February 21, 2013

Int'l. Mother Language Day at school

Today is my kind of day. February 21st is International Mother Language Day. My official mother tongue is English although I would argue that Swiss German - albeit being a dialect - would make a close runner-up. So after many years of studying behind a school bench and some help of boyfriends during my university years I have summed up five language which I all enjoy speaking.

My kids are growing up trilingual and even Expat hubby who spoke only Italian when I first met him, has got his head around three additional languages.

My daughter's sole goal in life is to be able to speak more languages than Mummy. The rate she's going, she will have accomplished that feat by the time she's finished Secondary School.

In my time it was exotic to have an Italian boyfriend. Now, I tell my daughter, she'd need to date either a Chinese or a Russian, if she were to learn a language du jour.

Every year the kids' school celebrates and recognizes the importance of each child’s mother tongue. They also realize that other languages are significant to the children. Mother Tongue and Other Languages Day is an opportunity for each family to bring their language to the classroom.

With this in mind the Italian mammas (whom I joined since my kids' second mother tongue is Italian) volunteered to involve the classes in a typical Italian activity to learn about the language in a fun and entertaining way.

Well, Italians are known to talk expressively and whole-heartedly. Most likely you will come across an Italian with a mobile phone stuck to his ear. We therefore turned up with old-fashioned tin can telephones. Of course, the kids - all having been born after 2000 - cannot even imagine a world without mobile phones, let alone do they know how a tin can telephone works. They had a great deal of fun discovering the acoustic (non-electrical) speech-transmitting device. With a copy of a basic Italian phone conversation the kids turned into a bunch of little latinos chattering and giggling on their phones.

Much to my surprise and delight, I received lots of little thank you notes from the pupils the next day.
Grazie di cuore a tutti quanti!


  1. Oh those letters are lovely! I am in awe of your being able to learn and speak other languages. I am still learning Spanish and quite often struggle. Perhaps once I have mastered this one extra language I will find the next easy? I am proficient in sign language but that's not really the same...is it?

  2. Absolutely IS...
    I would learn sign language if I had the chance to use it!!!
    That is a language I am in awe of!


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