13 November 2013

The Difference a Day and a Half Makes

The Little Man has officially been in school since Monday. He spent all day on Monday and a half day on Tuesday (it was a studiedag) completely surrounded by the Dutch language. And let me tell you - there is a huge difference made in just a day and a half.

I'll admit, I was a bit nervous on his behalf on Monday morning. From now on, all day every weekday he will be in a sink or swim situation as far as learning Dutch. I know that kid's ability to pick up another language is better than an adult's, but even so I worried that the peuterspeelzaal could only do so much to prepare him, (he was only there 2-3 hours four times a week) and I could do even less since I'm still learning myself. I haven't truly been sure as to what he could do in Dutch since he is often reluctant to speak Dutch with me; but at the same time I often wondered how far along he was with the language, especially when he would insist, "Mama, at thuis, I speak Engels." (Mama, at home, I speak English.) Or, "Mijn Nederlands is niet zo goed. Ik spreek alleen een kleine beetje Nederlands." (My Dutch isn't very good. I only speak a tiny bit of Dutch.) Yeah... sure you do, kid.

But, despite my concern of sink or swim, he's in it now - and he seems to be swimming. It might just be the dog paddle at this stage, but it's certainly better than nothing. His teachers have both said that he's a bit shy (which we knew) which makes finding out what he already knows a bit difficult, but they feel he'll soon settle in, learn the rules, and start speaking Dutch more freely.

And already, after just a day and a half, I have seen the difference. Both days, Little Man was sprinkling his English conversation with me with far more Dutch nouns and verbs than normal - and I heard his dinosaurs speaking Dutch to each other during some of his solo play.

Some of our Dutch dinos.


There's still quite a bit for him to learn, but it's coming. I'm relieved, and thankful. And amazed at what a kid can accomplish in just a day and a half.

Do you have an unexpected experience with language learning (or learning in general)?

10 comments:

  1. Seriously, give him like one month and he'll be fluent! I come from a Dutch family who've all expatriated (France, USA, Germany, New Zealand) and it's amazing how fast my little cousins pick up their new language, not to mention how fast my dad remembers picking up his first three languages. I can't wait to hear about the inevitable adorable code switching (like my little cousin who says, "Guess what ich habe gestern ge-done?") :)

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  2. Thanks! I'm really feeling better about the whole thing now.

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  3. It's so crazy to see what they can do - and it's really fun to be a part of it =)

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  4. It's amazing what kids' brains can handle. I expect he'll be correcting my Dutch soon. We'll have to see what his sentence structure and vocabulary do in the next few weeks. =)

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  5. What a trooper! Damn kids, why cant we have their spongey brains and absorb the language as fast? I really am glad things have worked out for him AND his dutch speaking dinos.

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  6. Kids are so amazing! I have a friend here whose son goes to German kindergarten and he uses both languages and combines them. It's so cute! I wish we had the ability as adults to learn so quickly and speak so easily!

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  7. Ah, that's so cool/cute! Dutch speaking dinosaurs! I've read that children learn a lot from their peers (so I have a flat accent while my parents have a kind of rural one); not only are kids kind of hardwired to pick up language, but they really need it to survive and make friends.

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  8. Thanks! I'm really glad to see him adjusting well. Those little language centers are on overdrive! It makes me feel like my brain is too lazy...

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  9. I know what you mean! We have to work so much harder at the whole thing. For his sake, I'm glad its easier. =)

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  10. It's very true. The language center is growing and developing anyway, so throwing in another language is easier for kids. And since their peers are also using relatively simple language, it's easier too. Makes me a bit jealous. =)

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