Monday, March 5, 2012

Trying to teach a language you don't know

Mr. Rooster's family is from Spain and he grew up speaking English, French, Spanish and Catalan (a form of  Spanish and French). When I first met Mr. Rooster I loved listening to him speak any of those languages! I thought it was awesome listening to him flip from one to the other with ease! I didn't grow up with other languages at home and in school I took French from grade 6-9 and that was it! I didn't mind French but I didn't know much and found the courses boring.
I thought when I first met Mr. Rooster that I would try to learn at least Spanish since a large chunk of his family speak it and it is a pretty common language even in Canada. I soon found out that it's a lot harder to learn a new language when you're an adult and not constantly immersed in it. After a while Mr. Rooster slipped back into only speaking it with his family and I stopped pestering him to teach me.
When Carebear was born the desire to learn Spanish again flared up in me since we wanted our children to know at least Spanish (they'll learn French in school and will probably pick up a bit of Catalan from their Grandpa). I found trying to teach a baby Spanish just wasn't very exciting since it was just me talking and Carebear babbling in baby language, once again the desire passed.
Now that Carebear is older and absorbing things like a sponge I have found the desire to learn again, but this time something different has happened. We are teaching her by saying the word or phrase in English and then translating to Spanish (or vice versa) and through repetition. She and I speak it over and over each day, and it is really starting to stick! The thing is I'm actually starting to learn more as well and am really enjoying it! I'm constantly asking Mr. Rooster how to say new words or just looking them up on Google Translate!
Carebear is sucking all this new information in and is now speaking quite a bit, so much so sometimes I have to stop for a moment to figure out if she is speaking Spanish or just a babbling in kid speech. LOL
We go over and over the numbers, colours, and other common words and phrases and she is picking up so much of it! I'm sad that I waited so long but glad that we are doing it now because at least I know that Buddy will know no different, Spanish will just be a part of his every day!
This past week we have been speaking so much of it, constantly moving back and forth between Spanish and English that it's just become a part of our every day conversation. I even did it at work the other day not even noticing when I asked someone "¿Cómo estás? How are you?" Then today at playgroup I got a few strange looks as the other Mom's heard me speaking Spanish. My Spanish is broken and I definitely don't have the proper accent but I figure the more and more we do it, over time I'll learn and so will the kids!
I'm happy for them to be learning a new language and have gained a greater respect for anyone who can speak more than just one!
It sure isn't easy, especially as an adult, to learn a new language and I feel bad for Mr. Rooster who must be getting a bit sick of me asking over and over, "¿Cómo se dice.." which means "How do you say..." and then I'll ask him the word in English and get him to translate!

1 comment:

cdnkaro said...

Good for you for persevering! It's tough, but so worth it- for all of you- on so many levels! Ian is learning french along with the kids as well:)