Another post inspired by writer of Bilingual Monkeys Adam Beck. Adam has graciously given his consent for me to write an answer to a post written from the point of view of a newborn , and since I happen to be expecting a baby boy very soon, here’s a letter to my son.
Thank you so much for your letter. I was very touched by it because you see, I want you to become multilingual, too!
I am not sure what you hear from inside of my belly. I guess you can recognise my voice, and if you hear it, you probably already know that I speak many languages. There are the many different soft sh-sounds and the rolled “r’s” of Polish, the language I speak with your big sisters, and also the language I will use with you. There is the distinct melody of German- the language your father uses with your big sisters and me. There is Dutch, with its throaty “g”-sounds. Your sisters speak it, and it is used everywhere here in the Netherlands. There is English, a language I speak with my friends here. Confusing? Don’t worry, you’ll be perfectly able to tell them apart and address everybody in their correct language!
Even before birth, you are surrounded by different languages. It is an amazing opportunity for you! So I can tell you that I can help you speak more languages than 2! Your big sisters seem to be doing well, and they speak all the languages important to us. I am proud of them, and I’m sure that they will be a big help as well!
I know there will be obstacles. There will be people who will tell me that you should speak more. Or that Polish is not important enough for you to speak it. Not everybody knows as well as we do how important it is to speak many languages. There will be times when you will refuse to speak Polish because none of your friends will. Rest assured that I will continue to speak Polish with you, even though you may reply in a totally another language. Rest assured that I will do my best to find fun books, apps and films for you to enjoy- in Polish. I will do my best so that you speak it- and other languages as well.
I know as well as you do that speaking many languages will help you. It will give you more knowledge, more wisdom and more awareness. It will make your brain work better and it will help you communicate with other people!
Now, I am very excited to meet you very soon. It would, however, be nice if you could give me an estimate when I shall expect you? Judging from your kicks and moves I presume that you are not at all comfortable in my belly anymore. You don’t have much space. So, dear son, as much fun as it was to carry you in my belly, please get yourself together and get out. Really.
I love you,