Tuesday, February 12, 2008

bilingual baby?

Okay, very likely not. The Little Mister will only be 2-1/2 when we leave Germany, and my German is lackluster at best. I can understand quite a bit, but putting words together into (correct) sentences? Good luck with that. My German professor in college gave me a C in German 102 (after I failed it once) even though I know my accomplishments didn't deserve a passing grade. He gave me the C because I tried so hard, because nearly every day I was in his office asking for help. He must have graded my effort instead of the results.

Anyway, if we were here when he was, say, age 3 to age 6, he might pick it up from children in the community. But as young as he is now...I doubt it. I want him to have something German, though. So when we went to Trier Friday I begged the Sergeant to let me go into the big bookstore I'd seen once. I didn't find a section of English books (sigh), but my other purpose was to find a children's book, a picture book, in German. I figured I could find something simple and run it through a translating website so I could get inflection right, and then read it to the Little Mister. He loves when I read to him, and right now it doesn't really matter what language it is. His favorite is Dr. Seuss, which arguably is a separate language in itself.

With this in mind I searched out the children's section. And I was intensely pleased when I found a German translation of one of my favorite picture books:



I love it!! I haven't read it to the Little Mister yet; I've been practicing, so that when I read it to him there won't be stuttering and stopping. My pronunciation is decent, so with practice I think I'll be able to read it smoothly.

I still want to find a "German" picture book, something that was originally written in German instead of translated from English. Before the Sergeant is deployed we're hoping to visit my very close friend in Switzerland, so maybe she can help me find something else. But for now this is great, because I already know the story so I know how to read it. :)

27 comments:

  1. My baby's Oma tried very hard to help me with my German and I enjoyed the lessons, but that language is VERY hard on the throat, isn't it?

    Everytime we would get together and have a conversation I would have sore throat muscles for a day or so.

    Jan from Dr. Seuss Baby Bedding and Nursery Decorating Ideas

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  2. That is so adorable! I bet he will treasure it. I desperately want my kids to learn Spanish (we live in Texas), but alas I wasted my high school years learning French. Thankfully they teach Spanish in the public schools here.

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  3. We also have "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" in German, which is another GREAT children's book to translate over.

    I love "Guess How Much I Love You" and could read it to my little one every night (in either language) if she would let me!

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  4. The Brothers Grimm??

    Although the one you found is super cute :)

    Heidi

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  5. Oh, that is exciting! I love that book!

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  6. Isn't "Hansel and Gretel" a German story? Austrian, perhaps...I dunno.

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  7. My parents bought me a counting book in France when I was little. It didn't make me speak French, but it did enable me to impress their friends by counting and/or reciting various French words . . . it's a great party trick!

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  8. That is a great idea. My daughter is always asking me how to say different words in spanish or how to do the sign for them. I never know, but it is fun to learn them.

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  9. Hey, you got a C in German the same way I got a C- in Trig. *grin*

    I love that book! Somehow seeing the German title makes it even cuter. :)

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  10. We have that book; English version. :-)

    And I envy you the potential trip to Switzerland. I loooove Switzerland; such a beautiful country.

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  11. I think it's a great idea. You could try to get native books from every country or area that you guys live in...

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  12. That book looks even better in German!

    You might be surprised at how much your son will remember. His mind is a sponge now, and if he continues learning German when you return to the states, he could still be very strong in it. My children are bi-lingual, and even though my son is not quite two years old and doesn't talk very much yet, I know that he understands everything I say to him in Lithuanian. It's really quite amazing.

    Good luck with the reading! I think it's wonderful.

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  13. A treasure! I lived in Austria from age 2 to 5 and can not speak German at all. But, I was fluent then while in a german preschool. I have many treasures i carry though. I am sure he will too.

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  14. I love that book I think it's beautiful. I plan on buying it for my niece. :O)

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  15. I love that book! It's a favorite around here :)

    My younger cousin was born in Germany and her parents were convinced she wouldn't retain any of the language. But when she took German in high school she did amazingly well! (this was more than 10 years after they moved back to the states). You never know how much the little mister's brain might be wired for the German language just from being exposed to it early on. It should be interesting to see how he does with it as the years go on. You might be really surprised!

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  16. Younger kids pick up so much, in every language. I think it's great that you found such a wonderful book in German:)

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  17. My daughter went to preschool when we were in Italy, but already she has forgotten how to count in Italian, etc. (instead she counts in Dora spanish). BUT she will still mutter some of the songs to herself. I majored in German in college and it is AMAZING how quickly it gets forgotten when not used. Yet each new language becomes easier after the first...and pre-pubescent language acquisition really does develop the brain synapses differently...

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  18. What a great idea! Good luck with all the pronunciations. I think German would be a hard language to learn.

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  19. I think, as someone else said above, because Little Mister is hearing German from such an early age, though he'll forget the vocabulary, if he ever takes German when he's older, it will come to him very easily.

    Though, sadly, fewer and fewer schools in the US offer German these days. I took a couple of years of German in college and, while I don't remember that much, absolutely love the sound of the language.

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  20. this is one of my fav books too... i was amazed how many laguages it is in you can get it in dutch here too! a beautiful book, my class love it. x

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  21. Awww, that is wonderful. Enjoy your time in Germany. I was there in the mid-90s (Air Force) and miss it very much. Have a bratwurst on brochen for me, k?

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  22. We love the Muzzy series too. It's DVDs about a cartoon character and you can get it in several languages including German (we have German and Spanish). My girls love them! that might help. Good luck!

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  23. I havent looked for any German books as I dont know a slick of German but when we were in Belgium I was determined to fine some I could read to S. My favorite were Le Petit Prince board books. Easy and cute. I studied french for 3 years but consider myself very rusty at best.

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  24. Hello- New here, but I had to comment! I live in MN, but I was born in Bitburg on the Air Force Base. I still am sad that my parents left before I picked up any accent/memory what so ever. I have pics of me as a baby in Trier- (though not quite as cute as Little Mister). Your pics & blog will be a treasure to him someday!

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