Thursday, June 10, 2010

more wisdom from more bilingual families!

Hey, have you been to the latest Carnival? Head on over to Mummy Do That! to meet this month's group of bloggers who have been writing about bilingualism.

And then, write something yourself and let me know about it, because I'm hosting the next Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism here on July 1, and I would love to include links to your posts on this topic. Anything related to language learning for you or your young'uns is fair game!

You can click on "comments" for this post and give me the link to your post or send it to me at babybilingual (at) gmail (dot). For more info on the Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism, visit Bilingual For Fun (the founder) or email me.


  1. Hi! I came across your blog searching for a bilingual school for my son but I have a question for you that I haven't been able to find a good answer for.

    My family is from Chile and my husband is from Brazil. I speak to my kids in Spanish and he speaks Portuguese to them and my son, who's 3, can keep them separated pretty easily. My question is, when our kids are older and know how to speak English, what if they don't want to speak Spanish or Portuguese anymore? I don't want them to become one of those kids that can understand a language but can't speak it. (Although I don't get that concept either.) Any advice you may have will be greatly appreciated!


  2. Hi Sarah, I enjoy following your blog where I look for tips on practical approaches to bringing up bilingual children in multicultural families.
    My blog is about my little boy and my learning experiences -
    I've only recently stepped onto the road of discovering how to pass my native language and culture to my little boy - finding it challenging already :-)

  3. Hello new readers! Since Griffin is only two, I can't really address Who Me's question with personal experience. But many--maybe most?--of the children in bilingual and multilingual families I know have gone through a phase where they reject the minority language(s).

    It seems to me that if the parents don't force the issue, the kids are less likely to continue to refuse the language just for the sake of rebelling against the parents. Also, the more contact the children have with other native speakers, the more likely they are to see the inherent value of speaking the other languages.

    Even if you can't travel to Chile and Brazil as often as you like, can you do things like video calls (Skype) with relatives, attend playgroups in Spanish and Portuguese, read books and listen to music CDs and audio books and watch videos in the other languages? (You probably do a lot of these--or all--already!)

    You could also check out the website for Multilingual Living ( haven't had time to go through it and look for this exact topic, but I bet that they have addressed it.

    Good luck to you! Would you consider letting me post a profile of your family? You might get some good suggestions from my readers in response to your questions! If so, please email me at babybilingual (at) gmail (d0t) com.

    @Natalya--That offer goes to you as well! I see from your blog that you have a bilingual older son as well as the new baby and that lingustically, the baby poses more challenges. Like you said, exciting too, but definitely not easy.

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Not sure where to post this.
    If you're in need of some new French books, I wouldn't mind sending some to you. We have a terrific independent bookstore down the street with some amazing books. Let me know if you are looking for anything in particular.


  5. Dear Reb--Thank you so much for the offer! I am expecting a big delivery from a visitor from France very soon, so that will probably take care of our new book needs for a while. But let me start working on a new wish list, and I'll definitely let you know.

  6. I am American and I live in Italy. My husband is Italian and we live in Rome. We are taking the one-parent, one-language approach with our son, who is now 4. He goes to an Italian school, and is now passing through a phase where he is rejecting English. I am trying to keep cool, and not make a big deal about it... He usually answers me in Italian even though I speak exclusively in English with him. I try not to force him to respond in English, because I read that you shouldn't force these things. However, I worry that his English will not be so strong. Any suggestions??? By the way, what a great idea for a blog!

  7. Hi Foreign Mom--Thanks for stopping by my blog! Since your son is older than Griffin, I can't provide any specific suggestions based on personal experience; however, it seems to me that continuing to barrage him with input in English without pressuring him to respond in English is your best bet. Bilingual children will go through stages where they clearly prefer one language above others, but the preferred language will change from time to time. Check out They've got all sorts of great advice there! And please keep dropping by my blog (that applies to any previous reader) and leaving questions and comments, so we can all learn from each other's experiences! Don't forget to check out the Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism at the beginning of each month (hosted by a different blog each time). Good luck!