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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Deployment has sunken in

My husband is in the Air Force and he has taken off on his first deployment nearly two months ago. We have had a whirlwind summer! Now that we are getting into fall and working on 'school' activities with Ari, we have finally gotten into a routine. Ari and Evie are now getting the benefit of mostly full time German at home and I am still looking up words I don't know =) Conversation has become a stunted thing between myself and my almost three year old who is quite verbose. Ari is having a great time learning all of the things she will need to prepare herself for Kindergarten. Unfortunately she has also started fighting me about speaking German. I am not sure if she has realized that German is just a sort of secret language just between us and she doesn't like it or maybe she thinks I am crazy? I still have not found a native speaker or a very good learned speaker to practice with and help me improve- which unfortunately means that Ari does not see any other adults who speak the language. Ah well, we will continue as we have been and hope that she will remain somewhat interested until we can find some more people to speak with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How do I sharpen my skills without someone to physically talk to?

Over the past few weeks I have been trying to find someone who is fluent in German to physically speak to every once in a while. I am worried that my knowledge is slowly being diminished without the ability to use it. In South Dakota, there are many people who speak Lakota, Spanish and even French, but very few who speak German. I have been going through my old text books, and some language learning courses in order to hear the correct sounds, but I wonder sometimes if that is enough. My daughter Ari still remembers the majority of the words and phrases I had been using with her before we had a short lapse during my pregnancy with her sister. She will still respond to my questions in German with one word answers, but she does not volunteer words or phrases other than 'jacke' and 'biebe'(her way of saying ich liebe). I almost feel that I need to start over with how I was "teaching" her German.
In other news, I feel caught up in this whirlwind that is having two little ladies to spend my time with. I finally feel like we are starting to fall into a good routine. We still have the big trip coming up, and in order to prepare for that I am trying to mentally pack and repack the suitcases, the car, the cooler and the kids. We are taking a small car on a 24hr road trip and the logistics of the trip are on my mind quite often. I cannot wait to get home and get my girls into as many mind growing activities as possible.
I plan to start talking about some new topics with Ari to get her back in the groove and improve her vocabulary at the same time. I think we will be focusing on weather (always a fun topic out her during the spring), and of course the days of the week, both topics that we have not really worked on with her before. Here's to some interesting weather!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We're Back!

Having been away for nearly a year, there has been a lot that has happened. First things first, Ari is not the only baby learning German in our house anymore. She has recently been joined by a little sister, Evelyn, or Evie as we call her. Along with welcoming our new addition we are welcoming a whole bunch of new German words to practice, like schwester and familie, which for some reason we had not used before we became four. We are still working on increasing our usage of German everyday, but I have to admit that things have slipped a tad over the past 9 months. Now that we are starting a new schedule and getting into a routine, I am hoping to continue to speak to Ari and now Evie, in mostly German.
We have a lot coming up this summer. We are traveling home to visit family in Pennsylvania, which will include my sister's graduation from high school, my husband's graduation from college, my alumni weekend for college and my ten year reunion for high school and my nephew's baptism. Amidst all of these activities we are also intending to visit museums, zoos and aquariums so we can expose our girls to as much culture as possible while we are home. With these activities and plans a whole world of German vocabulary is opening up for my girls to experience.
I intend to update this blog much more frequently now that things have resumed some sort of order, and I am looking forward to a fresh new start. Be seeing you soon!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wow, Computer crash, swimming and three word sentences

Since my last post, I have tried to finish a master's class while working from my husband's computer since mine all of a sudden died. It was unfortunately fourteen days out of our one year warranty. Dell wanted to charge me sixty-two dollars just to talk through their trouble shooting, instead of listening to me about the problem. You see, my husband had the exact problem with his Dell about two months ago which resulted in a new charger, new battery and new motherboard! Lucky for my husband, his was still under warranty. So I now have a dead computer and no money to replace it.
On a much happier topic, Ari and I have been practicing our swimming on Wednesday's at the local swim center. The pool is zero depth so it is great for tiny little babies just learning the ropes, and after they swim for an hour they get a chocolate milk. Ari is now enthralled and wants to schwimmen all the time. She has also moved on to speaking in two and three word sentences just over the last week. It is amazing how fast she is picking things up! From 'meine rot schuhe' to 'I get down' the sentences are rolling of her tongue, it is so exciting! I have to beef up my German to include more complete sentences that are age appropriate for my 18 month old. Maybe it's time to enroll Daddy in a refresher course for his Spanish so we can start her on a new language.
There are so many things on my plate right now, but they are all extra exciting and I can't wait to keep up with this more regularly =) Until next time...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PPP Post

The contrived tree rends a healthy workload.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Masters Work

Whew, sorry it has been such a long time. I had hoped to post more frequently so I am setting up a reminder for myself. I have been caught up in the general spin of life over the past two weeks, getting ready for Easter, making meals playing and leanring with Ari and my Masters level classes. I am pursuing my Masters in Education and focusing on the English Language Learner, which means that right now my main class is educational research, and I have chosen a research topic, Acquiring languages. I suppose I should have chosen such an in depth topic for my Thesis rather than a regular class but maybe this small amount of research will prove to be a great base layer upon which I can build an excellent thesis. I have been reading scholarly information left and right and trying to create this wonderfully informational research paper about how we as humans acquire not only our first language, but also a second or third, etc., with comparisons between language learning in the home and language learning in the classroom setting, whether as an ELL student or a native speaker trying to learn a second language in the U.S. While this topic is extremely interesting to me, I did not consider the huge amount of time that would be required to finish this in a mere six weeks as well as the tangents of information I would be chasing down. Now that you know about the general nature of my topic, I was hoping to get some feed back from those of you who are bilingual or more, and/or are teaching your children a second or third or multiple languages in the home. I have several questions that I will post below and I would appreciate any and all response, either in the comment section or feel free to email me at
*What method(s) did you use in teaching your child another language?
*How fluent would you consider your child to be in the non-dominant language?
*At what age was your child able to converse easily in the non-dominant language, and at what age did you start teaching him/her?
*Did you encounter any setbacks while teaching the non dominant language?
*Have you tried language learning methods other than the one you settled on?
*What ah ha! moments do you especially enjoy?
*How did you learn the non-dominant language? Were you a bilingual child or did you learn in a school setting?
*Is there anything you think I forgot that you want to add?

Thanks to everyone who leaves a comment or email =)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hello Everyone!

So this is my very first quest into the blogging adventure. After reading so many wonderful blogs from other parent's raising a child/children bilingually or multilingually, I have been inspired to write about my own experiences with my 18 month old daughter Arianna. I am also pursuing my Master's degree in education with a focus on the English Language Learner, and I am really interested in the language learning process. I have also recently discovered Biolinguistics, which is absolutely amazing to me. I have always had a great interest in languages and tried to teach myself some Spanish when I was in middle school since my district did not offer languages until high school. Not to mention that when I got to high school, my electives were already chosen, Band and Choir (I am still a music lover). When my mother moved our family to southern California, I got the chance to study Spanish in a real classroom and found that I excelled, and easily picked up more and more of the language. Unfortunately, my mother decided to move us back to Pennsylvania, and I was again unable to take the class, so without the practice, I lost some of my ability and comfort. Later in college I would meet a man who was my boyfriend for a while, and he was a bilingual brat as I liked to call him. His parents were American and German and he grew up speaking both languages. His stories of being bilingual from birth and picking up other languages so easily, like when he translated for his mother when he attended a French preschool in Belgium, and when his father remarried and moved to Korea, where my boyfriend attended high school, I was jealous that I had not had the ability to have multiple languages since birth. I decided at that point that when I had children I would try my best to give them another language besides English with which to communicate. While the romance did not last, my passion for the German language did, and once again I started teaching myself from books and eventually taking college level courses, in which I excelled again. Now that I am married to the man of my dreams, who unfortunately only has a rudimentary knowledge of one other language than his native English, we have had our first child and I have attempted to communicate with her mainly in German when it's just the two of us. I have been struggling with myself recently to find a way to incorporate another language, Spanish, so that I will not confuse her. I am also excited to start in on acquiring other languages for myself over time, specifically, French, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, etc. As you can see I absolutely love languages, and maybe I am a little bit crazy. I can't wait to get acquainted with everyone and to share my successes and downfalls of trying to raise my daughter in a second language of which I am a non-native speaker. Please leave me a comment or an email so I can talk with you about your experiences and languages and cultures!