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When Codeswitching Is Not a Skill
Judging by the dwindling number of people who take the time to check in each week, it is clear that many of us are wearing down. We have been focusing on our languages for 10 weeks and many of us are most likely feeling a little worn out.
I can understand this!
The book I was so desperate to read, Ich bin dann mal weg, has been sitting on my desk for the past few weeks while I have gone off to enjoy all things French. I feel a little like a traitor since I really, really should be focusing on German before we head to Germany at the end of August. It’s just that German doesn’t feel as foreign and exciting as French does. German feels comfortable and trustworthy and, well, kind of boring.
My kids are not benefiting from my lapse either! Today I really noticed how often we codeswitch (and not because we are using words that don’t have direct translations in German). We have been codeswitching because we have been lazy, allowing ourselves to use English words which come more easily.
Regardless of what people say about codeswitching, there is a kind that is all about laziness and not about skilled technique. I know this and you know this. The kind I am talking about is when we just grab the word that comes easiest to our mind. If we speak English most of the time, then before we know it, English words are creeping in more often.
The only solution is to nip this in the bud and not let it happen. Of course, talking with people who don’t know the invading language (English in our case) is the best since then you have to stick with the target language to be understood. The overall solution is to not let ourselves get lazy. Don’t use the community language word when it is on the tip of your tongue! Make the effort.
The same with our kids: Continually repeat what they say in the target language. Don’t let yourself feel defeated! Don’t give up! Remember that this is all worth it! They need you to model clear language use and to help them do the same.
Another way to help stay focused and avoid the lazy kind of codeswitching is to put your language learning into shorter increments. This week’s activity will help with this!
This Week’s Activity
This week’s activity focuses on our current post, Music to Help Children Learn a Language: 10 Minutes at a Time. It is about helping you find your own 10-minute increments for you and/or your children!
Activity: 10-minutes at a time
Individuals: Although Franck & Cristina’s “10 minutes at a time” posts are targeted for children’s language learning, adults can and should do the same for themselves!
The key is to identify things that you can do 10 minutes at a time. You can read through all of the 10 minute at a time posts (see all of them at the bottom of the current post) for ideas or try out some of these general suggestions:
- YouTube: Since youtube videos are 15 minutes or less (most are a maximum of 10), these are ideal ways to get just a bit of language learning in during the day. Try to save a list of videos that look good in your target language and watch one a day this week.
- Reading: Books, magazines and online media are great for 10-minute increments! You can read just a few lines or a whole chapter, depending on how long each is. My husband read The Name of the Rose in German a while ago and showed me one line that went from the top to the middle of the page! Now that was intense! But most sentences that we will be reading aren’t that long. So set a target (3 sentences, 1 paragraph, one page, etc.) and then do that at least once a day.
- Writing: Have your computer or a pad of paper handy and write something, anything, for 10 minutes. Write about the weather, a pretend conversation, ordering a meal, what you saw during the day – anything! Just do it for 10 minutes and then stop. Do it again later if you want.
Those are just a few ideas. Today write down 5 things that you can do 10-minutes at a time and try and do at least one of them each day this week. The more 10-minute increments the better but even just one a day will be fantastic!
Parents: Follow the same tips as above but remember that you are the one who will have to guide the 10-minute activities.
Start by writing down some ideas of 10-minute activities that you child(ren) would like to do. Youtube videos? You reading a book out loud? You child reading you a book out loud? Writing a story together? Do a puzzle together?
Then choose one 10-minute activity for your child(ren) to do each day. Or even better, you can write down the activities on slips of paper and have your child pick them out of a paper bag. This makes the anticipation of the 10 minute activity all the more exciting and fun! Who knows, your child might want to pick out a 10-minute activity over and over again during the day.
That’s it for today! Stay tuned for the Friday check-in email and new giveaway!