When in Rome…

July 29th, 2013

Yesterday evening we were sitting outside an Eiscafé where my little girl shared an icecream with her grandpa. It must have made her thirsty because she asked: “à boire”. When after several repeats of the requests no one reacted, she asked “trinken?”. Grandpa promptly asked her “Du möchtest was trinken?” and signalled for the waitress. […]

Yes, I’m jumping up and down in my excitement. So what was the big thing? My little girl has been peppering her French sentences with German words for a month or two now (more markedly since those two brief visits to Germany in May), but the full “pure” German sentence remained elusive. Now today we’d […]


July 24th, 2013

Yesterday, my girl surprised me once again with a stunning leap between languages similar to the pasta & fries one. Daddy had told her today they would be going to the Cité des Enfants, a great hands-on experience for 2-to-7-year-olds (another section is geared at 5-to-12-year-olds) at La Villette. Cité des Enfants literally translates to […]

Turtle in the morning

July 17th, 2013

Sometimes I feel sorry for my daughter when she tries repeatedly to tell me something in German, and I don’t get it. The other day, she outright shouted “fourchette!” at me when I didn’t get her request for a “Gabel” (fork). But how was I to understand that the first thing she said to me […]

On the changing table

July 15th, 2013

Our little girl made me laugh the other day when she took up an expression we’ve been using with her more or less since birth – saying “hoch den Popo” as we lift her legs to put the diaper in place underneath. She still needs a diaper for the night these days, and recently she’s […]

One person one language

July 11th, 2013

You know we practise the principle of “one person one language” (or “one parent one language”) at home, that is, Daddy speaks French and Mommy speaks German. Yesterday evening I realised there is another person and, yes, another language, present in the household, when I said “Alright!” to my daughter. “Toi dis pas alright. Dora […]

Guten Morgen?

July 10th, 2013

Die Zweisprachigkeit in unserer Familie färbt auch auf den Papa ab. Gestern, gegen Mittag, bei ihm im Büro: Kollege F. will die deutsche Kollegin K. auf Deutsch grüßen: “Guten Morgen!” Kollegin K.: “Vu l’heure, je dirais plutôt Guten Tag.” (Angesichts der Uhrzeit würde ich eher “Guten Tag” sagen.) Kollege F. sucht Verstärkung und fragt den […]

Pasta and fries

July 7th, 2013

When this afternoon, returning to the car at a shopping centre, our little girl asked about “les pâtes”, we thought she was talking about dinner. But when the question came again, “les pâtes pour la piscine” (the pasta for the swimming pool) this time, we had to dig a little deeper. Take a guess before […]

Nouns and adjectives

July 7th, 2013

The other day it hit me again how most of the German words our now three-year-old uses in her mixed sentences are either nouns or adjectives. A linguist could probably give me a complicated explanation, but I’ll stick with the simple one that they are easier to use than verbs. Examples? Donne-moi la Buch! (By […]

Daily mixing

July 4th, 2013

My little girl just turned three, and she talks a lot – in French, but liberally sprinkled with German words, such as: “Donne-moi da [das] Buch.” If you ask her “How does mommy say?”, she’ll immediately provide German words for such terms as aujourd’hui – heute (today), jaune – gelb (yellow) or hippo – Nilpferd […]

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