Saturday 23 October 2010 3.19pm
Much has been made of third-generation migrant children arriving at school aged 6 unable to speak a word of German
One of my sons married a German girl that he met while stationed there in the military.
He learned the language, fluently, and lived and worked there for twenty years.
Both his sons were bilingual before they went to school.
In 2007 he said to me, "Dad, my younger son is being taught nothing in junior school because his class is inundated with Russian and Polish children who cannot speak the language, the German children are having to mark time until the immigrant children learn enough German to join in regular lessons."
Concerned over the possible affect this might have on his son's education, and as he was a qualified engineer, he applied to emigrate to Australia.
Being a bilingual, trained engineer, the Queensland Government welcomed him with open arms.
My Grandsons email me telling of how they help their new Australian schoolfriends with their German lessons.
I had to smile when the younger one said, "Grandpa, they speak English as good as us, but they have a funny accent!"
My son and his family return to Germany on occasion to visit his wife's family and he regularly meets his old workmates when he is there, be they of German, Turkish, or of Balkan origin, as he says, a friend is always a friend, whether he goes to a church, a mosque, or a synagogue.