Friday, October 01, 2004

Celeste hat nicht gern die deutsche Sprache.*

Part of it is because I stumble over words a lot (it's been years since I've had to speak German and in university I always did a better job with my accent and pronunciation than I did with remembering vocabulary), but there's just something about German that makes the little girl cry.

I want to at least expose Celeste to the sounds of other languages while she's young. I can't claim fluency, but I am trying to talk to her a little in German, Cajun French, and Spanish, as well as stray phrases I remember from other languages. Much of it is babbling, trying to convince her to go to sleep or just telling her how beautiful and smart she is or how happy her mother and I are to have her around, but hopefully, if nothing else, it will give those language mapping sections of her rapidly developing brain a little exercise until she's old enough for us to start trying some variation of Baby Sign.

But, getting back to the title of this post, for some reason, Celeste really doesn't cotton to German. For the most part, I'm speaking it in "parentese," but phrases in German seem more likely to encourage crying than to stop it. It could be she's just embarrassed by my efforts, but I'm not sure.

For a while a Cajun lullaby caused her some distress, but that might have been because I used it to try to calm her when she was getting her heel stuck over and over and over again while in hospital for the jaundice treatments. Now that (or variations on the fais-do-do theme) seem to calm her.

But telling her what a good little girl she is or how pretty she is, if I say it in German, just get little huffs that build to a full cry. Go figure.

*Assuming I wrote that correctly: "Celeste doesn't like the German language."


Anita said...

I'm speaking French to our guy, but I feel like we ought to have some chinese or japanese tapes playing somewhere. By six months, kids lose the ability to hear the subtle differences in sounds between these languages.

T. Carter said...

There's the Neurosmith Babbler that uses flashing lights and babbled phrases in French, Spanish, and Japanese to keep a baby's attention ...

(I'm trying to pick one up on eBay since I can't find one at the local Babies R Us ...)

I have no idea if it'll help Celeste's brain set aside a little space for those non-English sounds or not, but I figure it can't hurt ...

marchenland said...

Are you all doing Baby Signs? I've been trying to find anyone who's done this, just out of curiosity. I don't really move in the sort of circles that have babies, much less that attempt New Agey Baby-Rearing techniques, so I don't know anyone who's tried it. I did meet a woman and pre-verbal baby in an airport who were using it, and it was fascinating. The woman swore by it.