Category: Multilingualism

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 »

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 »
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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 »

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 »
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Making Mistakes as a Non-native Speaker

One of the hardest things about raising my daughter in one of my non-native languages is making mistakes.  It’s not so bad if it’s just me, but if I’m teaching it to her wrong, that’s really frustrating.  For example, in Chinese, did you know that 转 and 转 are different words?  Yep, me neither until just recently.  They are... Read more »

I Have an Accent and I'm OK with That

That’s right.  I have an accent and I’m OK with that.  I have an accent when I speak Chinese, I have one when I speak Turkish, and, guess what, I even have one when I speak English.  That’s because everyone has an accent.  The rhythm and sounds in our speech our unique to our place... Read more »

Silence is Golden in Language Learning

We know from the experts that children must talk talk talk to learn a language.  How many bilingual parents have children that understand, but can’t speak the language?  The answer is a lot more than you’d think.  Language use requires multiple parts of the brain with the receptive (reading, listening) and productive (writing, speaking) skills... Read more »
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Mixing Languages - Bilingual Children are So Smart!

Multilingual children have a lot of advantages over their monolingual peers – they tend to be more creative, perform better academically, can communicate with additional cultures, and have lower risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s.  One of the ways I see this intelligence boost all the time with my daughter is when she mixes her languages.... Read more »