We have quite a large population of Polish children in our school. Some of them speak better English than our native English speakers, some do O.K. Some have very little English.
Compared to how well we would do if we were suddenly shipped to say, Gdansk – they cope brilliantly, and their ability to learn a language as complex as English on the hoof is quite amazing.
I overheard a conversation between a native English speaking child and a Polish child this week, as they were reading one of the dual language story books I have managed to unearth.
Heads bent intently over the text, the English speaker listened as the Polish speaker read her bit of the book. Afterwards she said admiringly:
‘Every time I listen to someone reading Polish, my ears just get sooo much BIGGER.’