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Guest Posts

Bilingual Travelers: Wedding Bells and a Bilingual Boost in the United States

Making a home in Japan My son, Oliver, was born in a suburb of Hiroshima, Japan in the fall of 2013 while I was still busy wrapping up my masters degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. When my partner, Yuco, and I got married earlier that year, the plan had always been to start our lives together in Vancouver, a kind of symbolic halfway point between her hometown in Japan and mine in North Carolina in

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Bilingual Travelers: Blue Skies and Bilingual Success in France

Here in Oregon we have just a handful of French-speaking friends, so my husband and I planned a trip to France this past summer so our children could be immersed in the language and make some French friends. We initially planned to stay for six weeks because my husband gets a six-week stretch of summer vacation each year. However, while reading Be Bilingual by Annika Bourgogne, I got the idea that the children and I could stay a month or

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Guest Post: Battling the Majority Language Giant (While Feeling Like a Minority Language Gnome)

By Ana Paula G. Mumy, MS, CCC-SLP When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, as any parent, I did so many things to prepare for our daughter’s arrival, but as a bilingual mom-to-be, I conscientiously prepared for being the primary Portuguese speaker in her life. Even with all of the preparation of reading blogs and books about bilingual parenting, building a library of children’s storybooks in Portuguese, and relearning children’s songs from my childhood, I naively

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Guest Post: Speech-Language Pathologist Tells All About Bilingualism, Speech, and Language Delays

The question I am asked most often when talking about raising my children bilingually is, “But won’t that confuse them?” Often times I believe the hidden or unspoken question behind this query is, “Won’t they be delayed if you do that?” The first thing I want to address as a speech-language specialist is that there is no research-based evidence that bilingualism causes language disorders. Again and again the research demonstrates no negative effects of bilingualism, even for children with known

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Bilingual Travelers: Sweet Exposure to Language and Culture in Germany

My family’s bilingual situation is comparatively “easy”: We live in Paris, only a few hours by car or train from Germany, and there is even a direct flight to my hometown where most of my family still live. (I won’t tell you about the size of the plane, though.) As a result, so far we’ve managed to organise several trips to the minority country each year. Every Christmas we make the 12-hour car trip to stay for a week at

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Bilingual Travelers: Smooth Sailing to Language and Culture in Ireland

Like other parents raising bilingual children, I want to expose my kids to the culture of the minority language as much as possible. So when the opportunity arose to travel back to Ireland for ten days this summer to see family and friends, I was quite excited. I know France and Ireland aren’t exactly a million miles apart, but it’s not so easy to get back there, even for a brief stay, when I have to find a time that’s

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Bilingual Travelers: Spring in Hungary Brings Blooming Language Ability

“If we don’t count afternoon naps,” announced Blair, jumping out of bed before 6 a.m. as usual, “we only have to sleep four more times before we go to Mama and Papa’s!” We would soon be traveling across the ocean to stay for a month, and I shared her excitement fully while trying not to think about how much I hated packing. It had only been about a year since our last visit to Hungary, but the decision to go

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Thank You Letter from a Bilingual Child: Olga Mecking

Dear Parents, You were right. You were absolutely right in your decision to raise me with more than one language. I was three years old when we moved to Germany. I learned to speak German so quickly that people wondered: “Why does that child speak perfect German and her parents have a heavy Slavic accent?” But who cares about an accent when you can communicate just fine with your son-in-law and your three grandchildren?

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Guest Post: If At First You Don’t Succeed, You May Be the Minority Language Parent

Any child of mine will be bilingual in the womb. How could they not? If I can become fluent in four languages, surely they can master just two by the time they’re born. All right, maybe I was being overly ambitious. I understand that children don’t come out speaking, but surely we’ll be chatting in Russian about the merits of Dostoyevsky by the time they turn five. Alas, my modest expectations were not being met as I faced my daughter,

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Thank You Letter from a Bilingual Child: Tatyana Leskowicz

Dear Mom and Dad, How could you?! There I was, trying to bare my teenage soul to you about the latest tragedy in my life, and you didn’t care! “I no speaky English” you said in what by then must have been the family motto. You speaky! I know you do, I’ve seen you do it! Yet you stood there and slowly supplied me with the Russian words I didn’t know or didn’t remember, insisting that I use them. And

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Guest Post: Extraordinary Grandparents – Extraordinary Moments

I’m really pleased today to share a guest post by Annie Dye. Annie has written a lovely piece about promoting closer ties between grandparents and grandchildren, despite the distance and other obstacles that often affect families with bilingual kids. As my own family will soon be traveling to visit my parents in the United States—after a long five years without a reunion—this subject is now very much on my mind. Thank you for these important thoughts, Annie! by Annie Dye

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