German in the Afternoon

Speaking German with my little boys – bilinguialism one afternoon at a time

der, die, das February 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate R @ 9:18 am
Tags: ,

We are really making an effort to get back into German. And by “we” I do mean both myself and Aleksander! He’s reminding me once again of it being German time in the afternoon. We’re reading more German books at naptime. And we’re watching German shows or talking about his musical shows in German – he still likes to go back to “Baby Mozart” and “Classical Baby”, neither of which has much spoken text. We’re also playing Candy Land in German (but I have a few words and phrases I still need to look up!)

I’ve noticed a few things about Aleksander’s language. I’ve been wondering about the use gender and when he will use the appropriate article (der, die, das) with the nouns. So I’ve been paying a little bit of attention to that and emphasizing the articles when we talk about objects. The funny thing is that he has been generalizing with just one … but in the wrong case! He’s calling everything “den” (masculine accusative). I wonder when he’ll sort this all out? I do hope he gets a feel for it. I still have trouble, since I’ve had to memorize all the noun genders as I’ve learned new words – and I often forget. It’s one of the most frustrating things for me in German.

The other thing I’ve noticed is a potential effect of German on his English! It has to do with word order and his use of “also”. In English, I might say, “He also wears a hat.” You put the “also” before the verb. But in German, you can’t do this – the verb has to be in the second position. And so I’ve noticed Aleksander saying, “He wears also a hat.” I can’t say for sure that this is German interference, but it sure sounds like it!

And that’s all I have time for today. I am trying to make the effort not only to speak more German with Aleksander but to write about it all here, too!


7 Responses to “der, die, das”

  1. Tracey Says:

    German genders and the cases is complicated stuff (der,die,das). I´m sure Aleksander will get his head around it over time plus he´ll learn it naturally rather than as grammar! I´m sure with my rusty German that I have forgotten the majority of genders of words😦

  2. There’s a lot to get your head around with two different grammar structures (we have this issue with French/English!) but he will figure it out I’m sure. Great that you’re keeping up the German!

  3. Annabelle Says:

    Intesting how his German is influencing his english…
    My daughter also has problems with gender in French. I think she makes more mistakes than monolingual kids… But I am sure this will work itself out.

    By the way, I am reviving the bilingualism blogging carnival as the previous host is dropping it and I would love to have you in the group…. I love reading your blog. More info here

    • KateR Says:

      Hi Annabelle!
      Thanks for stopping by🙂 I agree – this should work itself out at some point – I hope!
      I would love to be part of the new bilingual blogging carnival! I’m hoping to start writing again more often…. Not to mention getting back to reading all the fabulous blogs! So please keep me in the loop!

  4. David Says:

    Hi! I just found your blog and was sad to see that it’s been a few months since your last post. Are you going to keep writing?

    My wife and I just had our first child about 5 months ago and I would like to do something similar to what you’ve been doing with Aleksander. My formal training isn’t as good as yours, but I do have a B.A. in German, lived there for a while, and consider my conversational skills quite good. Vocabulary and idiom are the biggest challenges for me, but I would like to give my daughter the gift of bilingualism even if her German wouldn’t be as good as her English.

    Anyway, I’d love to read more about your progress and even correspond sometime! Mach’s gut!

    • KateR Says:

      Hi David,
      So glad you stopped by my blog and left a comment! I do plan on writing again……. Our little guy is just 6 months old now. I’m hoping that as he – and I – start getting more and more sleep, I’ll get back into some of my favorite things again, like blogging🙂 And speaking German. I’ve gotten pretty slack about it. So I need to recommit. And getting back into the blogging world definitely helps inspire me! For now, I do what I can. And I make sure we have German music, books, and DVDs to help fill in the gaps. And I learn a lot from those things, too!
      I would encourage you to give your daughter this brilliant gift of bilingualism. I am continually astonished at how much my 3-year-old picks up. It’s so worth the effort!!
      Alles Gute!

  5. I learned Germany as a second foreign language (besides English) in college. It was so hard in the beginning. But once I managed all the grammars, it was getting easier and beginning to make sense to me. German language is probably the most rigid language in the world. I hope someday I can relearn this language with my daughters.

    Anyway, I added your site to my “link” page ( so that I can find a way back. Keep in touch!

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