Thursday, December 21, 2006

there's help for non-native speakers like me!

As you can see from the links categorized in the right margin, many great websites exist to help parents who are raising their children with more than one language. But for the most part, they assume either that 1) each parent brings a separate mother tongue to the table and they use both with their children, or 2) the family lives in an area where the home language is different from the majority language spoken everywhere else in the area. But me, well, 1) I'm Carl's aunt, not parent, so I'm not the primary caregiver, and 2) I'm a non-native speaker of the language I'm teaching him (with an American accent that betrays that fact). But I've just learned of a website, Bilingual Parenting in a Foreign Language, which provides support and resources for people like me and my friends Cynde and Amy. While the bibliography is not particularly up-to-date, the list of questions and answers is invaluable, as are the brief bios of parents attempting to teach children languages--including Maori, Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese--that they are not native speakers of.

Are any of the readers of this blog (besides Cynde and Amy, of course) non-native speakers of the language they're teaching their children? Please click "comments" and tell us where you are and what you're doing!


  1. Hi, Sarah.
    I'm also trying to teach a nephew (and a niece) a non-native language - in my case it is Norwegian. I live in Spokane, WA and have been getting some materials from relatives in Norway. I only see my nephew and niece for a few hours every other week. I appreciate any additional resources on how to help them learn. My current search is for a way to play Region 2 DVDs, as I got one for Christmas from Norway.

  2. Hi anonymous! I'm thrilled to learn of another auntie trying to teach a second language. I wonder how many of us are out there? It's great that there are some other Norwegian speakers in your family and that your nephew and niece have each other to practice with when you're not around. Unfortunately I can't give you any advice about DVDs, but I hope you figure out a way to play the ones from Norway--sounds like a fabulous resource. Depending on the age of the kids (if they're elementary school or older), you can recommend that they attend Norwegian camp at the Concordia Language Villages during the summer. It's an amazing immersion experience that makes learning seem almost effortless (I attended French and Swedish camps in high school; check this blog's archives from July for more details about the program). By the way, would you be willing to answer some questions about how and why you're teaching them Norwegian? I'd love to do a profile of these kids and their aunt!