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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||How can I teach my language to my 7 year old step daughter?|
|Question:||Hello, I have a girlfriend since 2.5 years and she has a daughter. They are russian, but we live in a french speaking country, so the kid speaks both. At first I started speaking french to her(which I don't really know well). As time passed I learned french a bit better. But now we became more like a family, and I want to start speaking my own language (turkish) to her, so that she learns it. I had few tries, but she mostly rejected, and complained (because she knows I speak french). How should I approach to this subject? Are there any studies on this, that I can read about? Is 7 too late? Should I just be insistent on speaking Turkish?|
|Reply:||Children settle as easily as we adults do for what we take as “old” habits, so it doesn’t surprise me that this little girl insists on using French with you. I also suspect it would feel quite odd to you to suddenly change the language(s) you use with your girlfriend or with other people? One way to attract her to your language might be to start using it with her as in a game: tell her about exciting things, for a 7-year old, related to your country (music, festivals, foods, legends, fairy-tales, clothes, child games, you’ll know best), then tell her that people can only make true sense of them in the language that goes with them, and then use Turkish to talk about these things. Or tell her that story-telling time, or cooking-time, or weekends, are Turkish-speaking times, for example. Finding other Turkish-speaking children where you live, to play with her, could also work. Simply insisting might backfire. Again, just think how you would feel if someone did to you with their languages what you’re planning to do with her. Try to engage her as much as you can, in other words. She must _want_ to use Turkish in order to use, like she wants to use French and Russian. Telling her that learning Turkish is also the best way to get to know _you_ might help, too! Madalena|
|Reply From:||Madalena Cruz-Ferreira click here to access email|