5 Speaking Tips for Minority Language Parents

Raising my child in a multilingual home and working with tons of multilingual families over the years, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.  If you are the only source of the language for your child, just speaking with them often won’t work.  It might be more successful before they enter school, but oftentimes it... Read more »

Multilingual Blog Carnival - Priorities in Language Learning

I am very honored to be holding this month’s multilingual blog carnival.  We have some great posts on how others from around the world build language learning into their families’ busy lives.  Raising multilingual children requires a large commitment of time, energy, and family resources.  For this reason, it’s necessary to make many choices about... Read more »

Hiring a Tutor for a Week of Chinese Immersion

I mentioned in a previous post that I really don’t care for immersion camps abroad.  I also opted to pass on attending a Concordia Language Village Family Camp this year.  Instead, we hired a tutor to spend the week with us.  This was a wonderful experience and one I’d highly recommend doing.  The cost is... Read more »

Even If You Don't See It, Children Are Learning Language

Last night we walked by the area of our city where they hold the annual carnival.  They had a petting zoo there that we spent about 15 fun-filled minutes at towards the end of last summer.  My daughter turns to me and asks, “绵羊在哪里 (Where is the lamb)?”  Last summer, she was barely saying a... Read more »

Playing with Language - A Sign of Success

My daughter has been doing some amazing stuff recently.  Language is fluid.  It changes every generation and we always use it in new ways.  People just really like to play with it.  We mess up grammar on purpose – “Now you done did it”, change our accent, or make up new words like “ginormous”.  Playing... Read more »

Why I Don't Like Overseas Language Camps

For families with the means, overseas language camps are a growing industry in children’s language education. The idea is a based on a good assumption that immersion in the foreign language is best learned in the country where it’s spoken. However, children living in their home country of course don’t need to learn the language.... Read more »

Dual Immersion - Adding the Conversation Component

“Ni jiao shen me ming zi?” (what’s your name), I ask one of my students who’s been in a Chinese immersion program for the past 3 years.  In response, I get a blank look and no answer.  After several prompts, she finally gives me only her name, not using a single Chinese word .  I... Read more »

Should Bilingual Children Learn English First?

An idea I come across fairly often is the thought that children need to learn English before learning another language.  The basic assumption here is that children cannot learn two languages at once.  This is just not true.  Sixty-six percent of children, over 2/3rds of the world, grow up bilingual or trilingual.  It’s actually the... Read more »

Varying Exposure in Children's Language Learning

Have you ever noticed that you tend to talk about the same things at home over and over?  How often do you find yourself discussing world geography or Chinese history at home?  The fact is that household language is fairly routine and formulaic.  Variation is of large significance when helping your child grow up multilingual.... Read more »

One of the Luckiest Dads in the World

I count myself as one of the luckiest dads in the world.  When my daughter, Jasmine, was born, she was born premature in a not-so-good Chinese hospital.  My wife had pregnancy complications that affected her chance of surviving to birth.  We weren’t given much information by the non-English speaking staff, but we understood that every... Read more »