Home > Bilingualism > Why Do I Switch from Serbian to English?

Why Do I Switch from Serbian to English?

I’ve been trying to figure this out for a while now. The question pertains to those situations where it feels like there is no reason to switch because I am talking exclusively to my son who understands Serbian as well as he understands English. So why do I switch when my goal is to get as much Serbian into my day with Andrei as I can? To answer this question, maybe I should start with the question, When do I switch?

* When Andrei and I are out and about, and he is on the down slope in the mood department.

* When he misbehaves, and I ask him to stop doing something and suggest he should do something else instead.

* When non-Serbian-speaking people are around, even those that are in no way related to us, just regular people around us.

What is the common thread here? The fact that I seem to need other people (known and unknown) to understand that:

* Here, I am comforting my unhappy son, I am trying to be a decent mother;

* Yes, I am addressing my son’s misbehavior in whatever way, I am trying to help him grow into a kind person;

* Yes, I feel reluctant to discipline my son in Serbian, which is definitely the “minority” language in our household and I’d rather him not associate Serbian with unpleasant things.

Funny reasons indeed, and not worth depriving my son of Serbian. Only maybe the last reason of avoiding unpleasant associations to Serbian. Just a bit. Maybe.

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