The article below appeared in the latest print issue of GetHiroshima Magazine.
What books are helpful for parents to read in their quest to raise children with good bilingual ability? See these posts for suggestions!
The article below appeared in the latest print issue of GetHiroshima Magazine.
This week marks the half-year anniversary since my new book was released, on April 17, so I thought it would be a good time to provide an update on the past six months.
I’m happy to report that the early response to the book, from both professionals in the field and parents around the world, has been extremely positive. Below I’ll share a sampling of these impressions, along with links to interviews in which I talk about the book on audio or video.
First, though, please let me make another appeal for your support.
1. If you haven’t read the book yet, I’m confident it can give the same kind of empowering boost to your bilingual journey as it has with hundreds of other readers. At the same time, the proceeds from this book make it possible for me to keep Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo going and growing! All this online content is free—and I want to keep it free—but it’s also true that it’s getting costly for me to maintain these two sites. This means that your purchase helps us both in important ways! Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability is available worldwide, in paperback and as an e-book, at Amazon and other retailers.
2. If you’ve read the book (or after you read it), please share your impressions with others in a review at Amazon, one of the global Amazon sites, or elsewhere online. I know this step can easily be overlooked in the midst of our busy lives, but your review (even a short one is fine!) would be so helpful in spreading the word to others. At the same time, this feedback from each reader means a lot to me personally. So I’d truly appreciate it! (And please feel free to share your impressions in other languages besides English!)
3. Please continue to tell others about the book. Your support through word-of-mouth is another key factor in exposing the book and its value to other bilingual and multilingual families. And with Christmas approaching, you might even consider gifting a few copies of the book, too! It makes a nice present!
Thank you! I honestly don’t like “selling” the book, but I believe deeply in its value to other parents and providing support so that families worldwide can experience greater success and joy on this marvelous journey is at the very heart of my work.
Note: If you’re interested in reading and reviewing my book for your website or publication, please email me directly.
Annick De Houwer, one of the world’s leading researchers on bilingualism in children and author of the seminal books Bilingual First Language Acquisition and An Introduction to Bilingual Development, has endorsed my book (in English and German) on her website at the University of Erfurt, in Germany, where she serves as a professor of language acquisition and multilingualism.
Are you a parent seeking to raise a bilingual child in a non-native language?
A teacher who teaches a language that isn’t your mother tongue, or a subject where you must use a second language in your instruction?
A translator or interpreter who wants to continue sharpening your language skills?
Or maybe a student or language lover who would like to improve your ability more quickly and more enjoyably?
If you fit one (or more) of these profiles, I urge you to read the book Maintaining Your Second Language by Eve Lindemuth Bodeux. Eve, a professional translator and parent to two bilingual children, has done the language-learning world a tremendous service by compiling a treasure trove of practical tips and tools for sustaining and strengthening one’s second (or additional) language.
For this new quiz, I’ve created questions based on information found in Annick De Houwer’s book Bilingual First Language Acquisition. To read my impressions of the book, see Recommended Resources: Books on Bilingual Acquisition by Prominent Researcher Annick De Houwer. That post also features an insightful interview with the author.
Ready for the quiz? Good luck!
1. BFLA stands for Bilingual First Language Acquisition and, in Dr. De Houwer’s words, refers to “the development of language in young children who hear two languages spoken to them from birth.” On the other hand, when monolingual children begin to acquire a second language on top of their first language, not from birth but from a young age, as in day care or preschool, what is this process called?
a. ESLA, which stands for Early Second Language Acquisition
b. ESLA, which stands for Early Successive Language Acquisition
c. BSLA, which stands for Bilingual Second Language Acquisition
d. BSLA, which stands for Bilingual Successive Language Acquisition
2. Jules Ronjat, a French linguist, wrote the first book about BFLA, a case study of his son growing up with two languages from birth. When was this book published?
3. What is the term used to describe the exaggerated way of speaking, marked by a higher pitch, that adults tend to use when talking to babies?
a. canonical babbling
b. infant soundscape
c. infant-directed speech
d. floating utterances
Want to learn more about the science behind your child’s bilingual development? You won’t find a more knowledgeable guide than Annick De Houwer.
Dr. De Houwer, a professor of language acquisition and multilingualism at the University of Erfurt in Germany, is a leading scholar and researcher in the field of early child bilingualism and has written two excellent textbooks on the subject. Her work, in fact, has greatly enriched my own thinking and writing when it comes to the practical challenge of raising bilingual children and her illuminating efforts to understand the mechanisms of bilingual acquisition will continue to benefit multilingual families worldwide.
In this post, I’m very pleased to feature Dr. De Houwer and her work. I’ll offer my compact impressions of her books then step back to share an insightful interview we pursued via email. After that, you’ll have a chance to win the book of your choice in a special giveaway.
Note: Today’s post is from the preface to my book Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability: Ideas and inspiration for even greater success and joy raising bilingual kids, available worldwide at Amazon and other retailers.
Not far from my house in Hiroshima, Japan are several wide rice paddies nestled among apartment buildings and homes. In the autumn these fields are thick with tall, green stalks, nodding their heavy loads of rice.
Growing a good crop of rice isn’t easy. Rice farmers spend long hours preparing the land, managing the water level, planting and fertilizing and weeding. And the farmers who do all these things a little more effectively, a little more diligently, day by day, end up harvesting a larger crop.
Their yield is bigger.
I can think of no better metaphor for raising bilingual children. The truth is, if we, too, pursue the range of daily efforts for nurturing language development a little more effectively, a little more diligently, our children’s bilingual ability will grow better, stronger, over the years of childhood.
By providing ideas and inspiration to help you become more effective and more diligent in your efforts, this book will serve to strengthen your children’s language development and maximize their bilingual ability.
The question is: What actions can a busy parent take to optimize the growth of a child’s bilingual ability? At the same time, how can this be done in fun, child-friendly ways?
I’ve spent 20 years seeking answers to this question. This book holds the fruits of what I’ve found.
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. —Nido Quebein
Think of it this way: Raising a child to be bilingual is about odds and each family’s odds of success will be higher or lower depending on their particular circumstances and how proactive they are about shaping these conditions in effective ways.
My experience as a teacher at Hiroshima International School demonstrates that the odds of a Japanese child successfully becoming bilingual are extremely high when that child acquires Japanese from the family and community, and English from the school environment. Of course, the degree of that ability in English will depend on such variables as the age at which the child enters the school and how long that attendance lasts. Still, I think it’s safe to say that, generally speaking, strong bilingual success for children who are exposed to the majority language at home and the minority language at school is virtually assured.
Many families, though, face a very different scenario, with circumstances that inherently make the challenge of fostering active ability in the minority language far more difficult. In other words, such circumstances, instead of working in the family’s favor—as in the example above—work against their success.
BREAKING NEWS: Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability is now also available in paperback at Amazon sites in Europe and Canada.
The new book by Adam Beck, founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, can be obtained as a paperback or e-book at Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Amazon Spain, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Italy, and Amazon Canada.
Note: These important questions are from the Reader’s Guide to the book Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability and are tied to the “Perspectives” and “Principles” found in this book. Ask and address the questions in this comprehensive “checklist” to strengthen your efforts and your success at raising bilingual children.
Below you will also find the link to a PDF file with these questions, which can be freely downloaded and shared, and a video reading of the full text.
1. What are the benefits, to your mind, in raising a bilingual child? For the child? For you? For your family, near and far? For others? For the world? (Perspective 2 and Perspective 30)
2. How strongly do you believe that your actions each day—even your small actions—make an important difference to the larger success of your bilingual quest? (Perspective 3)
3. Which of your current circumstances are favorable for your success? Which circumstances are less favorable? How will you address these less favorable conditions to raise the odds of success? (Perspective 5)
4. How do you stay mindful of your bilingual aim? Does this include writing about your experience in some form? (Perspective 7)
5. In what ways are you proactive in your efforts? Could you be more proactive in some way? (Perspective 8)
UPDATE FOR APRIL 2016: Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability is now available worldwide, as both a paperback and e-book. Just click on the image below to get your copy.
As many of you know, I’ve been working on a book about raising bilingual children to bring together the best of my experience over the past 20 years as a teacher and parent of bilingual kids. In fact, it’s taken a lot longer to write this book than I had anticipated—well over three years. From time to time I would mention my progress (or lack of progress ) at this blog and many people said they were curious to read it…but I could only ask them to wait.
Meanwhile, I’ve done my best to stay active at Bilingual Monkeys and at The Bilingual Zoo, offering a range of information and ideas that I hope have been of some support to your bilingual journey. I also released a shorter e-book, titled Instant Inspiration for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids, which can now be downloaded freely.
Finally, last fall, I felt ready to share a “preview edition” of Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability with early readers, to receive feedback. When I made this appeal, I was so heartened by the response: more people wanted to read the book than I could realistically accept. In the end, I received feedback from 26 people—parents of bilingual kids all over the world—and their frank and helpful impressions enabled me to pursue another three months of targeted writing and make the content of the book even stronger. I’m very grateful to them all. (See their positive reactions to the “preview edition.”)
I had planned to release the first edition of the book this spring, in both print and digital versions—and that’s still basically my plan—but I’ve decided to add another stage to this release…beginning today. Because I’ve kept people waiting so long, and then couldn’t even accommodate all those who wanted to preview it last fall, I don’t want to continue putting interested readers off—especially at the start of a new year when our motivation is at its highest and the book could be most helpful!
So here’s what I’ll do: I’ll offer early access to the final manuscript of the book in a PDF file that you can download right now. The final manuscript is simply the typewritten text (the published first edition will naturally look more “fancy”), but it contains all the content, over 77,000 words of it, intended for the first edition. At the same time (if you like), you can also order a copy of the printed book and I’ll send it directly to your home, anywhere in the world, once it’s ready, in roughly April or May. (For a limited number of people, my kids and I can sign your book, too!)
In this way, whether or not you also order a printed book, you won’t have to wait any longer—you can start reading the book today.
Thank you for your interest in my work. I’m thrilled to finally share this book with you and be able to do even more to support the success of your family’s bilingual journey.