Saturday, March 6, 2010

Manners for bilingual kids

One of the challenges I've found in bringing up children speaking English in Spain is that they need to be more polite when in English-mode. Say "What!?" when you didn't understand something works fine in Spanish, but doesn't work so well in more up-tight cultures. Getting them to say "Please" and "Thank you" is practically impossible. It's still kind of cute when my 3 year old says "What? What?" and "Come on!", but I imagine it will become less cute as the years progress. My kids are also sounding a bit too Canadian, with the Catalan multipurpose "Eh" creeping into their speech patterns. ("Huh" is also becoming a favorite)

Luckily they are still young enough so that the "casual-use-of-swearwords-for-emphasis" isn't an issue yet, but probably will in the next couple years.

1 comment:

From Barcelona said...

It reminds me of a joke. A woman and her son walk into a store. The shopkeeper says, "What candy would you like today?"

"Huh?" replies the boy receiving a quick clip around the ears.

"It's not 'huh'," says his mother. "It's wha."