The 5 Questions: How do you inspire your child to learn a new language?
Profile: Martin and 4 ½-year old daughter Sabine
Location: New York
Sabine’s native language: English
Language Sabine learns: Norwegian
What is your favorite activity that helps Sabine learn Norwegian?
I really enjoy reading Norwegian books to her. Mainly at night - she doesn't always have the patience to sit and read in Norwegian with me during the day. While I read the story, I stop often enough and ask her questions about what we read to ensure she is following.
What is a helpful tool you use?
Technology helps me reinforce the Norwegian language. The iPod is great to listen to songs and stories. We also watch some Norwegian TV shows on DVDs.
What is your #1 challenge and how do you try to overcome it?
Sabine prefers that I speak English with her on an everyday basis. There is very little Norwegian influence in our community in New York City. This makes sticking to Norwegian difficult. Therefore full immersion helps: trips we take back to Norway for vacation, where Norwegian is spoken 24/7. I plan also to be more active with her at Scandinavia House and at the Norwegian Church.
Any tip or advice you have for other parents?
Here is a tip for parents that have a hard time finding language resources in the US. It is difficult to find Norwegian DVDs her. So we get them directly from Norway. Our DVD player does not take European DVDs, so we are using our computer, connected to the TV, to play these DVDs.
Any question you would have for other parents?
One question I like to ask other foreign language-speaking parents: how to encourage your child to speak to you in a foreign language rather than in their native language?