I am starting this blog to observe, document, and share my son’s, Aren Diego’s journey into three (and maybe four) languages in our life in Helsinki, Finland. As you can see from his name, he is already destined to be a multicultural person. Born in the US, San Diego, he keeps a Spanish name with him. We loved the name Aren, which means “the brightest piece of sand in the desert” in Farsi, but is used much more in Armenian.
Turkish – Spanish – English: We are a Turkish-speaking family, so his mother tongue is Turkish. We have Kurdish roots, but unfortunately do not retain any language, although I have been trying to learn it occasionally. After we moved to Helsinki, after six months of Aren’s birth, we have been very lucky to run into Silvia, to babysit Aren. She is from Spain, so since then Aren has been hearing as much Spanish as Turkish. Recently, he started daycare part-time, and very coincidentally that is in English. (We would prefer a Finnish one, but since there was an opening at this Montessori daycare, we did not want to miss it). So here the journey begins.
Helsinki, Finland, and no Finnish? Well, that’s a problem that is not quite a problem at the moment. Aren’s dad, Ziya (hereby I have introduced the whole family), is quite fluent at this one of the hardest languages in the world. Yet, I know only 100 words that are mostly around food and locations! Since we have bilingual friends around us, Aren’s social life would not be curtailed with the lack of Finnish. I am hoping that we both will learn it by the time he starts school.
Languages are fun and deep; they open one’s horizons, connect one to different worlds, and develop self-confidence. This blog aims to document Aren’s foray into a multilingual life and how he carves a space of his own.