Just the other day, we already looked through a “first words” book with my one year old for more than 5 seconds! Ok, my toddler doesn’t speak two languages yet…but she is at least listening to them.: )
But thinking of how I’ve spend the last eight years of my life with my older daughter, I think I said one million times „ ….in hungarian please!“ „Magyarul!“
Sometimes, I myself don’t understand why I find it so important for them to learn hungarian. One of the worlds most difficult languages, that not much of its population can speak. But then I remind myself, that this is their heritage through me and it is a language for free! My children will not learn any other language so easily and naturally.
It is very difficult to talk to your daughter only in Hungarian in another language environment, in our case Germany. Nobody speaks it, nor understands it. The father, the friends, the kids friends, the grandparents…unless you are ok with being rude and want to isolate yourself, it is sheer impossible. After Nursery school starts, the time when it is just the two of you around is extremely limited too.
So beside talking as much as I could in Hungarian with her, we played dolls only in Hungarian, read books, we played with KinderApp, send her to Saturday Kindergarten, Preschool and every time we could we went to Budapest or Lake Balafon and visited my parents and grandparents.
For 4 long years, it was a one way thing. I spoke to her in Hungarian and she answered mainly in German with a few Hungarian words. It was very frustrating… it would have been easier to speak in German too as that was my everyday language. Honestly, I thought many times on giving it up.
4 years ago, I left her with my parents for a week in Budapest. It was the first time we were separated and it was not easy for either of us but it was the most effective language overflow that she ever received! It was the first time she actively needed the language buried deep down in her.
The damn broke and my little girl finaly started talking in hungarian fluently and with a very german accent! I will never forget the overwhelming feeling, hearing her talk in my mother tongue for the first time in full sentences….yes it was worth it!