I often wonder whether German people who bitch about Turkish and Arabic families not speaking German at home, in their free time, in the private sanctuary of their actual homes, I often wonder if they’re just being woefully ignorant or if they are just total cunts. Don’t you? The hypocrisy is mind-numbingly unbearably disgustingly unmistakable. The thing is, I hate all that bilingualism crap, to be honest – it’s so fucking boring, talking about being bilingual. So white, glorifying bilingualism in that way. I can literally feel the space in my brain that starts getting bored at parties when people start talking about raising their kids bilingually – I can literally feel the part of my brain that wants to change the subject or it will explode through the boring boredom caused by the boringness of this boring, boring, BOOOOOOOOOOOWRING, boring, BORING borefest.
But, literally everyone who has ever read anything on bilingualism ever knows full well that you should speak your own mother tongue to your child, and let the society around you teach your child the dominant, majority language. Everyone knows this, even headteachers of Neukölln primary schools are not that ignorant. Everyone knows this. It is bilingualism for dummies. It’s not even true to say that ambitious parents, who want their kids to speak their mother tongue well or fluently or possibly, when they are older, seem like a native speaker, should speak to their children in their own mother tongue. ALL PARENTS SHOULD SPEAK TO THEIR KIDS IN THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGE BECAUSE YOU SPEAK MORE NATURALLY IN YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE. It really pains me to have to have this boring conversation, but even if you don’t mind your kid growing up with, I dunno, clumsy grammar or an obvious foreign accent in your own language, you still shouldn’t speak to them in the Landessprache of the country you are living in for their general linguistic and spiritual development ANYWAY.
Kids should hear you speaking naturally as they learn language, they should hear you speaking the language you are most comfortable in, hear you sing the nursery rhymes your parents sang to you, use idioms, they should hear you telling them stories about your childhood which are ALIVE and not diluted by translation. Example: So I walked into Science once, and the teacher, Miss Pal, I said to her Good Morning Miss and she looked at me, right, she took one look at me and just barked out WITHDRAWAL. This isn’t the best anecdote in the world, admittedly, but it’s the one kids should be hearing, and not: Also, ich war einmal ins Unterrichtszimmer gelaufen, und sah die Nawi-Lehrerin an, Miss Pal hiess sie, und ich begrüßte sie, und sie würdigte mir nur einen Blick und dann bellte: TIME-OUT ZIMMER! I am not saying the German version is particularly bad or anything, I think it’s fine, personally. But there’s not even such a thing as a Time-Out Zimmer in German schools. It’s a translated version of what happened, that’s all.
Nobody should be forcing people to speak German at home, and German teachers should grow the fuck up and stop complaining about parents speaking their mother tongue at home. Sometimes I just think white Germans are jealous as fuck, because they literally cannot stop complaining about the fact that not everyone in Germany, except for them perhaps, is monolingual.
The perverse thing is, of course, that the stigma afforded to Turkish and Arabic bilingualism means that actually it’s Turkish and Arabic parents who are more likely to speak German some of the time with their kids. White people speaking high-status languages (English, basically) can get all precious about bilingualism, not mixing the languages, even if, to be honest I think they take it too far half the time. I know white people who make up these horrible pretend words for things like Hort or Volkshochschule or Tadel or Kontrolleur.
The truth is, that probably some of those 102 kids who horrifically don’t speak German at home will be hearing more German out of their parents‘ mouths than mine ever do. But what I find really unfair is that Turkish and Arabic parents just cannot win. If they follow the guidelines recommended by anyone with any idea of childhood language development whatsoever, like whatSOfuckingever, then they’re Integrationsverweigerer and primary school-teachers and Bild journalists alike weep buckets of tears. And yet, even those Turkish and Arabic parents who do try and speak a bit of German at home will get criticized too – for polluting the languages and confusing their children. It’s almost like there is nothing these people can do to please the critics apart from fuck off out of Germany.
You know, I ran an English-language intercultural Krabbelgruppe once. There was a lady there who was criticizing Turkish bilingualism, claiming there was a whole generation of Turkish teenagers who thought Kopfsalat was a Turkish word. The thing is, as if, even if this anecdote were true, that’s any worse than German teens not knowing that whack is actually an American word, or British teens not knowing that verboten comes from the German. Or those German adults who don’t realize that you can’t say beamer for projector or handy for mobile in an English-speaking country.
Me: I just don’t see how English bilingualism can only be an advantage, and Turkish bilingualism can only be a disadvantage. If English bilingualism is that good for your brain, then Turkish bilingualism must be too? So the Kopfsalat thing doesn’t matter.
English lady who lived in Germany for six years but was so integriert that she went to an English-language Krabbelgruppe: Oh come on, you can’t compare English and Turkish!
Me: Why not?
English lady: Turkish isn’t a world language.
Me: Er, yes it is?
English lady: You know what I mean.
And the thing is, I did know what she meant. She literally meant that the people who speak Turkish have darker skin than the ones who speak English, so therefore the language is worth so much less that being able to speak it is actually a burden on you, a burden on society. It’s a fucking disgusting attitude to have, and if you feel like this, you should, and people are often accusing me of being so moralistic that I turn everyone into Nazis, so let me confirm here that I mean this as moralistically and judgementally as possible, you should be afuckingshamed of yourself. Especially if you have this attitude and you teach children who already know so much more than you – a whole other language! – but instead of being able to admire and respect them for it, your white supremacy has gone to your head so much you have to go crawling to Bild like the kids are oppressing you just by fucking existing.
So, for the slow learners: people should not have to speak German in their own homes, in their free time. Being bilingual is actually a tiny bit hard work, but it is worth it. A society should be able to take kids who start school or kita aged 4, 5 or 6 and teach them the dominant, majority language. They’ve already learnt one language from their parents, now it’s your turn. I am ashamed of the German hypocrisy on this issue – a cowardly, panicky hypocrisy – that people will complain about bilingual schoolchildren EXISTING and actually having the temerity of going to, er, FUCKING SCHOOL WHERE THEY LIVE, while all the time Denglisch sprouts, like Unkraut through the cracks of the pavement, through the soggy gaps in an old wall of an abandoned building. It’s not the Denglisch that disgusts me – I couldn’t give a shit – it’s the hypocrisy.
tl, dr: IT’S NOT THE CHILDREN OF MIGRANTS WHO SHOULD BE GROWING UP MONOLINGUAL – IT’S GERMAN SOCIETY THAT NEEDS TO GROW UP. IN GENERAL.