English words in a Swedish manner) like I hear from some of the other children "shara" for to share. ;-)

Man the linguist in me loves when you have posts like this. Makes me long for my days talking syntax, phonetics, and semantics. I'm such a dork.

JaCal said...

Ally - haha - your house must be heaven as a linguist - all the language development going on right under your nose! You do very few mistakes - I'm a amazed at your Swedish. Swedes can "cheat" their way in English since we've heard it all around us since childhood - picking up phrases and words from TV and movies (obliviously not the word "condiments"). I'm guessing the only Swedish you had heard before P was the Swedish Chef in the Muppet Show ;-) You really have learned from scratch as a grown-up and that is really inspiring!!

The Daughter do code switch - especially right after coming back from school, but I've actually think it has become better as her English is developing after starting Kindergarten.

Indie said...

I'm trying to learn Swedish on my own, in order to travel there. Also I want to be able to translate some letters my grandmother wrote to my grandfather.

As I learn, I know I'm running into trouble like a small child learning to speak for the first time!

I applaud both of you for raising your children bilingual. It's so much harder as an adult!

I minored in linguistics as an undergraduate and what I learned really helps when learning new languages.