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Guest Posts

Guest Post: How a Monolingual Family Became a Bilingual Family

Konnichiwa! (That’s hello in Japanese!) If you had met me four years ago, I could only have greeted you in English and (maybe) Spanish…from the few Spanish words I learned from sleeping through my Spanish class in high school. I wasn’t interested in learning another language and never realized the opportunities and depth that can come with it. Moving to Japan I am—well, was—a monolingual mom from a completely monolingual family. We’re a military family and, to our dismay—at least

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Guest Post: Raising Bilingual Kids in Challenging Conditions Can Ignite a Parent’s Creativity

I have always liked the scene in the Disney movie “Big Hero 6” where, in a moment when the younger brother was feeling hopeless and out of ideas for a big project, the older brother carried him on his shoulders and turned him upside down to shake him and move him around their bedroom, encouraging him to look at things from another angle. Every now and then I feel like I need that kind of shaking up to reset and

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Guest Post: Bilingual Ability Is Always a Positive Thing

Like all of you, I’m doing the best I can to ensure that my daughter (the little fairy above) grows to enjoy the benefits of speaking more than one language, and hopefully she’ll do the same with her own children in the future. At the moment she’s three years old and is a lovely, funny little girl and (at least so far) seems very interested in languages. My own interest in bilingualism/multilingualism is both personal and professional. I did my

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Guest Post: My Son and I Create a Storytelling Podcast That Advances His Bilingual Ability in a Really Fun Way

Last year, my 6-year-old son, Josh, began listening to an English language story podcast called What If World. The stories on this podcast are fun, creative, and super imaginative. Josh enjoyed them so much, he could listen to episode after episode. Because I’m committed to raising a bilingual, Hindi-speaking child, I decided that I needed to find something similar for him to listen to in Hindi. So I looked for Hindi story podcasts online and on apps like Saavn, an

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Guest Post: 5 Key Strategies That Have Enabled Me to Successfully Foster My Son’s Bilingual Ability

This article describes five key strategies that have enabled me to successfully foster my son’s ability in the minority language, to the age of 4, despite being basically the only source of exposure to this language in my young son’s life. My wife, my son, and I live in Tokyo, Japan. My wife is Japanese, I’m American, and our son, Soma (a name we considered, but not his real name) is a dual citizen. As a family we have never

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Guest Post: Creating a Little Bilingual Family—If Not Precisely By the Book

I try hard not to cringe when well-meaning friends and family speak to my daughter in broken English. According to the “rules” of bilingualism, they should be speaking in Spanish, their native language and the majority language in Argentina where we live. But I’ve found that when people hear me speak to my two-year-old in my native English they automatically trend towards using it themselves with her. The curious result is my Argentine-born daughter is being treated like a foreigner

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Guest Post: Bilingual Success with a Proactive Language Strategy

Even before my son was born, now seven years ago, I knew that one day he would be bilingual. Born in the United Kingdom to Polish parents, he had the opportunity to learn two languages at the same time. The question we asked ourselves, though—like so many other parents who have immigrated to the U.K. and speak English as a second language—was how to actually manage the process of his bilingual acquisition. The downside to a common method The conventional

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Guest Post: Engaging Your Incredible Bilingual Child in the Minority Language

My favorite line in The Incredibles movie is when in the midst of complete chaos at the dinner table, which goes seemingly unnoticed by Mr. Incredible, his wife Helen (aka Elastigirl) finally pleads for his intervention and yells, “Bob! It’s time to engage!” I have felt like Helen lately, wanting to plead with my children to engage in the minority language. Over the past 7 months, my children have undergone major life changes: moving to another state, mommy working full-time

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Guest Post: How to Make the Most of Reading Aloud to Your Kids in Two or More Languages

In our home, we have a rule: “One more book, bought or borrowed, is always okay.” Things like clothes and candy, they have their limits, but when it comes to books, we can never have too many. Reading aloud to children is extremely important for their language development, and this is even more true when the child is growing up in a bilingual family and needs ample input in the minority language. In daily conversation, we tend to use the

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Guest Post: Bilingual Families and the Importance of Limiting the Influence of the Majority Language at Home

When I joined Adam’s forum, The Bilingual Zoo, I eagerly read about some of the experiences of other parents of bilingual children and the thread begun by James H really struck a chord in me. Despite using the “one person, one language” (OPOL) approach from day one—I spoke English to the kids and my husband spoke Spanish—my elder daughter tended to respond in French, our majority language, especially since starting nursery school, with a little Spanish when she felt like

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Guest Post: Promote the Minority Language With Small Bilingual Children Through Playful Games and Activities

My husband and I use the “one person, one language” method to raise our children. We live in Australia and English is the community language. We never speak English with the children inside or outside our home. I speak French to the children and my husband speaks Spanish to them. Between the two of us, we use Spanish. We’re lucky in a sense because I’m fluent in Spanish and my husband can speak French so we can speak freely to

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