I am so excited to host the August Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism on my blog. Exactly like Tamara Staton of Non-native Bilingualism, I mistook this carnival as those conference-carnivals that you drive and pay tickets to attend. And I was wondering what kind of amusements the carnival would have for bilingualism.
It turned out that I could enjoy the fun of meeting lots of people, hearing different voices and ideas, and still having the taste of an ice-cream cone, all at the ease and comfort of my own home.
Even better, this month I am the host! And I received quite a few submissions from all over the world. Let me introduce you this month’s passionate contributors:
Jan from Bablekid sent me his submission right after the newsletter was out (I am so amazed by the complicacy of his family language diagram). In his post Less German, he noticed both of his children lost some of their fluency in German, but one lost a lot more than the other. He was wondering the reason behind of it, just like I was wondering why DD spoke more English than Chinese. Fortunately, it seemed that Jan found an answer for his inquiry.
Maggy of Life at the Zoo has reached the dream level of bilingualism (I hope one day I can be there): a perfect bilingual, equally competent in English and German both actively (through speaking, writing, or signing) and passively (through listening, reading, or perceiving) (see Perfect bilingualism vs. recipient bilingualism).
In her post Bilingual Families which also runs a series, she continued to ponder what the best choice of school was for her little ones. She also used a combination of games to build vocabularies for her children.
Omma from Bilingual Babes gave me four articles to choose. It was a hard pick. All of them are so inspiring and interesting! So I chose them all.
Should I speak a non-native language with my child? Yes, this is a million-dollar question and I was eager to hear the answer. Here it is: “Speaking a non-native language with your child is often the only way for your child to reap all of the advantages of bilingualism. …And there is nothing quite like hearing your child chatting away like a native in a language that you struggled for years to learn!” That is so true, Omma, you said exactly what’s on my mind!
Then Omma shared with us 5 ways to get your kids talking (a minority language): games, sentence stories, contradiction, talking prompts and something brilliant, something horrid & something funny. These are brilliant tips from a hands-on mother who is bringing up two children with three languages. You got to take a look!
I agreed completely with her Top 5 tips to keep up the minority language, although I was wondering whether I had the iron will to lock my children (and my husband) only in the minority-language TV and books. I admired Omma’s determination and persistence.
To push or not to push? I was struggling with this question with my children too. I too encountered resistance from my daughter when I tried to push her speak Chinese. From her two very different experiences, Omma thought it depends on so many factors as to whether you do decide to push or not.
Steffi of Mommy do That noticed one of her children, Snowflake, has so far been as close to being a balanced bilingual as can be for an almost 2 year old, while the other child, Cubling, seemed not reach the same proficiency yet. The reason, according to Steffi, was Snowflake had more exposure to normal and natural German since birth.
Thus, based on her experience of raising Cubling and Snowflake, Steffi concluded that “minority language develops in direct relation to exposure and relevance” in her post Bilingual breeze. Her opinions confirmed my thoughts that never too early to learn second tongue.
I love reading the post Mommy I know Spanish from Frances of Discovering the World through My Son’s Eyes, and I cannot agree more with “So, with counting numbers, or singing children’s song in Spanish my son is getting closer to one day being bilingual; and I will be enjoying every step of the way!” One day, if my daughters proudly tell me “mommy I know Chinese”, that will be the true music in my ears.
Bonne of Our Non-Native Bilingual Adventure shared Another reason to introduce more than one language from birth: “when chatting with another person able to speak them too, is that it allows you to mix the languages up and, in doing so, have an altogether more precise conversation”. She gave an example of her daughter Poppette using French word “Si” to mean “Yes” but only in answer to a negative question. Very interesting!
Finding Books in Spanish for Your Toddler? Leanna of All Done Monkey! will tell you how. First, ask your librarian. Second, go abroad. Third, search the Internet, and last, follow the leads. But Leanna’s article has much more juice. You got to read it!
Cordelia of Multilingual Mama shared with us her experience of From My Thai Ashes, A Spanish Phoenix Rises. Cordelia was a little bit frustrated in learning Thai. She also realized she could have taken every possible opportunity to perfect her Spanish since she had all the resources that were convenient at her hand.
Don’t treat yourself so hard, Cordelia! Being a mother is already a hard job, not to mention a multilingual one. I thought about re-picking up German after these years. This plan kept being postponed since I have three children.
I was amused by Jen’s Tea Shop English, published on Perogies & Gyona. What a cute idea to role play “a heritage language activity that combines spoken and written language with math” and foster the early spirit of entrepreneur! I bet my daughter DD would love to be the worker and charge me some fee for her imaginary tea.
Annabelle from Gato & Canard discussed Krashen’s claim of the right way to learn a language “is to get comprehensible input” (see A right way to learn a language? Really?). Is Krashen “the Krashen” I mentioned in How children acquire second languages? He explains that children acquire a second language by receiving input in the target language that is just slightly above their current level of acquired understanding. (That is mouthful, isn’t?)
On the contrary, Annabelle’s opinions are much clearer and easier to understand (and I like that): Krashen’s theories, regardless of how appealing they are, are extremely difficult to test and back up with real data. While this may make them popular, from a scientific point of view, this is far from ideal. I also strongly believe that all learners are different and need different things in terms of language learning. I agree. Sometimes hands-on mommy knows the best!
Tiffany of Mi Pancita helps her children expand their vocabulary and better express themselves via reading, Beginning with Bilingual Books. She reads easy story board books to Stella. She thought these books are great for someone who has no or very little knowledge of the Spanish language as an introduction for themselves and their children.
She reads more complicated, longer stories to Joaquin. And Gathering The Sun by Alma Flor Ada is her favorite since it is “based on California’s agricultural workers, Chicano culture and the work of Cesar Chavez.” She thinks this book helps her children “grow to appreciate it’s meaning beyond its depiction of the alphabet”.
Sarah always wrote interesting articles that have inspired and encouraged parents of the whole world to bring up baby bilingual, no matter natives or non-natives. This time, she was going to open a new chapter in Griffin’s life: she was going to read chapter books to her son Griffin. She started with Le petit Nicolas by Sempe & Goscinny and already finished five chapters!
Although Sarah was no sure whether Le petit Nicolas was the best tour guide for Griffin, she is very sure that she will continue to teach her little ones French language and culture. Go Sarah go!
Our last submission was from Elizabeth of La Mother Tongue. Unlike other parents who would be jumping for joy to hear their children speaking the new language that he/she is learning, Elizabeth deliberately try to make it seem normal and trite so that her daughter Sophie won’t continue to do it with her.
Why? Because “a Language Nerdo Mamá must do what a Minority Language Rearing Parent must do and STICK TO and foster THE TARGET LANGUAGE”. Go ahead reading Elizabeth’s A Language Nerdo Mamá’s Bad Parenting Habits. You will not only find more interesting points of views, but a bonus of video showing Sophie singing her gato Paco to sleep. So cute!!
This month, I did four Chinese language seminars in local public library. I taught audience basic knowledge about Chinese language (four tones, four categories of Chinese characters) and some simple Chinese words. I was thrilled that quite a few families kept coming back for the seminars. It made me feel good that I could do something for local community.
A warm thank-you to all contributors, for your passion, persistence and patience to bring up baby bilingual! Thank you to all the readers, for your interest, attention and support!
I hope that you enjoyed this month’s carnival! You are more than welcome to leave any kind of comments, ideas, suggestions or complains (if you have one). I would love to read it. Next month’s carnival will be hosted by Leanna of All Done Monkey!. Hope to see you there!