As we all know, studying a language is different from living a language. There is a very directed and purposeful process that occurs when we study a language.
This makes sense: as adults, we already understand how language works (grammar, declensions, parts of speech) so we now apply those rules to yet another language. We study the pieces bit by bit and then use them to construct new sentences with these individual pieces. However, our children shouldn’t be expected to study our language(s). Talk about boring!
Language living is what we do when we share our language with our children on a daily basis: we surround them with our languages and allow them to absorb these languages over time. We may point out grammar errors now and then but ultimately we are our children’s example for how to use languages in every day life and we share it with them without expecting them to understand the underlying constructs.
Learning a Language as a Family
Studying a language is no small task but it can be so much fun to do it as a family. I highly recommend it!
If you are learning a second language as a family, here are some tips that we would like to pass on from our own experiences:
- Playful. It is particularly important for a family to just let go of the weight of learning a language and instead play with it as much as possible. Your kids follow your lead and can see that being playful is not only ok, it is the best way to approach it. They act out the language, call out colors in the grocery store. It is such a wonderful excuse to spend time together having fun!