Education Language

Being bilingual, but not bashful

February 25, 2011
close up of Anna, Oliver & Sam smiling

Building healthy brains, building confidence

I was listening to my children chatter away as they cleaned up their toys with Radek the other night, and I was struck by their sudden and complete “Czechness.” English is the predominant language in our house when I’m around, so it’s always a surprise to hear a barrage of Czech come out of the kids when they speak with their father. But on this occasion it wasn’t just the language that seemed different, observing their clean-up-time from a distance was like watching a different family in action. The children, particularly Anna, took on different personas. When she interacted with her dad and Oliver in Czech, Anna seemed bossier and more confident, as well as more able to make jokes. I marveled again at their ability to switch languages (and personalities) in a snap, and I’m grateful that we’d decided years ago to come back to live in Prague.

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