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MKB September carnival:  learning about culture & multilingualism

I am so happy to be hosting this month’s carnival of MKB which stands for Multicultural Kid Blogs. It is a virtual community for blogs dedicated to raising world citizens, through arts, activities, crafts, food, language, and love.

The topic of this months is learning about culture & multilingualism. I always believe culture and language go hand in hand. Culture is the idea, custom and beliefs of a community communicated by at least one distinct language from one community member of to another. And language is the verbal expression used to maintain, convey and influence culture and cultural ties.

Therefore, learning a new language inevitably involves the learning of a new culture. Otherwise, language learning becomes senseless, inaccurate and incomplete, since all learners get are a bundle of empty or meaningless symbols.

For an example, Chinese culture, as conveyed and maintained by Chinese language for thousands of years, is one of the world’s oldest and most complex cultures. It is so diverse and unique, yet harmoniously blended.

It contains rare beauty and enchantment with Chinese history. It has played an important role in China itself, and presents itself as an invaluable asset to the world society. Find out the typical examples of Chinese traditional cultural studies at Language and culture.

The Analects of Confucius The Analects of Confucius
Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings ABC Dictionary of Chinese Proverbs

How about other cultures in the world? What other parents do to help children connect culture and languages? I am eager to find it out.

Rita thinks Language and culture are integral parts of a bilingual child’s identity. She agrees with an article from a Japanese magazine about the importance of passing on the culture of a language alongside the language itself, although slightly disagrees with the title of the article.

In her opinion, the more children know of the language AND the culture it represents, the more at ease they will be at using the language in their everyday lives and less likely to reject it. By introducing the children to the culture of the language parents can positively support their children in finding their own unique multicultural identity.

5 Signs You Might Be Norwegian 5 Signs You Might Be Norwegian

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Eva Varga promote Norwegian traditions and fraternal fellowship via sending her children to a two-week language and heritage camp. Her children love it! Her kids even connected with one another seeing their sibling as a partner and ally, rather than a thorn in their side. Upon their return from camp, they argue less and play together more often. Maybe you are a Norwegian too? Find out the 5 Signs You Might Be Norwegian

Patricia Monahan’s “Lost in Translation” is a cute, short and hilarious post on language can be lost without certain cultural background. Pay attention to name your favorite food as “pasta”, because it means toothpaste in Portuguese!

Olena’s post Bilingualism vs. Biculturalism? The Curious Case of the Japanese Brazilians gave a good definition on “bilingualism” and “biculturalism”. She listed eight aspects that a bilingual person experiences culture beyond language: food, folk art, celebrations, jokes, manners, clothes and dressings, working schedules and child-rearing methods. She then talk about the differences between biculturalism and bilingualism via a case of the Japanese Brazilians. She concludes that “bilingualism is a great tool and a way to open the door to biculturalism but it is not the same thing!”

Leanna at All Done Monkey shared a guest post (Learning about Language in Papua New Guinea) written by Chelsea Lee Smith, a mother  of two boys ages 2 and 4. Chelsea is passionate about the education of children, so her post talks about how learning another language, even just a few phrases, can be a window into another culture. A few years ago, Chelsea and her husband  were running a basic family health initiative in the country of Papua New Guinea.

Bilingualism vs. Biculturalism? The Curious Case of the Japanese Brazilians Learning about Language in Papua New Guinea

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To her surprise, she found out Papua New Guinea (PNG) is arguably the most linguistically diverse country in the world. With over 850 languages spoken, it is an incredible place to go and experience language diversity! The official languages of PNG are Pidgin (an English based creole), English, and Hiri Motu.

However English is only spoken by a very small percentage of the population (estimated 1-2%) and Hiri Motu becoming less and less common. The couple spent half the time learning a couple phrases from one local language, and then the other half learning a completely new language. What an experience in language appreciation!

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!

Maria’s Traditions and the bilingual family offer a handful of reasons for why is it important to create family traditions when raising a bilingual family. One reason is “Traditions give children a sense of identity, especially when they are cultural. And since language and culture are intricately related, traditions help children better understand both.” I completedly agree with Maria on this matter.

You are more than welcome to stay in touch with our ongoing MKB Blogging Carnival, where you can follow the Blogging Carnival Pinterest board for all of our blogging carnival posts.

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.

Related post:
August Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism is here!


Comments

  1. 1
    Kali // September 12th, 2014 at 5:23 am

    This is a great topic! Many times in my study of Spanish, learning something about the culture helped me to reinforce the language learning, or has made the language-learning experience more vibrant. Can’t wait to dive in to each of the blog articles you introduce. Thanks for hosting such an informative blogging carnival!

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