My daughter Vera is now a few months older than two, and like many parents, my husband and I have been marvelling and taking delight over her speech development. Like so many German Way readers, we are doing our best to raise her multilingually and have gone the route of one parent one language (OPOL).
Unsurprisingly, Vera’s first words were in English, her mother’s mother tongue, followed by a smattering of German. Progressively though, her dominant language has become German. She attends a German day care (Kindertagesstätte/Kita) every morning, so along with speaking with her father, she gets a lot of input auf Deutsch. And not unusually, she mixes her languages frequently. When she discovered infinitives, she made up her own. I offered to cut her food for her, and she responded, “Cutten!”
More recently, she announced, “I like it nicht,” and likes to say things like, “Everybody gehen!” We are not worried about her Denglish believing that it will all sort itself out as she develops, and we have been reassured that this is all normal.
I wasn’t ready for this one though: When asking for wipes, she said, “vipes!” or when expressing amazement, “vow!” and when singing along to a nursery rhyme, “Baa baa black sheep, have you any vool?” I knew when she started to sort her rubbish correctly at sixteen months (disposing cookie crumbs in the compost bin and the plastic wrap in the yellow sack) that she was a real German girl — but so Tschürmenn?