The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Life  % width posts: 74

Passing your Polish language and culture to your kids


Varsovian 92 | 634
27 Feb 2010 #1
In England I read Brzechwa and Tuwim to our toddlers and we had Polish satellite TV.

Now, after 10 years in Poland and our efforts, our teenagers speak virtually faultless English and are up to date on UK news and current affairs. TV has been central to our cultural policy.

My wife and I mainly speak English at home (she's Polish), though we do lapse into Polish when talking about school - they go to the village school, not one of those overpriced international ones.

I give one English lesson a week - our two and a Polish-American boy making up the class. We do linguistic things in addition to a wide variety of other topics. Occasionally, we do Shakespeare - to date: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet. SparkNotes are invaluable supports to me for that.

I don't want my kids to be viewed as half-educated weirdos when they go to England. And their English cousins were really surprised when they came over here and found that our two could speak normal English without a "funny" accent.

Sadly, not everyone does this. I know many Polish families in England where the kids don't really speak Polish, and some Anglo families in Poland where the youngest kids don't speak what I see is acceptable English.
yvonne - | 2
13 Sep 2010 #2
I totaly agree i am 60 and my mother is polish we were never taught the language
i have found my first cousin and visit twice a year but the language is very hard to learn i am working at it but slowly

yvonne
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
13 Sep 2010 #3
If the parents have 2 different native languages, the child should learn both.

It's easy for a child to learn 2 languages perfectly.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
13 Sep 2010 #4
+1

Especially if they learn both from a young age - they won't even notice that they are learning.

The Poles I know in Ireland all have kids that were born there - and they are all bilingual. In fact one is about to add French and Gaeilge to their skills - God help them.
poland_
13 Sep 2010 #5
My wife and I mainly speak English at home (she's Polish), though we do lapse into Polish when talking about school - they go to the village school, not one of those overpriced international ones.

Firstly, I would start off by saying that if you have the opportunity, sending your child to one of the international schools is very important for the child's cultural identity. We have two children. My wife and I are Polish/British, she graduated from the Warsaw university of linguistics. It is very important to understand that children do not become bi-lingual overnight and it can be very frustrating for a child. My eldest child is now polyglot and the younger one will be there in a couple of years. This has been achieved by a combination of the knowledge of my wife and the desire of our children to learn,there is no hard fast rule and it requires a lot of hard work from all involved.

Finally, in support of international schools, especially at the younger age,if a child is comfortable in his/her surroundings and understand that they are just the same as many of their school friends, then they can grow into well formed children. If a child of a Polish/British family is placed into a Polish or English school they will always be different and their are no other children to identify with.

If the parents have 2 different native languages, the child should learn both. It's easy for a child to learn 2 languages perfectly.

It is twice as hard for a child and this is were so many people go wrong, you are not born with languages, you have to work at them. Based on your theory if a child is born to two Doctors does that mean it will be easy to get through medical school.
f stop 25 | 2,513
13 Sep 2010 #6
I gave up completely. There is not much in Polish culture that is attractive to my beasty boy. He admires the Polish people who are not afraid to join him on his adventures (and most of our Polish visitors are all for watersports in the daytime/alcoholsports at night), but has no intention of learning Polish. He believes that we should all be learning the same language, not 15 different ones. He does not like Polish food at all (that is a blessing, most of the time, since he devours all other food in my refridgerator), likes dark-haired girls, and except for some passing interest in ice sailing, is very resistant to the idea of visiting Poland.

I might add he travels all over the world promoting surf clothes etc.
RysiekK 6 | 38
13 Sep 2010 #7
Especially if they learn both from a young age - they won't even notice that they are learning.

I learned Polish BEFORE I learned English .... Thanks to my parents ! And now that I will be moving to Poland at 45 years of age... I appreciate the knowledge even more!
slonce - | 21
13 Sep 2010 #8
warszawski

you are wrong,so wrong!!!!
i am polish my husband is english,we live in england ,my daughter speaks english and polish perfect!!!!!
its possible and easy to do!!!we done it, and people who say is not that easy are just lazy and never put enought of work for that to happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
13 Sep 2010 #9
Sadly, not everyone does this.

This is a bit of a strange thread.

If I read this correctly, it sounds like you are praising yourself for teaching your kids two languages and pointing fingers at people who don't.

If the parents have 2 different native languages, the child should learn both.

Why "should" they?
Who made you decider of what parents should do?

I am amazed by the enthusiasm to judge on these forums, I mean really are your lives perfect that you have nothing better to do than to sit around judging others?

I think it is great that you taught your children two languages but I just think it's naff the way you are going about on a high horse.
poland_
14 Sep 2010 #10
Slonce, When you say perfect, do you mean your child could go into a Polish school at the same grade they are now and not be put back a year or need extra help.

There are standards in education that children must achieve and I dot set these standards the schools do. Your child may speak polish well,but do they read and write at the same level for their age group in Poland. Furthermore if you read what I had to say, I was pointing out that people believe, because a child has parents of different nationality's they acquire the languages of their parents without effort.( its natural). The language acquisition for bi-lingual children is a process. If a child is taught in the British system when they get to age of 7/8 they will need specialist help to acquire the polish sounds, because the brain will opt for the easy chioce. It is wonderful what you are doing for your child.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
14 Sep 2010 #11
Definitely, start 'em young! I once saw a 3-year-old girl of mixed Brit-Lebanese parents in Warsaw who flawlessyl turned from one person to another in the same sitting-room, answering dad in English, mum in French, granddad in Arabic and the nannny in Polsih. It was normal, automatic with no effort or exertion detectable.... In America, foreign langauegs are taught too late, in secondary school if at all. By then it's merely a make-work exercise of little practical value.
ender 5 | 398
14 Sep 2010 #12
Who made you decider of what parents should do?

CALM DOWN!!!

He meant: 'the child should be able learn both. And you should use your brain before y.ou jump on someone.
Patrycja19 63 | 2,699
14 Sep 2010 #13
Sadly, not everyone does this. I know many Polish families in England where the kids don't really speak Polish, and some Anglo families in Poland where the youngest kids don't speak what I see is acceptable English.

well maybe this was the case for families in America, my grandparents all three died so long
ago, I was mad because I never met them, it was unfair to me, because I only met
one grandmother the only thing I rememer from her is her holding me I think I was like
2 years old then her death when my mom was crying. no other memories.

why I remember this I dont know.

but if I could ask them, why didnt you tell my parents to teach me polish, I think the same
answer would have been given.. of course who knows.

but I know growing up, just because my last name had a ski on the end of it, thats all
kids needed to make fun, to say mean things and now as a adult you have other adults
telling you that you cant identify with your heritage..

I truely hope karma comes their way, I am praying for this.
And I believe it will..
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
14 Sep 2010 #14
Who made you decider of what parents should do?

I don't decide what other people must do.

But I make my own choices when it comes to my own thoughts and opinions. What I write should be considered as what I think other people should do. Not what they actually must do. And I don't judge people who have the opposite opinion. But I know that these children usually benefit a lot from being bilingual.

I have several bilingual friends, who all are very happy that their parents gave them this gift. I also know a few people who are disappointed that their parents didn't gave them this opportunity in life.
f stop 25 | 2,513
14 Sep 2010 #15
But I know that these children usually benefit a lot from being bilingual.

actually, I remember studies that show that children that spoke foreign language at home, upon entering primary school were at a disadvantage, and frequently confused the two langauges.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
14 Sep 2010 #16
There are standards in education that children must achieve and I dot set these standards the schools do. Your child may speak polish well,but do they read and write at the same level for their age group in Poland.

My daughter is in a similar situation as hers. She reads and writes in Polish better than many Poles who never left Poland. She's reading something by Kapuscinski right now. According to her the translation is botched.

The language acquisition is certainly a process, and it doesn't matter whether it's bi- or mono-lingual children. If the parents speak in a language to the child since the child's birth there is no need for a specialist. None.

The most complex linguistic situation I know in a family (not mine) is that of two children, now aged 35. They both speak, read and write perfect German, English, French and Arabic. That required some conscious effort on the part of the parents though.

The problem some children have arises from the fact that parents' skill in the foreign language is crude so they often fall back on their own children's skills to catch up and polish up their own. The result is that the parents learn a little more of the English language, while the children learn little Polish. The same rules apply to any other language.

Oh, and, I know people of Italian extraction, born in the US, whose English is at about the level of Chapter One- Lesson 3 of introductory English.

Oh, and that "7/8" years threshold is bollocks. It's actually a little later. Most linguist agree that it's around the age of 12 to 14, and applies only to children without prior exposure to a given language.
LAGirl 9 | 496
14 Sep 2010 #17
Parents should ass on their Polish language and culture to their children or the culture will die off and they would be totally affrimated into a melting pot socity.
poland_
14 Sep 2010 #18
Oh, and that "7/8" years threshold is bollocks. It's actually a little later. Most linguist agree that it's around the age of 12 to 14

Darius, really then I have to accept that the language teachers that taught my children were correct, when they considered their linguistic abilities well beyond their years.

[quote=z_darius]applies only to children without prior exposure to a given language.[/quote

The above is biggest load of bull I have ever heard.I have direct experience of this situation with one of my own children and know at least six other bi-lingual children of a similar age group that have had the same problem and been treated at the age of 7/8.

You also mentioned your daughter was reading a book by Ryszard Kapuściński. If she is reading the book in Polish, how can the translation be botched, when Ryszard Kapuściński wrote his books in his native language of Polish and your daughter is reading the book in Polish.

You should understand this is NOT a pissing contest for who's child is better, it is a place to discuss common interests.
plk123 8 | 4,149
14 Sep 2010 #19
It's easy for a child to learn 2 languages perfectly.

No to kiedy chcesz się spotkać?
I agree with this statement.. if one parent speaks one language and the other the other language to their toddler then there is really no reason the child can't be perfectly bi-lingual. i know of plenty of children that are this way.

CALM DOWN!!!

yeah, no kidding.

In America, foreign langauegs are taught too late, in secondary school if at all.

you either live in a crappy state or something.. because most kids in the sates i know learn foreign languages at least in high school and many do so in elementary school.

actually, I remember studies that show that children that spoke foreign language at home, upon entering primary school were at a disadvantage, and frequently confused the two langauges.

yes but that is only very temporary.. like in K or 1st grade.. after that it's a definite advantage.

If the parents speak in a language to the child since the child's birth there is no need for a specialist. None.

yup.

glad to see you around

the culture will die off and they would be totally affrimated into a melting pot socity.

there isn't really anything wrong with that either, imho

The above is biggest load of bull I have ever heard.I have direct experience of this situation with one of my own children and know at least six other bi-lingual children of a similar age group that have had the same problem and been treated at the age of 7/8.

maybe just maybe your children are a bit slow.. darius is right and that has been my experience too,.

You should understand this is NOT a pissing contest for who's child is better, it is a place to discuss common interests.

then do so as you're the only who is pissing in the wind here.
poland_
14 Sep 2010 #20
maybe just maybe your children are a bit slow.. darius is right and that has been my experience too,.

Maybe they are a bit slow, lets see my 13 year old's is Polyglot, First Polish, second English, French and Spanish at the same level. Fluent in reading ,speaking writing in all languages. In Aug 2010 started German according to the teacher my child will be fluent inside 12 months.

According to the head of the Linguistics department, there is a maximum of 10 children at this level in Poland.

Second Child 10 years old First Polish, Second English, Fluent in reading,speaking and writing, third Spanish conversational, reading and writing age level 7, Fourth, French basic conversational,reading and writing.

They have lived in Poland,Spain and Belgium.

Education-International and Polish schools.

We know what we are talking about first hand.
plk123 8 | 4,149
15 Sep 2010 #21
^^ i think you just made z-darius' point. good job. lol
poland_
15 Sep 2010 #22
There are many gifted children out,the problem is the parents or the teachers, do not do enough to take it to the next level, and that is just a waste of talent. So

Definitely, start 'em young!

because

The language acquisition is certainly a process, and it doesn't matter whether it's bi- or mono-lingual children. If the parents speak in a language to the child since the child's birth

following a development plan with a expert in linguistics, the acquisition of languages becomes easier as they get older. 'It is not about what ability your child has,the main question is what are you going to do with it?"
plk123 8 | 4,149
15 Sep 2010 #23
i'll go with that. :)
z_darius 14 | 3,968
15 Sep 2010 #24
Darius, really then I have to accept that the language teachers that taught my children were correct

I don't know what that refers to.
What I wrote is not some invention of mine. This is based on research (not mine). When you write about linguistic abilities it may mean a lot of things. For instance the linguistic abilities of 50 year old autistic persons often leave a lot of room for improvement.

The above is biggest load of bull I have ever heard.I have direct experience of this situation with one of my own children and know at least six other bi-lingual children of a similar age group that have had the same problem and been treated at the age of 7/8.

Again, the information I posted is based on serious research by linguists and psychologists. Those particular observations of yours do not apply since the issue is not whether the children at the age of 7/8 will hit some problems in a new language acquisition. Of course they will. It would be idiotic to think otherwise. The issue is the linguistic competence and linguistic performance as defined by Noam Chomsky and the threshold age beyond which it is generally impossible to become linguistically competent. It is generally accepted that the barrier beyond which the chances to acquire it are at about the age I mentioned earlier. So the linguistic competence of those 7/8 olds (given the right context and circumstances) will be the same as of the native speakers of the language - eventually but not when they are just starting out.

You also mentioned your daughter was reading a book by Ryszard Kapuściński. If she is reading the book in Polish, how can the translation be botched, when Ryszard Kapuściński wrote his books in his native language of Polish and your daughter is reading the book in Polish.

I thought you'd figure out the response before you asked the silly question. Oh well, here it is - she read the English version first and she did not like the language. Just asked here again yesterday and she sticks to it - the translation is botched and devoid of the original color of the language.

You should understand this is NOT a pissing contest for who's child is better, it is a place to discuss common interests.

Not at all. I have an academic background in both linguistics and psychology. I also used to teach, and obviously I had to learn foreign languages. In addition, I have a direct experience with people who fall into the category of people we discuss here, not just my daughter by dozens, if not hundreds of speakers of Spanish, Yiddish, Italian etc. All new residents of New York City, some norther areas of NJ and fringes of Long Island.

following a development plan with a expert in linguistics, the acquisition of languages becomes easier as they get older. 'It is not about what ability your child has,the main question is what are you going to do with it?"

Apart from a very loose approach to the terminology, sadly, you appear to have a pretty vague understanding of psycholinguistics and thus you mix terms, circumstances and scenarios.

An older child (say 16 and on) will understand the written rules of the grammar and such, but a child who has been raised in a given language environment since birth does not need to be aware of those written rules. They grow into them. The 16 year old will more than likely be always distinguishable from a native speaker. A child who started in his/her infancy will not.

Guess how many perfectly bilingual children in Harlem owe their language skills to the efforts of their parents (if they even know who their parents are) or some wonderfully conceived and executed language learning plans? My guess would be 1 in 10 000.

As for the "studies" you mentioned, the figure of 10 perfectly bilingual children in Poland is 100% bogus. You'd need to test every single bilingual child in Poland to take this number seriously. Do you have a link to those results and how they arrived at them?
poland_
15 Sep 2010 #25
z_darius, we seem to have wires crossed,firstly I did not mention, there was a study carried out,please find below the quote.

According to the head of the Linguistics department, there is a maximum of 10 children at this level in Poland.

4 plus languages is considered polyglot not bilingual, there is a very big difference,especially in the age group of 13 year olds and below.

A child who started in his/her infancy will not.

I have no knowledge of 16 year olds, both of my children are younger, so I cannot comment.

[quote=z_darius]Not at all. I have an academic background in both linguistics and psychology.

I am sure that was a very rewarding job and I bet you met some very gifted children, is there a society in the states that helps gifted children from migrant families?

Going back to the original post, a child that shows a gift for languages is just that, nothing special, unless you do something with the skill, and take it to the next stage.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
15 Sep 2010 #26
z_darius, we seem to have wires crossed,firstly I did not mention, there was a study carried out,please find below the quote.

Fair enough but the thread was about bilingual kids, I thought.

I have no knowledge of 16 year olds, both of my children are younger, so I cannot comment.

I do, and literature is aware of gobs of those.

I am sure that was a very rewarding job and I bet you met some very gifted children, is there a society in the states that helps gifted children from migrant families?

WTF are you talking about?
What society? What gifted children? Humans speak languages.

All humans (give or take a psycholinguistic abnormality or two) speak a language, some more than one. For many, about the toughest part in the second language acquisition is to wake up in the morning. Of course, some "specialists" may tell you otherwise, or else they would not be able to put bread on their tables.
poland_
15 Sep 2010 #27
All new residents of New York City, some norther areas of NJ and fringes of Long Island.

When we talk about a society in this context, it would relate to a charity or foundation.

Fair enough but the thread was about bilingual kids, I thought.

The thread is about passing on your Polish language and culture to your kids, Varsovian in his first, wrote only about teaching his children English and Polish

Of course, some "specialists" may tell you otherwise, or else they would not be able to put bread on their tables.

My wife graduated as a Philologist from the Warsaw department of Linguistics in the early 90's, many went on to become leaders within their field in Poland. The only bread we butter are the schools our children attend, the rest is friends and family.
Montstella - | 1
16 Sep 2010 #28
I am definitely considering learning Polish in Melbourne.

My babcia told me she will teach me and not to pay to learn, but somehow with her firey Polish blood I don't think she will have the patience for me!

At 88 she is still able to speak Polish, German and some Russian after living in Aus for nearly 60 years!

Hopefully I have some basic Polish under my belt by the time I have kids so that I can teach them at an early age.
Bzibzioh
16 Sep 2010 #29
actually, I remember studies that show that children that spoke foreign language at home, upon entering primary school were at a disadvantage, and frequently confused the two langauges.

I don't believe that for a second! It's been proven that small kids can learn up to 4 languages without any confusion.

I gave up completely. There is not much in Polish culture that is attractive to my beasty boy.

You are just lazy mother looking for justification. You are robbing your kid of opportunity to talk to his grandparents and extended family. I know that teenage kids are rebellious and are not interested in knowing anything about the "old" country, but when they grow up they may regret that. Like my nephew, who is now, as an adult, re-learning Polish as well as Catholic religion (he went and got the confirmation on his own), and is very upset with his parents for neglecting him.
f stop 25 | 2,513
16 Sep 2010 #30
You are just lazy mother looking for justification.

you are probably right about the lazy thing, but not about looking for justification.
In the meantime, one makes choices everyday, and unless you walk in my shoes, you should not be so quick to judge. All of his family speaks English, and teaching him a language that he's never going to use was not a priority. I fought much harder for Spanish.


Home / Life / Passing your Polish language and culture to your kids
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.