Re: Emergent Learning LO2050

Bernard Girard (
Wed, 12 Jul 1995 09:14:37 +0000

Replying to LO2015 --

Great story, Barry

>Into the "greater" Berlitz family decades ago was born a child. It was
>decided by the family that each would speak a different language so that
>the young one would learn many. All expected linguistic expression to be
>delayed somewhat as is sometimes the case in polyglot families. And such
>was the case.
>But, when having accommodated to the family polyphony the child began to
>speak, no one could understand the child. It seems she had developed a
>language on her own, because she realized that all the important others
>around her had tongues of their own! So would she.

I remember a french who married a portugese. They lived in Angola where he
worked for Schlumberger. When they had a child they decided that English
would be his mother tongue. So the mother spoke the litte english she knew
with her formidable portugese accent, the father spoke the little english
he knew (and that was not much as far as I remember) with his incroyable
french accent and the angolese maid spoke the very very little english she
knew (no more than 10 words). Guess what happened : everyone cheated, used
his or her first language when alone with the kid. And everyone was
surprised : he did not want to speak.

This story has a happy end. There was revolution in Angola, the family had
to come back to Europe where the child went to school. He learned how to
speak with his comrades.

Bernard Girard