PARENTS

Achtung Baby Or Talking Dogs

24/02/2010 12:41 | Updated 22 May 2015

Despite much reassurance to the contrary (including that from ParentDish readers for which I am truly grateful), my concerns about our approach to Finje's bilingualism are yet again raising their ugly head.

I wonder whether, in my attempt to better my own language proficiency by actively avoiding fellow English speakers, I may well be scuppering Finje's chances of becoming perfectly bilingual. One hears so many stories of "failed" efforts by well-meaning parents, resulting in a child who speaks neither language perfectly but can get by in both. Well, getting by in English or German is not an option. My theory: if we do this one job properly, even if the rest of our parental endeavours result in her coughing up grievances on the psychiatrists couch in years to come, at least she'll have the option of two languages in which to do so.

Her soul English input comes from yours truly and I simply can't communicate enough. There aren't enough hours in the day and our infrequent trips to the UK are frustrating to say the least. As she endeavours to make her German understood, tiny brow wrinkled in confusion and consternation, she clearly is of the opinion that she is dealing with half-wits.

I ponder over the alternatives.

Whilst still insisting that our Goggle-Box-free household is a good thing, I've grudgingly come to the conclusion that occasional media stimulation could be a practical accomplice in my quest. We may not have a television but we do have YouTube.

First up, the enchanting Lady and the Tramp. I genuinely believed it to be an old favourite of mine and regaled a delighted Finje of my own fond memories watching it as a child with my mother. Finding to my chagrin that in reality I had never seen the film in my life, I was left feeling somewhat unhinged.

And that ladies and gentleman, right there, is the power of Walt Disney.

Finje, for her part, sat motionless throughout the whole film, a miracle in itself. She gazed fully concentrated at the screen. Excellent thought I, over an hour of English dialogue from a picture she clearly enjoyed. She simply could not have failed to be motivated, inspired, dare I say emboldened to experiment with her newly developed vocabulary.

As the end credits rolled, Finje, clearly invigorated by a new found desire to chat away endlessly in advanced English said,

"Dogs can talk?"

In perfect German.

Patience will clearly be required.

Any advice?

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