In a previous post (How important is the local language? )I discussed reasons for choosing to have your children learn the host country language. In that post, I focused mostly on general thoughts and monolingual families. In this post, I'd like to address the important, and difficult, question faced by multilingual families - Whether or … Continue reading Multilingual Mobile Families: Thoughts on integrating the host country language
The majority of families I work with are OPOL (one parent- one language) families, but as I've written about before, OPOL is not always as easy, or successful, as it seems. (see these posts: OPOL: Does it always work?, Different perspectives on OPOL, A final roundup of OPOL stories ) Often, OPOL is adopted because … Continue reading Becoming a “domains of use” family…
One of the great things to come out of whole-school professional development is that it helps all staff be on the same page when it comes to lettingkids speak their L1 (first language) at school. That may sound obvious, but unfortunately, it isn't. Far too often I hear of, or come across, schools with a … Continue reading “You can’t speak that language here!”
My linguistic resolution for this summer was to speak more French with my kids. Two weeks left in the summer, and how is that going? The answer, unfortunately, is not so well... What I have learned this summer, after spending five weeks in North American (half in the US and half in Canada) is that … Continue reading Being bilingual in a monolingual world.
So, here we are officially summer and officially on summer vacation. This summer brings a lot of major events for my kids; we are taking our now-six year old twins to the US and Canada (their passport countries) for the first time. They are interested and intrigued to meet people who can "only speak English" … Continue reading Summer resolutions, linguistics-style
More parents are recognizing the benefits of bilingualism for their children, but not everyone has easy or automatic access to a second or additional language for their children. In some of these cases, both parents share one language, but also speak at least one other language that they have "learned". There is a common myth … Continue reading “I’m not a native speaker – is that okay?”
Unfortunately, most bilingual families go through this crisis at some point; despite best efforts to provide good and consistent input, despite the ability to use the language if necessary... most bilingual kids, at some point, figure out which language gets them the most effect for the least effort, and choose to use that language, all … Continue reading “But she won’t speak *my* language…”
Over the weekend, I spent many hours running the canteen at an Irish dance "Feis". My daughter is a dancer, and every year they host a competition, attracting dancers from various parts of Europe. Over the weekend, I spoke to people from Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Finland, England, Ireland, the US and Canada. The most … Continue reading The Multilingual World of Irish Dance
I've been thinking about this issue for a while, and was finally motivated to write about it by a post on a parenting board. A Spanish-speaking American mother was considering her language use with her children, and how much Spanish she does or should use with her children. This sparked a discussion with some other … Continue reading Heritage languages: Fighting a losing battle?
As a Canadian, I am very aware of the political nature of bilingualism in many places. Historically, language has been used to dominate and assimilate, and to include or exclude certain groups from mainstream society. Language is not only about communication, but also about culture and thought and how we interact with others. The Universal … Continue reading When Bilingualism Goes Political