I have been living trilingual since over 20 years. When I read this it sounds like I am on a weird diet but it just means that I have been functioning in English, French and German on a daily base. Why in this order? When moving permanently to Montreal in April 99, I didn’t speak French and isabelle didn’t speak German – so we spoke English. I then learned French just by ear without actually much working on it and up to today I am grateful for all the people who had to suffer through my early french. They all helped me to improve one detail at a time – still today. I regret never haven taken proper french courses. Today Isabelle and me speak together in a very personal mix of French and English, jumping back and forth without plan.
Some time after our first child was born I realized that I hadn’t spoken any German in Montreal other than on phone calls with family, friends and colleagues. I decided to speak German to my son so he would also learn it. It was initially very difficult to do, not only to have the reflex and discipline but also because our house had no german sounds in it. Sounds a bit esoteric but it felt like I that [and would be another story to tell]. At the time when we had our second child Beatrice my French was so much better so I started to address her in french all the time, without much thinking, while still speaking German to my son. These days I am making strong efforts to give her the same german treatment as her brother Felix – it seems to work. Meanwhile Isabelle and me keep speaking Frenglish. Felix infomed us some time ago that there is no need any more to switch to english to hide something – he understands it all.
When I started to write an article about some string quartet related thoughts for Revue Circuit I started to write in French, because it is a french publication. After some time I realized, it didn’t work, my written french being not good enough. I started over in English, only to realize again that I couldn’t express the nuances I wanted. I started over again, this time in German. It worked, finally.
Long story, short conclusion: I am wondering in which language I should contribute to this blog. This first entry is in english, most people will understand that and I am able to express myself reasonable well. At times I will write in french and run available automatic and human correction services and at other times I might pop out some German, too.