Thursday, May 07, 2009

Starting to speak German

I've mentioned on my blog previously that we've tried to raise Astrid bilingual - English & German. However since my German is rusty and I've forgotten a lot of vocabulary words, and the predominant language spoken is English - Astrid would question her dad's spoken German.

"It's not Weinachten! It's Christmas" she would say.

Then U. would get down on himself for not speaking enough German to her on a daily basis.

But now that we have a German nanny that is changing fast and we're noticing that she's starting to not only understand German but also to speak it on her own (not talking about just repeating what was said back). And she's singing songs in German. Her nanny Beate's two kids also speak German so whenever Astrid is around they speak German to her. It's helping big time.

The other morning I made Astrid breakfast and after she took her plate from me she said, "Danke Schoen!" (thank you). I wasn't expecting it and so after I got over my initial shock I said, "Bitte Schoen" (you're welcome).

Then this morning she kept saying what I heard to be "moody". "Moody what?" I couldn't understand what she was trying to tell me, until she finally asked, "What's tired again?" Oh "Muede"! That's German for "tired". Duh!

She got all excited and asked me to tell her more German words. So it became our little game.
  • Auto - Car! she shouted.
  • Deutsch - German!
  • Essen – Dinner! (close enough – the verb means to eat and the noun is food. Dinner is actually "Abendessen".)
  • Hund - Dog!
  • Katze - Cat!
  • Soenne - Sun!

It's a start and I'm so happy to see it happening. I was worried that my being American and her not growing up in a household that spoke solely in German (to combat all the English she hears in school and outside of the home) would stunt her German development. Now I needn't worry because having a German nanny and her 2 German speaking kids is helping Astrid's German language development.

However Astrid does claim to speak 4 languages: English, German, Spanish, and Korean.

When I asked her what Korean words she knows - she was stumped. But then I remembered one:

"What does Bpobpo mean?"

"Grandma always says, 'Gimme a Bpobpo '.

"Kiss!" Astrid shouted.

Ding ding ding. Correct! =)


smashedpea said...


I stumbled upon your blog and had to read this entry of course, since I'm trying to get my kids to speak both English and German as well :)

Good for you that things are working out with the German Nanny! A Nanny is definitely not in our future, but I can understand just how helpful that would be! My daughter (almost 4) understands everything in German but generally refuses to speak it.... frustrating, but I'm hoping things will change over time :)

Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I'm so impressed with Astrid! Can you imagine how thrilled U. will be when on a trip home to Germany she speaks fluently and knocks their socks off? :)