When You Get to Reading and Writing…
My son is only two, but I think about teaching him how to read and write in Serbian. I know we are a few years away from that point, but I am savoring the thought. Serbian is a phonetic language, it has two alphabets, Cyrillic and Latin, and it has thirty letters and thirty phonemes, that’s it. It’s all pretty simple, thanks to Vuk Karadzic who revised the Church Slavonic (staroslovenski) language and came up with this pretty simple version of Cyrillic alphabet, with a simple premise: Pisi kako govoris, citak kako je napisano (Write as you speak and read as it is written).
Maybe, just maybe, the very thought of Serbian being so easy to read and write once you can speak it gave me the courage to embark on this bilingual journey with my son. How can I allow my son, I was thinking, to live his life without ever reading the authors who wrote in Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, only few of whom have been translated into English? Milorad Pavic, Ivo Andric, Milos Crnjanski, Bora Stankovic, Jovan Ducic, Serbian folk songs, fairy tales, Ne daj se, Ines…the list can go on and on….
In case you are getting ready to start teaching your child how to read and write in more than one language, here is a great article that offers plenty of practical tips, Teaching Children to Read and Write in More Than One Orthography: Tips for Parents, published in the Multilingual Living magazine.