Thursday, June 26, 2003

Hannes is in town, flirting indiscriminately with men and women alike, showing off his movie-star white teeth, wearing a cool blue-jean hat and jacket, and generally being irresistible.

Oh, and he brought along his parents, J., and her boyfriend, my favorite Finn.

"It will be strange to hear Hannes' first words in Finnish," J. said. She mentioned an Estonian acquaintance of ours who lives here in Stockholm and speaks Estonian with her own 2-year-old daughter, but the daughter replies in Swedish.

I suppose it could be a little worrisome, in some small private way, when one's own child speaks another language. Will he understand the subtleties of what I say, will she be hampered somehow or torn between two languages, will he resent me or be embarrassed because I speak Finnish or Swedish or English with a strange accent and can never know it as well as he can?

The Swedish phrase for the day is rädda barnen. It means save the children.

- by Francis S.

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