Language Observation: Du musst schlafen, oder?

Subject of  research : Our  own daughter

Age : By the time I am writing this, she is 2 years and 2 months, 1 day old.

The purpose of the observation : To know whether consistency is the key factor of shaping the language development of a kid in a multilingual family.

The possible obstacles :

1. The environment that will influence her mastering Bahasa.

2.My consistency of using Bahasa when speaking to her.

The main goal :

1. To make her use Bahasa as a tool to communicate with me and her Indonesian family and friends.

2. To introduce the sense of belonging to Indonesia, as she is also an Indonesian. (She has dual citizenship until she is 18. Then she can decide whether she wants to be a German or Indonesian.)

3. To raise tolerence among all of us.

Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Note : I use ‘our’ instead of ‘my’ to refer to our daughter, but this writing is simply my own writing, not my husband’s.


It is getting interesting how our daughter constructs sentences either in Bahasa or in German. There are of course more and more words she manages to produce. Sometimes it surprises me how she manages to imitate words she hears so easily. By the way, if you miss my post about the first part of the language observation of a kid raised in a multilingual family, you might want to read this code switching.

This following event is not the first time, so I decided to record it on a blog for my own reference and yours if you feel you need it for any good reason. Our daughter is a very alert baby. She needs a lot of stimulation to keep her active, and she often cannot stand playing alone for long. Sometimes, she does make a little talk to one or two of her dolls. But here is what makes it interesting! She talks to them in German, and  has NEVER been  in Bahasa. I have been amused with  this fact. When she talks to her dolls, she does not need my respond. She does not ‘want’ me to engage in the conversation. But when she wants to, she is like being a reporter that tells me what ‘they’ were just talking about. Here is s  simple conversation she has made:

N (our daughter) : Komm, du musst schlafen, oder? oder hier sitzen? nein? warum nicht?oh komm. (Come one, you have to sleep, right? or you want to sit  here? no? why not? oh come on!)

Then she looked at me and switched to Bahasa and telling me that the doll did not want to sleep. If you read my first post about code switching, which I gave you the link, you know exactly that her daddy works and only spends 1-2 hours from Monday to Friday. My speculation is that our daughter misses producing some German words and sentences because the whole time she speaks Bahasa with me at home and outside. You know as if she was telling me that she wants to produce those German sentences. Sometimes, she does try talking to me in German, but I respond her by saying:

‘Bunda nggak ngerti bahasa Jerman, tolong pake bahasa Indonesia.’

(Mommy doesn’t understand German, please use Bahasa.)

I am pretty sure, it’ll be getting more and more interesting each day how she process the languages she hears at home.
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2 responses to “Language Observation: Du musst schlafen, oder?

  1. Pingback: Successful Tips for Bilingual Kids | The Pearl of Java·

  2. Pingback: Tips Menuju Anak Berbasis Bilingual | The Pearl of Java·

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