People look at our son and often they comment on how lucky he is that he will be bilingual. “He will pick up the two languages naturally!” they keep saying to me. Most of these people are not from or in a bilingual family! Our son is just over two years old now and at the age where words and sentences should be coming out easily. Words were spoken during the summer!Having speant the first 2 years of his life in Greece, meant that during the summer and out of the blue he just started speaking the Greek language fine. He got the Greek grandparents all emotional and proud that they where there to see it! But with daddy not being there, the English language was quickly forgotten. Now, in London, we try to keep up with the rules where each parent speaks to him in their own language. Still, I discovered, it’s a bit more complicated than that! I have noticed him keeping quiet and posing for a while before he answers to any questions. I also see him repeating our words to make sure he’s got the right word. And I think he is struggling to place the word to the right language. At play groups he will go to other kids and almost act younger, trying to be friends with them by using his smile and waving and not speaking to them. At home he just uses a mixture of Greek and English and we try not to correct him cause he gets even more quiet.
So, it looks to me that the bilingual thing can be a lot more work than anyone has told me! I have also noticed that there is a wide prism of bilingual adults. Some can speak but not write both languages. Some can understand but can’t speak the second language and others could understand it when younger but not any more. It all comes down to how much time and effort their parents have put into it. So, let’s see what we’ll manage!
“τάνανο, μαμά, τάνανο!!!” (μελομακάρονο)
walks around trying to find his bus “πού είναι? πού είναι….there it is!….κόκκινο bus”