At the pool

I am under doctor's orders to use the pool, hot pots, and saunas here in Iceland more, because I have actual soft tissue damage from too much time sitting typing at my computer. This was just the thing I needed to motivate me. I have a 30 visit pool pass I bought TWO YEARS ago, that I still have not exhausted. The thing is so old I am embarrassed pulling it out of my wallet. And I love swimming, I really do. Plus the pools here in Iceland are not chlorinated, which is such a treat, and the hot pots are so nice and steamy all year long.

So I went this afternoon with Palmer, and it felt great.

But I have to say, especially with Palmer in tow, I am so self-conscious about speaking English. Palmer's Icelandic is improving everyday, and I am really happy to hear him using it more and more. But still there are a lot of things he does not understand, and a lot of things that just naturally come out of my mouth in English much easier (like "Don't run around the pool!"). Now of course when I, with my rather robust voice, say this in a rather urgent matter to my son gleefully running away from me on the wet pavement, lots of people turn to look. I suppose they would whether I did so in English or Icelandic, but I suspect the English garnishes even more attention.

I also found myself rather poorly managing to engage in conversation this afternoon (possibly because I was a bit tired and out of it) in Icelandic. It was especially noticeable when I tried to join into a conversation two men were having about the reorganization of emergency services, which involved the fire brigade for the airport merging with the national organization or some such thing. About two sentences into it, the topic of conversation suddenly became why my conjugation of verbs was so poor, which is a topic, really and truly, I am not interested in discussin. I know it is bad, I want it to be better, nuff said.

So it rather irked me when the father of one of Palmer's classmates, who was also at the pool, insisted on speaking to me in English.


Unknown said…
It is very important for children's cognitive skills to develop strong linguistic abilities. These abilities will never be as developed in a persons second language as it is in its first (The native tounge, The mother language etc.) Therefore it is very important for Palmer to get as much stimulation in English as possible and you are his main stimulant for that here in Iceland. You should speak to him in English, he probably gets quite a lot Icelandic stimulation from his surroundings (and probably in better Icelandic). As a teacher for many years I have to say that the worst mistake immigrant parents often make in regards to their children is trying to speak Icelandic to them and by that withholding their native language. Children who do not get stimulation in their first language often lack behind in cognitive development.
Heiða said…
...mér finnst þú dugleg að taka þátt í samræðum í heitum potti á íslensku, og næst þegar einhver biður um að fá að halda áfram á ensku gæturðu bara sagt: "ég þarf svo að æfa íslenskuna mína, er ykkur ekki sama að hjálpa mér við það?" Þetta segi ég á þýsku í Þýskalandi þegar einhver byrjar að tala ensku við mig, og það svínvirkar!!!
Lissy said…
Yeah, Daníel, I am absolutely aware that I am not the right person to be teaching my son Icelandic. But I read stories to him that are written in Icelandic, and only let him watch Icelandic cartoons. Then he asks me what things mean and I will tell him in Icelandic or English. Plus there are some things I can say in Icelandic with relative certainty. But otherwise if we are just talking, over dinner or in the car or out for a walk, that is all in English. I want him to be comfortable with bilingualism, and not see some great divide between the two languages, so I like him to see me using Icelandic also. Thanks for your input.
Lissy said…
Og þu Heiða er mjög goð að tala við mig á íslensku, og hjalpa mér læra mera. Takk fyrir.

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