“It’s Never Too Late!” (Family Fridays)

¡Feliz Viernes a todos! Por fin ha llegado el fin de semana y con él, Family Fridays!

This Friday marks the 5th installment of Family Fridays, a series here on the blog in which I spotlight a different bilingual family from around the globe. This week we’ll meet a family raising their children in both Spanish and English. What I think is so cool about this family is that they have lived literally all around the world: from Alaska to Turkey to Japan! I think you’ll find they offer a unique perspective on bilingualism and multiculturalism.

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Give a brief snapshot of your family’s language dynamics and your family’s language policy (what language(s) do you speak, who speaks what with whom?).

We use two languages in our family: English and Spanish. My husband and I speak both of them interchangeably throughout the day to communicate with each other and with our kids. However, as time went by, we ended up using English more as our primary language.

bilingualism Continue reading

“Want to hang out?” (Taking the initiative)

So…I’m the new mommy on the block.

(D. and I, with our daughter, E., just moved to our current city about four months ago.)

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Our family, out and about exploring our new neighborhood.

And, when you’re the new mommy on the block, that means you’ve got to make new friends (gulp).

(Insert traumatic childhood memories of being at your third high school, with no friends, eating alone on the stairs in the art hallway.)

It can get really lonely being a stay-at-home mom with a nine-month-old baby. Even more lonely when you’re living in a new city. And, even more lonely still when you’ve committed to a type of parenting that by nature benefits from multiple sources of input (bilingualism). Continue reading

Myth #2: Bilingualism will interfere with a child’s language acquisition

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Welcome back, friends, to the second installment of Myth Mondays! If you’re new to the blog, welcome! Check out my post on myth #1, as well as this post on “The Many Faces of Bilingual.”

Today, we’ll be addressing another common misconception: bilingualism will interfere with children’s language acquisition. Continue reading

“A Gift for the Future” (Family Fridays)

We made it to the weekend, friends! And, it’s another “Family Friday” here on the blog.

If you’re a bilingual or multilingual family out there, I hope these family interviews are encouraging you in this crazy adventure of parenting in more than one language. I don’t know about you, but I learn best when I share ideas, talk through issues, and collaborate with others to solve a problem. That’s the impetus behind this Friday series. So, with that said, I’d like to introduce you all to a family of four living life in three languages in a country dear to my heart, Spain. Read on! bilingualism Give a brief snapshot of your family’s language dynamics and your family’s language policy (what language(s) do you speak, who speaks what with whom?). At home we speak Spanish, Bulgarian and a little English. G1 speaks to G2 in Spanish and N. speaks to G2 in Bulgarian. But every time we watch TV or movies we do it in English. We want to teach G2 English or at least initiate her with the “fun” side of the language in order to make her love it [from] the very beginning. n_and_g_finanl Continue reading

The Many Faces of Bilingual, part 1

Happy Wednesday, folks! ¡Hola, amig@s!

If you read Monday’s post about the different types of bilingualism, then you know that today we’ll be meeting some of the “Many Faces of Bilingual.” If you didn’t get a chance to read my last post, there’s still time before the test (just kidding!).

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Today, I’d like to introduce you to Salomon (from Cameroon), Fernando (from Honduras), and Alison (from the USA). Although all three are multilingual, each learned their respective languages in different contexts (remember, there isn’t just one definition of bilingual!). I hope this post is just the beginning of many more in this series (can you tell I like series?! “Family Fridays,” “Myth Mondays,” etc.).

So, with that said, if you’re a bi-, tri-, or multilingual somewhere reading this, and you’re thinking, “hey, I want to share my story,” then, please drop me a line. I’d love to share your story here on the blog.

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Salomon –

I began learning French and Eton when I was a baby. I began learning English in elementary school. I use English every day. I rarely use French and Eton. I use English daily (at work and at home). I only use Eton and/or French when I communicate with non-English speaking friends and family members who live overseas. I do plan to teach French to my children, should I have the blessed privilege to have them.

To me, being bilingual/multilingual means being very blessed. I did not plan or choose to be bilingual. I was born from bilingual/multilingual parents. While many people work very hard to become bilingual/multilingual, I was “born” bilingual. Speaking more than one language]…literally adds more spices to my life. Continue reading

Myth #1: Bilingual = Perfect Proficiency in Both Languages

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This week I’ll be starting a five-part series on the blog called “Myth Mondays”: each Monday for the next five weeks we will address a common misconception, or myth, surrounding the topic of bilingualism.

Why?

Well, part of the reason I began this blog was to help people unfamiliar with bilingualism to understand the why, what, when, how, and who of this linguistic phenomenon.

Did you know that more than half of the world is bilingual? Cool! So, today we’ll be looking at one of the most common misconceptions surrounding bilingualism:

Myth #1: Being bilingual means possessing a balanced and perfect proficiency of both languages. Continue reading

Somos the milk! (Family Fridays)


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Welcome back to “Family Fridays!”

I’m thrilled for this week’s installment of “Family Fridays” because today I get to introduce you to my Madrid study abroad director and dear amiga, Ani. I met her in the fall of 2000 (¡como pasa el tiempo!), and we’ve remained in touch ever since. She is the person whom I credit with inspiring me to raise my child(-ren…) bilingually. I’ve learned so much from her and love her dearly. Ani has a lot of wisdom to share from her years of experience raising her two sons bilingually (Spanish and English).

Last week we heard about the multilingual experience of a family with small children and this week we get to hear about what it’s like with teenagers. Fun!

Oh, and one more thing! Ani is also an amazing artist! Check out her website/blog to see her beautiful craftsmanship.

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Give a brief snapshot of your family’s language dynamics and your family’s language policy (what language(s) do you speak, who speaks what with whom?).

My husband is a Spaniard (who has visited the States but never lived there) with middle to high level in English. I am bilingual and bicultural, having been raised in the States by a Spanish mom and a Ukrainian father. Spanish was always spoken at my home (“la lengua franca”) and we traveled almost every summer to Spain (and an occasional academic year). After graduating from college in the States I moved permanently to Spain. We have two sons (Daniel: 18 and Paul: 15) who have been brought up using both languages at home, and have always lived in Madrid. Unfortunately, we rarely have the opportunity to go to the States with them. When I speak to the children, it is in English and when their father speaks to them, it is in Spanish. At the dinner table, depending on who is speaking, it is in either language. Children are expected to respond in the language that corresponds to each parent. However, Spanish does prevail in the ambiguous situations. When my sons were young, they spoke in English amongst themselves but that soon changed when they started going to a local school and Spanish became dominant between the two.FAMILIA RODRIGUEZ-FLYS (1) Continue reading