Thursday, 26 November 2009
Every month the Carnival is hosted at a different blog. You can check the schedule and book your turn for hosting (next available slot seems to be March, so if you’re interested you should let us know as soon as possible). If you’d like to be updated about future issues, know when and how to submit your posts to the carnival, or just make sure you won’t miss any, please sign up to the newsletter, which will be used only for the bare minimum of communication needed to get the Carnival going, normally 2 emails per month, nothing else.
So, in no particular order, here are the articles for this month:
- Clo at "Multi Tongue Kids" shares how she and her family might come across as crazy in everyday situation, simply because they are using so many languages and nobody else understands them.
- Deanna at "Bilingual Readers" looks at whether watching TV might have a positive effect on learning more languages.
- Stefanie at "Mummy Do That" tells the story of her daughter's first Laternenumzug (lantern procession) and evokes an aspect of bilingual life: multi-culturalism.
- Tanja at "Intrepidly Bilingual" is also reporting on culture and how by actively following the traditions of all cultures, she motivates her children to speak the minority language.
- Maria at "Fab Mums" writes about the same subject, cultural exposure. Her example fits nicely into the time of year: christmas songs.
- From "Blogging on Bilingualism" comes a very interesting question: do we, the parents, have to make some sacrifices?
- Solnushka at "Verbosity" discusses Stephen Krashen and the silent period. She also explains why learning from TV won't work.
- My own post from Babelkid is on OPOMLAH and why I think that's a good constellation.
- Last but not least I would like to point out two articles that were not submitted but somehow touched a nerve. Suzanne at "Notes from the OPOL family" gets help from her cat and Reb at "Uh Oh Spaghettios" deals with the perception others have when they think she is not a native speaker.
I hope you enjoyed our carnival this month! Please do not hesitate to pass on the message! Tweet it, share it on Facebook, invite people to read and participate! We are still a tiny minority on the network, but I can't see why that wouldn't change...
The next carnival will be held at Bilingual Readers on January 20th. So sign up to the newsletter, check out the schedule and most importantly: keep sharing those great bilingual and multilingual stories!
Thanks a lot,
Souad & Jan at BabelKid
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
I know this has nothing to do with multilingualism. However, it is relevant to the fact that it is ok to be different. Variety is no threat, it is healthy to think individually while respecting other people's points of views and feelings. Nobody should be ill-judged just because they are or think different.
The UK Government is trying to rush through a new Bill which would fundamentally change the role of the state in family life. It would be contrary to European Human Rights Law and UK Law, and would put a huge foot in the door to having compulsory CRB checks and monitoring of parents.
This bill (if it goes through) may change the balance of power between state and parents and also change English law from its current premise of Innocent Until Proved Guilty.
If it goes through, the state will be in charge of home educated children and may have a greater say than their parents as to how they are educated. Local Authorities will have the right to enter the home. They also will be speaking to the child alone as part of this assessment.
This is all with no evidence of wrongdoing either by the individual family or the home educating community in general.
Logically, once this is through and Local Authorities have the right to enter one set of innocent people's homes and take their children aside to speak to them without their parents or other trusted adult present, then they might extend this to anyone whose parenting they want to assess - single parents, benefit claimants, the disabled, religious people, excessive breastfeeders, foreigners etc.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
We are living in the UK. Everyone around us speaks English except some of our friends. BK1 goes to school and is immersed in English (or rather Mancunian) from 9 to 3 every day. Their favourite TV channel is CBeebies, obviously a BBC channel and therefore English.
I have also changed the colours for BK2. She doesn't really speak so far but she can say certain things in two languages, in a way. Her words for "shoes" resemble the Arabic and German words.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Don't get me wrong: I am all for multilingual children and I would not raise my children any other way. I adore their capabilities. I envy them for this gift.
Still, this one thing will always be there, and it will strike when you least need it!
So what is this terrible secret, this issue nobody dares to mention? It's simple: In multilingual families, parents have no secret language.
No way for the parents to talk about something secretly in front of the children. We can not just switch to another language and discuss, they will always understand! No matter how hard we try to say things in a complicated way or mixing words or using obscure grammar: they will crack the code and push us further out into the realm of "creative talking."
Say BK1 wants a cookie. I don't know whether she has had one already or whether anything else has happened that would lead to a "No" here. So I desperately try to read BMs body language. Does she look negative? What do her eyes say? Was that the "no way" stare? Or was it the "whatever..." gesture? Did she just sigh?
It usually comes down to one of us signaling the other one "you decide." Wouldn't it be nice to be able to actually talk about it right then?
And then again: maybe that's not too bad. It forces us to be open and honest with the kids, which I think might help them develop strong values.
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
I am not sure people realise how many Arabic dialects there are out there, on top of classical Arabic which is mostly used for reading, writing and news broadcasts. The funny thing is different Arabic-speaking people do not always understand each other. It is a bit like a Spanish speaking with a Portuguese. Sound similar, have the same origin, but still different. Note this is coming from someone who speaks neither Spanish nor Portuguese.
We are lucky to have close Algerian friends who live nearby. They have two children of roughly similar ages to ours. BK1 and her little 6-year old friend speak mostly arabic between them. However, they sometimes switch to English. We find ourselves insisting that they speak arabic instead. Some people can find this weird. However, I feel that we need to give our minority languages a chance, by encouraging the children to use them when appropriate.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
I am glad we are not living in an Arabic-, French- or German-speaking place. I think it is beneficial that the world around us is speaking yet another language.
Sometimes when we tell people about our language mix, the reaction includes concern: will the kids be able to learn all these languages? How will 3 "non-local" languages survive the influence of our English surroundings?
Those are good questions.
So far I think Lilia has proven that learning a lot of languages at the same time was easy-peasy for her. And I fully expect Ines to follow in her footsteps. It seems to me the human brain wants to learn languages at a young age.
We will see whether the kids will speak anything but English in the long run. My expectation is that they drop one or two other languages, but they will most likely still understand everything. And they will be able to pick the "lost languages" back up very quickly if they have to, I am sure.
Our approach on multilingual learning is a combination of OPOL and MLaH. We are basically doing "One Parent, one Minority Language at Home" (OPOMLAH).
Why do I like that?
Because it means our minority languages get fair treatment. Souad's and my mother tongues are minority languages and neither is preferred. I have the impression that this makes OPOL easier for the parents.
I also hope that because we have 4 languages floating around, the children will more easily grasp the concept of being multilingual. Rather than thinking "Papa speaks differently", they understand that a lot of people speak in a lot of different ways.
Here's hoping that understanding this will cause them not to drop any of their languages at all.