Raising my child mainly in my second language, wasn’t something I really thought hard about.
It’s something that kind of just happened naturally during the course of our lives. My husband is English-speaking and the little man stays with his loving English granny during the day, so he’s naturally inclined to pick up English words. Next year he will also be attending an English playschool, as we live in a predominantly English-speaking area.
His mother’s tongue
I suppose I should be making more of an effort to speak my first language, Afrikaans, to him. But somehow it seems more important that I encourage him to increase his already growing vocabulary of English words.
Maybe I also feel that I will confuse him, if he speaks to me in English and I answer in Afrikaans. I just hope he doesn’t pick up my English accent. 😛
He does know some Afrikaans words, like bad (taking a bath) and stout (naughty).
Cultural shift in South Africa
There’s been a lot of cultural change from the time of my childhood, when South Africa became a democratic country.
My cultural exposure
I attended an Afrikaans school and watched Afrikaans tv programmes. That was my cultural exposure. There were economic sanctions against the country then and we weren’t really exposed to many foreign tv programmes and films until later in our lives.
My child(ren’s) cultural exposure
It seems that my child(ren) will attend English schools and grow up surrounded by English/American culture. In a way this will be to their benefit, as English is now predominantly the language of business and tertiary education.
I’ve never been a particularly patriotic Afrikaner, but I do wonder if I shouldn’t be doing more to teach my child his mother’s language.
As a working mother, I don’t have much time and I’m afraid I’ll end up just doing the easiest thing and leaving him to become immersed in the English culture.
I will do my best, but I can only hope that the school he eventually attends also manages to instil an interest and love of the Afrikaans language and culture in him.