Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘Canada

English and French: the two official languages of Canada, and Borys and I definitely want Niko to learn both of them. Speaking both languages will provide him with so many more options in the future.  Seeing as English is always around him, that’s a done deal. And as for French, well Borys speaks it, and Niko will probably end up attending French Immersion or a French school, so yes he will speak French, but what about a third language?

With a trilingual (Polish, French and English – learned in that order) daddy Niko has the opportunity to learn even one more language. If it was up to me, I’d like him to learn all three. But seeing as I don’t speak much Polish – well let’s face it, I can probably count the number words I can say using just my fingers – the process of teaching Polish to Niko would be left completely in Borys’ hands. On occasion Borys speaks Polish to him, but he says it feels sort of strange because I don’t know what’s being said, and our family conversations are all in English. Actually, in talking with another couple they also want their child to learn English and French, but the father feels the same way Borys does about talking to him in his first language (which is neither English, nor French) – he says it just doesn’t feel natural; it feels more like he is teaching his baby as opposed to just living life.

What are others’ thoughts on this? Should a baby learn as many languages as possible if they have first hand access to the language? I find it strange that I’m the one pushing for Polish, and Borys is somewhat resistant. But, when it comes down to it, I’m not the one that would be speaking and teaching it to baby N. He is. So I guess it really is out of my hands.

In a country like Canada, being bilingual is a definite asset.  Living in Ottawa many more doors are opened if you can speak both of the country’s official languages, and in the future we hope that Niko speaks both English and French fluently.  He seems to be off to a bilingual start anyway, just not a French and English one.

Both Borys and I are used to hearing the regular sounds of crying, cooing, gurgling, and grunting that come from our little guy (especially grunting).  But we were caught off guard the other day when standing in the kitchen and we heard him say “Baba Yaga” (sounds like bubba yugga).  This is how it happened:

Niko: Baba Yaga

Borys/Allison: Did he just say Baba Yaga?!

Borys/Allison: Yes, it sounded clearly like Baba Yaga?

Allison: Hmm…what does that mean? Baba Yaga?

Borys: In Polish that means witch, or it’s this witch-like character.

Allison: Hey, I think I remember reading about Baba Yaga when I was a kid.

Well, after a bit of research and with the guidance of Wikipedia, I have discovered more about Baba Yaga.  Yes, she is a witch-like character that “flies around on a giant mortar or broomstick, kidnaps (and presumably eats) small children, and lives in a house which stands on chicken legs”. What? Eats small children! Oh, Niko, why would you choose this for your first word?!

To complete his bilingual repertoire, last night as we were all lying in bed watching TV, Niko chest down on top of me and gazing around intently, said “Hi”. This is how it went:

Niko: Hi.

Borys/Allison: Did he just say “hi”?!

Borys/Allison: It sounded just like it! Weird.

So, for a baby just over two months old we are clearly impressed by his vocal abilities.  We just hope this continues when he has to learn French!

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