Today's the big day: our daughter is flying to California!

You can’t imagine my excitement – right now our daughter is on a plane to Washington and then on to Sacramento! She’ll be staying there until next summer (at least). Have you ever been in a similar situation? I mean, on the one hand I’m so glad she’s taking this opportunity. On the other hand, I know I won’t be seeing much of her for quite some time. Also, at this point I can’t imagine her talking in perfect American English but I know this will happen. I have seen it with a number kids. For example, a couple I’m friends with sent their son Juan to the US for his “high school year”. Before he went I used to speak English with him for fun and he just spoke “German school English” as pretty much every school kid here. He had a hard time speaking entire sentences and he was very slow. It was obvious that he translated from German into English when he spoke.

Last summer he returned from his year in the US and he brought one of his American friends. Of course I was curious to hear what kind of progress Juan had made with his English. To be honest, I was shocked. His accent was excellent and he could speak very fast. I really look forward to hearing my daughter speak English faster than me!

Has anyone ever been in a similar situation?

TOEIC listening, photographs: High jumping

Mr. Torsten: Are you American?

Hi Torsten
I’ve no daughter yet :slight_smile:

Yes, but I did not know whether my dad would wirte something for me somewhere in that time.

Anyway, congradulation! Although the new enviroment means new life, I think it’s full of dangeours especially for a young lady. I am also left my home for the university, I back home per 4 months. Its quite funny that when I was studing in another place, my parents would not call me very frequently. And they didn’t care how my dinner is and when I got the dorm in the night. But once I back home, they call me everyday to ask: who you are being with?where you are going to eat lunch? when you come back? Do you need car somewhere? Which you want to eat in the evening?What about yogurt?

God, they even don’t care I just sleep 4 hours for coping with my final works when I was in school! So I just concluded that the parents won’t be tensional to you when they can’t see you trouble in reality, at least it’s true in me.

However, I really got many from the departing.

Torsten, my parents were in a similar situation when I moved to Europe. When I came home, I was fluent in the language my mother’s parents spoke to her before she was 6 years old. It was a little surrealistic for both my parents, but they enjoyed it immensely.

Two of the girls I taught in Europe went to England and came back speaking perfect RP. It was especially amazing, because one of them achieved this after only six months. On the other hand, there was a girl who spent a year in Canada and spoke almost as badly when she returned as she did before she left.

One of the boys I taught came to the US as an exchange student for a year, and when he spoke to me on the phone, I grinned, because, based on a couple of things he said, I could tell pretty precisely where he was living.

How old is your daughter, Torsten?

The son of one of my private students spent almost a year working in Texas (in connection with his university study). Though I fully expected his fluency to improve, the transformation of his spoken English was nevertheless amazing. Not only did he become much more fluent, but he also picked up the Austin accent.

I also had some German friends who went as a family to the Philadelphia area for two years. Their 4-year-old daughter picked up the language and was motor-mouthing away to anyone who would listen within 6 months. And she also made a point of correcting her parents whenever they pronounced English words incorrectly. :lol:

One German lady I know here got a real kick out of it when she talked about her daughter’s teacher to her, and her daughter sneered back, “Mom, its not [titʃə], it’s [titʃɹ]!” A few months after that, her daughter was speaking perfect, accentless American English.

Hi Amy,

My daughter is turning 17 today. Last night I spoke to her and to another exchange student she is currently staying with. That girl is from Columbia and has been in California since January. She already speaks excellent English and during the brief conversation she sounded very American. That’s absolutely amazing.

TOEIC listening, photographs: A van in an African street

Hi Torsten,

It must have been a very hard decision to make. But I think it will be very good for her. She will improve her english and perhaps the most important thing, she will learn how to survive by her own. I don’t have children (though we will have a baby next month!) but my point of view is that our children must know that they can count on us always but they have to fly.

Hi Miguel,

So next month your child is going to arrive – I’m sure you are very excited about becoming a father? Please do let us know when your daughter or son joins your family.

Regarding our decision to send Darina to the US, it was not as hard as you might think. As a matter of fact, it was not hard at all because she is very open-minded and she loves making friends and communicating with people. You are right, she will improve her English very fast since she is so talkative and always has something to tell. Yes, her stay in the US is a great opportunity to grow in so many ways. This student exchange program is fantastic, I wish it would have been available when I was her age. Back I wouldn’t even dare think about going to the US. It was just out the question. I’m sure that if everybody went to another country for at least one year, our world would be much better off.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Country scene[YSaerTTEW443543]

I will let you know about the birth.
Your words about if the decision was hard or not have make me thing about the meaning of family in my country (Spain).
I’ve known a lot of coworkers from other countries that are more willing to travel and to stay far from their parents.
Young people in Spain depend more on family than other people from different countries (A mediterrenean point of view?) and most of my friends don’t live farther than 20 or 40 kilometers from their parents. Perhaps this is another issue to discuss…

Torsten, something funny might happen when your daughter comes home: She might have an American accent in German for a while. A girl I knew came back from her senior year in Kiel, and it took her several weeks to lose her newly acquired German accent in her native English language. We were all amused.

Migmam, I think you’re right about the difference in how families stick together in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cultures compared to North European and North American cultures. If you haven’t seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it’s worth watching to see this contrast. My Arabic friends think this movie is hilarious.

Many Anglos, gringos, or whatever you want to call Americans of north European descent, feel very oppressed if they marry or date someone from one of those close families you describe, because all the family members stick their noses into everything. At the same time, however, if someone is in trouble, there’s no place safer to be than those close Latin and Arabic families. They will give you help from all sides, and if someone is threatening you, they’ll surround you with protection.

Just a bit of a contrast: American kids start to need a car when they’re around 18 years old. (We don’t have much mass transit here, so they really need it.) In my family (German-American), when a kid got to be 18, a family member would take him around and teach him how to find and choose a good car. Even the girls were taught this skill. If the kid didn’t have enough money saved up for a car, and he couldn’t get a loan from a bank, our parents would lend him the rest of the money at current bank interest rates, and he had to pay it back in monthly installments. This was all done to teach us self-sufficiency and to teach us the financial arrangements we’d have to deal with as adults. Contrast this with some Chaldean families I know: When a girl reaches 18 and starts needing a car, her brother just buys her one. So in my family, when the kid gets a car, it’s an instructional process to prepare the kid for his independence. In the Chaldean family it’s all about the family taking care of each other.

Congratulations, Torsten :slight_smile:
good luck to her!

What a coincidence! My mom just turned 50 yesterday. Happy birthday for both of them! :smiley:

And Torsten, you sound like my father when my sister was chosen to participate in the national service. My father was excited about it, my sister dreaded it. It turned out to be fun for her. Not only she learned how to use weaponry but she got to do a lot of social work which also helped prepare her for the medical studies she is pursuing now. When she first started social work at the villages, my mom told me she cried on the phone because she was not used to seeing underprivileged people. But now she is tougher (and skinnier) and I can be proud of her.

I am not sure about Kuala Lumpur (Capital city of Malaysia) but the situation is the same in my hometown or other smaller cities in Malaysia. Most of my friends prefer to go back home and “serve the country” as they always put it. One Principal engineer from our plant in Malaysia came to Japan and he told me to come back quickly to Malaysia because I am missing “everything”, which I kind of agree.

Also, when I was still completing my tertiary studies, I brought one Japanese friend home and he stayed for 3 weeks with my family. One of the things he said that struck me the most is “How did you ever get out of this house?”

Jokingly I said, “Come on! My parents have 6 daughters, surely they can let one go!”

In Malaysia, even the boys get cars from their parents. My sister got hers when she was 17. I didn’t get any because I am always away or because my parents wanted us to share. We also cannot have our own room. It’s a big no no because my mother believes that having separate bedrooms will make us selfish. I am so used to the intimacy that even when I actually have my own room back in Malaysia, because now I am the big sister, I turned it into a dressing room, where I put my things and I will sleep with my sisters at night.

Sorry for my ignorance, but what does RP stand for ?

RP stands for “Received Pronunciation”. It means what most people call “Oxford English”, “BBC English”, etc.

Alan will now complain that all of these terms are archaic, inappropriate, misleading, not adequately descriptive, not in step with what’s happnin’ now, bla bla bla, but people outside of Alan’s head know what they mean.

Hi Torsten

I hope you’re planning to keep us up-to-date about your daughter’s experiences and, of course, any changes or development in her English. I’m really looking forward to hearing about everything.

Hey, Torsten! You haven’t been updating us. How is your daughter doing? Was she able to get home for the holidays?

Torsten, where are you? In the US or the UK?

Have you ever planned to come to Singapore for a holiday?

Yankee, how are you? :wink: