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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

English Language Learner Anxiety

There’s anxiety going on in this home and it has to do with being English Language Learners (ELL), also known as students of English as a Second Language (ESL).  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the kids who are learning who are anxiety-ridden, but moi.

We are discussing the weightier matters of life around the nerve center of our home, the wooden, black lacquer, kitchen table.  This is where I impart wisdom about life and insights that our Russian children will need one day.

“I want to have a great temptation,” our youngest proudly adds to the discussion.

“What-?!” I gasp, believing that I hadn’t heard correctly.

“I. want. to. have. a. great. temptation,” she repeats.

My head reels.  Where had we gone wrong?  How had this preteen turned into an overnight reprobate, devoid of all morality?

“Temptation?  That’s something that the devil tries to get you to do– BAD things–!”

“BAD things?  No, temptation is good,” she insists, and I’m sure many would join her.  “It’s that everyone will know that I am good, not bad.”

We have these kind of conversations where Mama knows nothing, poor, ignorant person that she is….  Then it dawns on me:  not temptation, reputation-!  She means “reputation”.  I would understand more, some days, if we just stuck to Russian.

Our older daughter’s accent throws me off every time.  I try to reason that, if we at home cannot understand her “English”, no one else will, either.  She sounds like Frahnk, the wedding planner in “Father of the Bride”.

They speak enthusiastically of the upcoming horse computation.  I figure that they’re angling how to buy a horse, or measure a horse, or some such exercise requiring computations.  Mais non!  It is but the small matter of a horse show competition, not computation.

As they would say in fairground stalls of the mid-20th century:  “Close, but no cigar.”  And as life has it, the kids have not yet learned that phrase.



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3 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Bev says:

    Sounds like my house-with 4 girls speaking a mixture of Russian and English, I often (most of the time) have no idea what they are saying! Then there are the mispronounced words-I love to hear them-most times they have to repeat the word 3-4 times before I figure out what it is they mean. If they can’t get through to me, they will turn to one of the others and say it in Russian who will then give us the correct word. Life sure is interesting with my crew from Russia, but I would not want to have it any other way!!!

    • avatar admin says:

      That sounds like quite a crew, Bev! Sounds like you’re having fun. Our problem is, we don’t mind them speaking Russian, we can understand well enough, it’s the forcing them to speak some “correct” English that has them stumped. But they’re all progressing, so we can’t complain. When our youngest speaks on Skype to Dyedushka (my dad), he will only speak with them in Russian, so she turns to ask me even the simplest of words, lol. Some of them are forgetting one language while not quite gaining the next-! Never mind that we do reading and writing exercises in each almost every day….

  2. avatar Sybil says:

    Yet all of the word mix-ups and incorrect phrasing are such a part of our children’s charm. They provide wonderful stories for the future and also can teach them to know how to laugh at themselves….a good lesson in life.

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