Thursday, July 01, 2010

party with the word nerds!

Welcome to the latest installment of the Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism. Or, as Elizabeth from La Mother Tongue might call it, a virtual party for us "Language Nerdos"! As I read over this month's 20+ entries, two common themes jumped out at me. Many of the writers tackle the idea of change--change in our approaches to raising children with more than one language, in our attitudes, in our children's attitudes, in our expectations. Many authors also describe and celebrate teaching techniques, learning resources, the learning process itself.

At Babelkid, Souad and Jan observe their multilingual, multicultural children trying to figure out which teams to root for in the World Cup and, by extension, which of their parents' countries they most identify with. Smashedpea of Intrepidly Bilingual addresses a very similar topic, but for herself, a German who feels more and more Canadian. Rea, a Canadian raising a toddler in Spain with her Spanish husband, looks at her incipiently bilingual little boy and wonders which cultural behaviors he'll adapt in her post on Not So Spanish.

Like Souad and Jan, several other Carnival participants are raising their children trilingually, and their posts this month reflect on those experiences: Bilingual Babes' Omma (an Englishwoman using non-native French) and her Ghanian husband observe, bittersweetly, his native language, Twi, starting to disappear from their family. Similarly, Clarisse from Brazil, who lives in English-speaking Namibia and blogs at Bicicleta-Bicycle-Ombacikela, sees her daughter preferring English over Portuguese while also learning Oshwambo and Afrikaans; her distress is palpable.

Fortunately, several multilingual adults have weighed in on the issue of learning and losing languages, and in posts that read more like adventure stories, tell us about seminal language learning moments. TongueTwister of Leaning Tower of Babel explains that growing up with a non-native French-speaking foster mother turned him on to French and indeed all languages, enabling him to graduate high school with native-like fluency in French (and close to that in Japanese); he also points out that at different stages of his life and his career, his preference for and abilities in the languages changed. Susan from LinguistKids takes us on a journey from Canada to Turkey as a teenager and helps us see what a profound difference a year abroad can make for the entire family.

Speaking of non-native parents choosing to raise their children in that language, over at Authentic Parenting, Mama Poekie has some very manageable suggestions of how to bring another language into your fold. Hobo Mama's Lauren takes this idea even further by providing myriad recommendations of how to find music for your children in your non-native language. Cartside of Mummy Do That! describes how her husband's non-native German has advanced far enough that they are considering instituting German time at home instead of their OPOL approach.

Other bloggers are equally passionate about music. Natalya describes how she is relearning nursery rhymes in her native Russian, even though she really likes many of the English versions, at My Precious Bi-Baby.

And Cartside isn't the only parent reconsidering how to go about raising the kids bilingually. Over at Where Going Havo, the American Melissa and her Slovak husband have been strict about OPOL, until she starts sneaking Slovak to her daughter when no one is watching!

On the other hand, Adriana joyfully reports that the older of My Bilingual Boys is clearly fluent in Spanish, despite growing up in the US. Elizabeth from La Mother Tongue, whose daughter is a bit younger, asserts that the girl isn't being raised bilingually, that rather they're doing exclusively Spanish (plus sign language) at home with the knowledge that she'll pick up plenty of English from the outside world later on.

Although all of these posts present perspectives on language learning, some focus specifically on language teaching. Englishman John, aka Essonne Daddy, has just enrolled his son in a French school and is very relieved that the director is open-minded about the boy's bilingualism.

Several of the writers are home-schooling their children: Corey, founder of Multilingual Living, shares a lesson plan about the World Cup (that again!) for bilingual homeschool families, while Monica, the Mommy Maestra, presents different models for bilingual homeschooling. Meanwhile, Culture Mami's Marcela explains how even a simple errand like grocery shopping can be a rich language learning activity for your family, and I ask for some help on how to get my money's worth out of dorky bilingual flash cards on Bringing up Baby Bilingual.

And if you've been wondering what it means when your child (or you!) starts code-switching, read Roxana's overview at Spanglish Baby and relax--code-switching is a good thing! And if your kids ever wonder why you're making them learn another language, or if you just want them to understand more about the huge variety of reasons and languages out there, head over to Playing by the Book, where Zoe provides an annotated bibliography of children's books that address bilingualism.

Whew! Thank you to all of this month's Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism contributors and to Letizia at Bilingual for Fun who founded the Carnival. Subscribe here to learn more about it and get all the news of future Carnivals. You can even sign up to host one on your blog!


  1. Sarah,
    This is a really nice intro. It is obvious that you put a lot of time and effort into producing this Carnival.....Felicidades!

  2. I'm thrilled to be taking part in my first bilingualism carnival! I'm really looking forward to reading all the posts you've linked to. Thanks so much for your hard work.

  3. Thanks, Sarah!

    This carnival keeps growing and growing! I have a lot of reading to do this weekend.
    So inspiring

  4. Lovely, Sarah! Great intro and thank you for being so active and motivated on all fronts (language and so much MORE)!

    I'm honored to be able to join with all of you fabulous families! Can't wait to read each of your posts and savor your wisdom!

  5. Thanks, y'all. It was fun to pull all these disparate posts together and see what we have in common despite the oceans that separate some of us!

  6. Wow, I have a great new list of resources and better yet, lots of inspiration! Thanks so much Sarah. I am honored to be included.

  7. Thank you, Sarah!
    The Carnival bursts with information - loads to take in and to learn from. Very exciting!

  8. This is great, I'm going to read the articles to learn from real experiences. Thank you!

  9. Yay! Thanks, Sarah. Am excited to read everyone's contributions.

  10. so much reading yes! glad I found you guys!

    Greetings from a Mexican mommy living in Europe

  11. Yeah, so much reading that it often almost stresses me out to think about how much there is to take in (almost)! There are so many great blogs about raising children with more than one language to learn from--I feel like I can never stay caught up. At least these Carnivals help!

    Thanks for visiting--please come back soon and share more of your experiences via your comments and questions!

  12. those kids are sooooo cuuteee! this is a great method for raising kids. thanks a lot for sharing!

  13. My four kids are all bilingual - living in India in a Hindi speaking combined family and an English speaking mother (me!). Their language development was rather slow at first. I was at a parent/teacher meeting for my 6 year old son the other day and I was astonished when the teacher told me that she was worried as she had never heard him speak. Anything at all. She was wondering can he speak! She should hear him, at home, he never shuts up there. It just so happens that along with being bilingual, he is also quite stubborn and will not talk at all if he doesn't feel like it!

  14. Hi Oxy and Zororiver! Thanks for commenting.

    Oxy, I would LOVE to profile your family here! We've never heard from a family in India or Hindi speakers on this blog before. (You can click on "profiles" in the list of labels in the sidebar to see the questions I ask in these online interviews.)

    Please email me at babybilingual (at) gmail (dot) com if you're interested! And I hope your son decides to speak English and Hindi at school all of a sudden one day and really impress his teacher and classmates. ;)

  15. I didn't know about this event. Thanks for posting.