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I knows my nose – Bilingual-/Biculturalism

September 16, 2011

Philipp now knows where his nose is – in English AND German.

This is a hugely important milestone (everyone needs to know where there nose is located, right), which took me somewhat by surprise. I mean, of course we are actively raising Philipp bilingually but I assumed the practicalities of doing so would only emerge once he’s talking and according to pretty much everyone in the world, he won’t be doing that for a good while yet (being 1. male and 2. bilingual)

Several things occurred to me then: Philipp already laughs at me when I speak German. I swear he does! I’m assuming this isn’t going to change in the future and my English accent’s likely to become a source of embarassment to him in the future.

He’s unlikely to grow up with my amazingly awesome Geordie (North East English) accent (which I simply can’t lose for some reason). This may cause him to feel like an outsider when confronted with our family in the UK. (My brothers think I’m posh for goodness sake!)

Culturally, he will effectively be German. This makes me a little afraid because culturally I’m British and you know, cultual differences and all that…? Or does me being British mean he’ll also pick up some of that Britishness?

The final frightening thought was “We need to find a decent, not-too-far-away bilingual school”. OUCH.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Damian permalink
    September 17, 2011 08:42

    My four year old half Greek nephew told me off last time I visited because I used a few words of Greek when talking with his gran. He’s used to me speaking English, so I was told “You don’t speak like that!” before continuing with “You speak…” and translating what I’d just said into English. I think an unexpected language from someone just confuses or amuses small children. Or maybe that’s just the effect I have 🙂

  2. schustsa permalink
    September 17, 2011 18:20

    Eine zweisprachige Kommilitonin von mir meinte mal, sie suche sich aus beiden Kulturen einfach das beste raus und es sei keine Frage, ob sie sich deutsch oder französisch fühle, sie sei einfach beides. In diesem Sinne geht’s Philipp bestimmt auch super mit einer englischen Mama und einem deutschen Papa! 🙂 Liebe Grüße an Euch, Saskia und Miss Sophia

  3. September 17, 2011 18:53

    At least it’s Berlin. There are quite a few bi-lingual schools to choose from. Yes, alas they’re mostly in the west. We’re going to start going to the open days for the bi-lingual schools this year which are all happening in the next few weeks. The Charles Dickens open day was today but given that it’s already costing a fortune to get O on the school bus to her school I am ruling that one out from the start. I’m really hoping that if we do stay here longer term I can get her into the Nelson Mandela school. It’s close to us and I have met some pupils from there and their English and German were perfect. It was hard to tell which was their native language.

    There is also a bilingual primary school in Friedrichshain and the secondary is starting next year, Berlin Kids International School (, so maybe that would be an option.

    • Lorna permalink
      September 17, 2011 19:23

      Thanks for the info. Even considering schools now makes me feel a little nausious: We really only just started KiTa!

      I heard good things about Nelson Mandela school as well but being up in the North East we’re a bit far away. There’s a new private (eeeep!) bilingual school opened up here so we’ll see what that looks like (in terms of finances as well but if you say getting O to school on the bus is expensive then we may well save some money choosing a private school that’s within walking distance!)

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