Saturday, April 06, 2013

forums for us

One of the best parts of having a blog is being able to engage with folks around the world who have similar stories and challenges of raising children with more than one language.  But when I don't find the time to write and respond to posts, it's reassuring to visit discussion forums on other websites to ask questions and read advice.

Make yourself a nice cuppa tea and browse some of these!

The inspiring and ambitious Multilingual Living, whose forums include the following:
  • Language Disorders
  • Bilingual/Immersion Schools
  • Sell/Buy/Trade/Wanted Materials
  • Language Resources
The newly-founded (Non-Native Parents), offering topics such as:
  • Who told you you can't do this?
  • Being a non-native speaking parent
  • Baby sign language
  • Forums to share vocabulary and tips for specific languages
Multilingual Children's Association, sharing stories and strategies about (among others):
  • Non-Native Speakers
  • Your Most Burning Questions
  • Family Language Systems
  • Your Ideas
(This site's forums appear to be losing momentum--most of the posts are from 2012 and earlier.)

Multilingual Family in the UK's discussion forums are divided up by region to help parents find resources (like playgroups) in their area.

The amazing SpanglishBaby invites us to their SpanglishBaby Playground discussion forums (which are only visible to members, so I can't give you an overview until I join them!).

The online bilingual dictionaries site, which boasts--literally--hundreds of thousands of posts in its 4+million threads.  (Each posted question is its own thread, and the site covers many languages.)  I love this site for finding translations and idioms in French, and I especially love it for the forums--native speakers weigh in on how they would say something or what an expression means to them.  I eventually joined so that I could post questions too.  Where else can you find people passionately advocating linguistic accuracy in topics as diverse as:
  • Spanish-English Specialized Terminology
  • French and English Grammar
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • Cultural Discussions
(It's also entertaining to look up a word, click on one of its related forum topics, then select "Next Forum" or "Previous Forum" to see a random discussion of things you never thought about!  Then click "Next Forum" again and again until an hour later you look up from your computer with glazed eyes and a sense of awe of how complex languages are.)  (Then again, I'm a word nerd.)  (And proud of it!)

Omniglot is also an excellent destination for word nerds; its forums cover languages in general, rather than specific tongues or parenting, like:

  • Language Learning
  • Endangered Languages and Language Revival
  • Writing Systems
  • Language-Related Humour

Finally, if you (or your in-laws) are not convinced of the value of raising kids with more than one language, it's worth visiting these three sites with a large readership whose posts about bilingual parenting elicited a lot of forum-like comments:

The parenting advice blog Ask Moxie 
The parenting advice website BabyCenter 
Motherlode, the New York Times' parenting blog

What am I missing?  What about discussion forums in the target language?  Please share your recommendations in the comments!

P.S.  Equally useful (or perhaps more useful, if you don't mind filling up your inbox with Other People's Posts), are these language teaching and parenting listservs you can also sign up for.


  1. Hello Sarah, nice post and congratulations for your always wonderful work, promoting the foreign language use for non-native speakers. I'm glad that I now "virtually" know you :)

  2. Thank you for these awesome links, Sarah!

  3. A lovely blog carnival about raising multilingual kids?

  4. Thank you for the info. I'll visit the links asap. Best regards from Barcelona,

  5. Thank you so much for this wonderful resource.
    How is Griffins Spanish developing, if you don't mind my asking.

    Have you heard him speaking Spanish? What does his teacher say?

    1. It seems like Griffin's Spanish is progressing. His teacher reports that he will sometimes speak Spanish with the teachers and when in groups; he still uses a lot of English, but it's clear that he understands most of what the teacher says. At home, he will sing songs in Spanish that he learned at school, tell me how to say certain words in Spanish, count, and even read very simple books to me!

      Needless to say, we are THRILLED!

  6. As usual you have the best resources. I just wish I had (or made) more time to spend reading all the amazing things out there. When are you and Griffin coming to DC? Would love to meet you sometime!

    1. I know, right?! Reading blogs and visiting Pinterest pins and researching what to do with our kids and our languages could easily be a full-time job (and that's without actually taking care of the children!).

      We'd love to make it out to DC this year, especially since my brother (who works at Walter Reed) is looking for a new job that would take him west and thus remove a major reason to visit DC. No plans for the present, though--I'll let you know!

    2. But yes, wouldn't it be fun to get our boys together to speak French? And there are so many activities and resources in your area....I'm envious.