Lögberg-Heimskringla - 03.10.1963, Blaðsíða 6

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 03.10.1963, Blaðsíða 6
6 LÖGBERG-HEIMSKRINGLA, FIMMTUDAGINN 3. OKTÓBER 1963 BRINGING UP Framhald irá bls. 5. cause I do not wanit learning Swedish to be at all like work or study. Have we then had no prob- lems? The answer cannot be given as an unqualified “yes,” but the qualifications have main- ly to do with self-discipline, the mixing of languages, and culturaí attitudes. Self-disci- pline is undoubtedly the big- gest. It was definitely strange for Astrid and me to start talking Swedish with each other. Then, keeping it up day after day was hard. But ev- entually it became a habit. With the children, one runs into the problem of continu- ally reminding them to speak Swedish without having to re- sort to nagging. But it can be done. The children will go through one or more phases of resistance. At those points it is best to remember that you know more about the world than the child does and can make a better judgment about the value of a second language than he can. Mixing languages occurs when a young child is leam- ing two languages simultane- ously. At first Vicken heard only Swedish from us, but of course only English from her playmates. She would, as a consequence, tend to mix her languages, saying such things as: “Jag vill ha ett glas wa- ter”; “Jag vill get ner”; “Jag vill ha ved. att bygga ett hus, jor jag vill spela hus.” Or with her playmates, “I don’t wan to slip going along,” and so forth. Some parents would be horrified at this. Actually, little children experience no frustration on this score. They know you speak in a certain way to certain people and in another to others. It never bothered her playmates when Vicken used a Swedish word. Either she would find out what the others called the thing or else all the children would adopt the S w e d i s h word. One amusing incident occurred when we were living in an apartment house. Vick- en always called me “Pappa,” whereas the other children called their fathers “Daddy.” Soon I was called “Pappa” by all the children in the build- ing. I guess they thought that was my name. It was just a bit embarrassing when I would appear in the park and children from several differ- ent mothers would come run- ning up to me calling “Pap- pa”! As a child grows older he comes to distinguish between languages and this problem disappears. Accents do not disappear so easily. But we had no problem about that, since Vicken heard both Am- erican and Swedish words in their proper pronunciation (at least from her mother), not accented English spoken by a foreignJbom. A greater problem for more people has to do with cultural attitudes. Very often I meet second-generation Polish-, It- alian-, Japanese, or even Swedish-Americans who have rebelled against speaking the language of their parents be- cause they associate that lan- guage with a lower social sta- tus. Children can pick up such attitudes even before grade school. They soon form a de- sire to dissociate themselves from their cultural back- ground in order to conform more closely to what they conceive to be the “100% American” types around them. This happens mostly where there is a minority commu- nity. When a child gets the idea that his cultural heritage is somehow “inferior,” it may take some skillful edueation at home to convince him that his background is something to be proud of. It is difficult to keep from going to the oth- er extreme and implanting the equally pernicious idea that his heritage is “superior.” In our case, there is no min- ority problem. Our little “in- doctrination” at home has so far succeeded i n making Swedish something “special,” something that is fun and de- sirable. Other chdldren come over and say they want to learn Swedish, too. Since Astrid and I have had so much initial success with our two li-ttle daughters, we would like to recommend to all bilinguals who have or are about to have children that they take a little pain to pass on to their children the won- derful gift of a second lan- guage. Generalizing from our own experience and that of friends of ours, the recipe miight run something like this: (1) Choose a language which either or both parents speak without an accent. We know of a Pole whose American wife speaks no Polish but who addresses their child only in Polish. To help the situation, they have decided to get a Polish maid. If one parent is weak in the second language (such as having learned French in high school and thus having no household vo- cabulary), he can learn along with and a little ahead of the child. He should supplement learning from his spouse with some self-study and as much reading for pleasure as pos- sible, both aloud for the child and on a more adult level to himself. The child will tend to acquire the accent of the more fluent parent. (2) The process can be be- gun at almost any age, but the younger the better. I know of a very successful White Rus- sian couple who d e c i d e d , when their children were ten and twelve, that they should know Russian. They just made it a rule that at the dinner table no conversation was per- mitted except in Russi'an. It is a good idea to have a core time and place for conversing in the second language. One must also have the authority and self-discipline to over- come the resistance phase, which may come early in old- er children and late in young- er ones. (3) Outside stimuli should be used wherever convenient. A variety of interesting read- ing matter in the second lan- guage should be supplement- ed by a record collection of songs and stories as an aid in leaming things by heart in a perfect accent. Grandparents who still retain a command of the second language should help with the teaching of the grandchildren. One s h o u 1 d make a special effort to have the children meet any guests who speak the language. Cor- respondence in the language can be begun with relatives or new foreign friends. Joining any relevant foreign singing, folk dancing,, or other cultur- al groups is educational fun. And all this prepares for the best stimulus of all—a trip to the “old country,” with its many new impressions and experiences and its unequaled opportunities for putting one’s second language to good use. —The American Scandinavian Review, Spring 1960. Mörgum mun enn í mirini bruninn mikli hér 1 Reykja- vík 1915 og hvernig hann bar að. Var mikið um drauma og fyrirburði fyrir þeim ósköp- um, og voru sumir af þeim draumum prentaðir í blöðun- um hér í Reykjavík. Utanbæjarkona sagði mér draum, sem ekki mun hafa farið hátt. En þar sem nú fer að fyrnast yfir þessa rauna- atburði, þá set ég hér draum- inn. Stúlku á bæ sögumanns míns dreymdi, að hún stóð úti undir bæjarvegg, var lítið eitt brugðið birtu. Sér hún þá, að maður kemur ríðandi og fer mikinn. Hann reið rauð- um hesti, og var sem neistaði af faxi hans og tagli. Maður þessi var klæddur hertygj- um, eins og hún hafði lesið um, að riddarar báru á fyrri öldum, var hann gyrður sverði og bar logandi kyndil í annarri hendi. Þegar hann kom í námunda við hana, leit hann til hennar og kvað: Ég á bæði brand og glóð, ber ég hel í sverði. Þá bragnar syngja brúðkaupsljóð, betra er að standa á verði. Öxarárfoss Maður er manns gaman. Margt er manna bölið. * * ft * ♦ * Margt er í hjóna hjali. Margs fer óframur á mis. 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