28 February 2012


I am currently in the UK for a few days. Here are my grandchildren.They are delightful (though I guess every grandfather thinks that).

Oliver was a bit slow starting to speak; but now he is four, and he natters away all the time in long, complex sentences. Which just shows that it doesn't matter when a child learns to speak, as they all get there in the end. Elsie is just two, but her language is already not bad.

The only thing that disappoints me is that they are growing up as monolinguals, as is almost inevitable in the UK. I guess they will benefit from growing up speaking standard English with a prestigious accent; but still I think it is a pity to be a monolingual when so many people in the world are proficient in two, three, or more languages.

Young people in Brunei should appreciate how lucky they are to grow up naturally as bilinguals. It gives them two different perspectives onto the world, which I think is really valuable.