2 extra languages - part of me thinks I should part thinks no

(4 Posts)
Dontlookattheknees Wed 19-Jun-13 23:05:19

2 questions

I learnt Coptic because granny made a point to teach me, apart from being able to say on my CV that I can read and speak Coptic (though I am very rusty) but I never use it. Do you think it is worth teach DS (who is 3) ?
I can speak arabic (though I'm not fluent and it comes out as a real mashup) but we never really spoke it at home so it never really stuck.
Part of me thinks that DS should learn Arabic because it would be useful but I would seriously have to improve (a lot) to be able to do it also he is 3.
I can't decide what to do
Any ideas?

noramum Thu 20-Jun-13 21:08:00

I think a second language only makes sense if it is part of the family's life or circumstances like an outside language compared to a home language.

If you don't use Arabic or Coptic in your daily life and you don't feel secure and emotional attached to it, it is like teaching a new and additional, not connected language. I wouldn't do it.

If your child has interest in it in order to explore its heritage or family than exposure may be good.

Do you need Arabic? Do you have any plans using Arabic in the near future? Would your child have difficulties communicating with close family? If all this is not the case I wouldn't do it especially as you you are not secure in it.

Dontlookattheknees Thu 20-Jun-13 21:35:51

Noramum
The coptic I feel a bit attached to and sort of feel that it is extinct and part of who DS is so I should make an effort
Arabic - I do have plans to take DS to Egypt at some point. We don't use it at home (my mum is 1st gen) my dad can't speak it and my mum only speaks it now when she talks to relatives on the phone and to swear.

I guess I feel like I should be able to speak arabic because it is part of my heritage.
But we don't use it.
I guess I feel more attached to Coptic because it is dead and more specifically about my heritage

(I'm sure both would come back but I guess my Arabic even if it improved would be arabish/englbic (don't know what it is called)

cory Sat 22-Jun-13 12:10:23

I would agree with noramum as to "If you don't use Arabic or Coptic in your daily life and you don't feel secure and emotional attached to it, it is like teaching a new and additional, not connected language.".

As to the next bit "I wouldn't do it", I think I would rather say "I would follow the child's lead here".

If you have the kind of child who thinks playing with words and learning words is the greatest kind of fun, then there is nothing wrong in teaching them an unconnected language, any more than it would be wrong to teach them gardening or embroidery or any other skill you happened to have that they showed an interest in.

I think it is a reasonable parental thing to show and expose your child to anything that you are interested in and then go more fully into something that catches their attention. My mother taught me Latin and German at home and I am very grateful that she did so; I enjoyed it and have been able to use it later in life.

But this is rather different to the non-negotiable position of the minority language in a bilingual family. My dc have to be able to speak and understand Swedish because this is a bilingual household; their interest or aptitude doesn't really come into it.

I otoh didn't have to learn Latin; two of my brothers never did. (otoh I never really got good at embroidery)

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