It is with great pleasure that I am the host of this month’s Multicultural Kids Blogs Carnival. The theme this month is ‘Where do you come from?’ which can be a tricky question for lots of people to answer in this modern world. But as many brighter people than me have said, how can you know where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been?
When I decided on this topic, I had no idea what sort of replies I would get, but I was sure there would be a wide variety. My own contribution comes at the end, along with two others, in a poem. I also had posts that are primarily photographic, posts that identify a particular place and others that are far more vague about a geographical home. Then there are others that see home in the languages they speak, or the mix of races and cultures that they come from.
But the first post, ‘Is “Where Are You From” A Relevant Question?‘ comes from Kampuchea Crossings and questions the who validity of the question in the first place, and some of the loaded assumptions that come with it.
In ‘Where Are You From? A Loaded Question‘ we hear about why it is so hard for Pragmatic Mom to give an easy answer. Her post is worth checking out if only for some of the great photos.
Trilingual Mama provides a vivid description of her childhood in a Latin American family living in the USA. She then goes on to look out how the addition of a husband from yet another culture has affected her children. ‘Watered Down Hispanics‘ is a wonderful post with some brilliant family photos.
Family in Finland has a post from the eyes of her 4-year-old daughter about how she feels calling Finland her home for the last 4 months in ‘My Name Is Malika Afif-Watt. Where Am I From?‘ There are some great photos in this collection, often involving lots of snow!
‘Ain’t no need to watch where I’m going, just need to know where I’ve been.’
(All around) The Americas
Rio de Janeiro is the home of the upcoming World Cup final and Olympics and has a reputation for being a wonderful and happy city. Although, as A Path of Light points out, in Happiness as Priority, being happy isn’t necessarily a good thing.
The Tiger Tales hails from another country famous for its happiness and music, but there is a lot more to Trinidad and Tobago than just ‘calypso, the steel pan and limbo’ as we find out in ‘#Sweet TnT: the country of my birth.’
Another story about a bewildering family tree comes from Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes. She embraces the questions, and the random guesses, from various people as a way to take in pride in who she is and pass this on to her son in ‘Are You Native American, Mexican or Indian?‘
(More or less) Europe
The European Mama has two answers to the question: a short one and a long one. The long answer is complicated, but much more interesting and offers insights into her identity and that or her family in ‘I’m From Europe. Where Are You From?‘
A post from Multilingual Parenting goes right to the heart of the matter by asking, and answering the question ‘Bilingual! Bicultural! Do You Know Where I Am Coming From?‘ In seeking to answer the question for herself, she shows how the answer can change quite dramatically over time.
The Piri-Piri Lexicon wonders aloud about her own sense of belonging, and also about how her kids are going to answer the question ‘Where Are You From?‘
Happy Muslim Mama has obviously done a lot of thinking on this very subject with three posts all dealing with her ideas: ‘Five Brothers from the Land of Five Rivers‘, ‘Identity, Language and Going Back Home‘ and finally ‘Roots and Branches – a British Punjabi Genealogy‘.
Homeschool Ways is very proud of her country of birth and in her post ‘Where Am I From? Romania‘ she gives us a a quick run down on language, technology and a burning desire to be in the news.
None of the Above
Ay yo, Be a Father still has a while to go before directly addressing the question of where his son comes from, but has already found that, with the help of reading, they are on the right lines in his post ‘Which Box Will He Check?‘
Instead of being from one particular place, one answer to the question might be that you come from every place, or in other words, you are a global citizen. All Done Monkey considers this possible answer and what implications it might have for children in ‘What Is a Global Citizen?‘
Expat Since Birth finds it impossible to say where, geographically, she is from. Instead, she finds it much easier to think about the languages she speaks and she wrote in her very first post called ‘My Home Are My Languages.’
An Irish Eco Dude In Brazil doesn’t give us any definite answers, but his evocative poem seems to suggest that is the ‘Journeys‘ we are on to find the answers that are as important as the answers themselves.
To almost finish we have two great minds which think alike because they have written poems inspired by George Ella Lyon. First of all is Mother Tongues Blog with ‘I Am From‘ and then my own version called ‘Where I’m From.‘
And finally, La Cité des Vents offers us a round-up, if not a conclusion, to our quest to find out ‘Where Are You From?‘
You can find much more information about Multicultural Kid Blogs, including past and present blogging carnivals by going to their site and having a mooch around. There are great articles on a variety of subjects, as well as what promises to be an excellent series of posts on the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil and its effects on children.
And I leave you with a bit of Elvis Presley singing ‘Where Do You Come From?’
I couldn’t find an appropriate image, but I really like this painting by Mark Chadwick – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
I recently saw a video of a friend who is bringing her son up to speak English and some Portuguese. I have a lot in common with them due to the age of the child (about 3), the fact that they come from the same city as me and we have similar backgrounds.
They are also different because they both speak English as a first language and, instead of bringing their child up to be bilingual by speaking two languages at home, or some variety on that, they are making sure he knows certain words in Portuguese. There are many advantages to doing this, for example, they avoid bad Portuguese while at the same time make their child aware of other languages/cultures early on and also prepare him for learning a language later in life, for example.
One thing that I was struck by was how the parents ask their son ‘What’s X in Portuguese?’ and their son was easily able to tell them. They ran through about 15 different vocabulary items and their son was able to tell them very quickly what the translation was. I was impressed.
This is something that we have never done. To simplify our arrangement, I speak in English and everybody else speaks in Portuguese, but I have never checked if he knows there are two languages or if he is aware that monkey is the English for ‘macaco’. I have mentioned before in other blog posts, and to anyone who will listen, that I have a sneaky suspicion that he doesn’t even realise that he is being exposed to two different languages
So I have a few questions for those who have more experience of bringing up multilingual children.
1. Did you explicitly ask your child what the word was in a different language or did you just speak the different languages at home assuming that the child would sort it out in his own sweet time?
2. If you did make it explicit that there were two or more languages at what age did you start doing this?
3. If you didn’t highlight the two languages do you feel it made a difference in their language acquisition?
4. Am I being just being a relatively normal parent and finding something to worry about where there isn’t really an issue at all?
If you have any answers, please leave a comment below, write your own blog and link back to this or find some other way of letting me know. I am genuinely interested in what other people have done as I have found it hard to find any mention of this from my research.
Jacques Rudolph cover drive (Wikipedia)
“And Head of the Heard plays a glorious cover drive to reach his maiden century. Surely there are many more ahead of him in what promises to be a glittering career…”
I am a cricket fan and, in my dreams, I often score centuries in a Brian Lara or Ian Bell style.
Unfortunately, they are only in my dreams and so the closest I will ever get to scoring 100 is in my blogging. While it isn’t exactly cricket, I am ever so proud to write this, my 100th blog post about raising a bilingual family in Curitiba, Brazil.
Unfortunately, now that I am a dad, it is practically impossible for me to watch a whole day’s play of cricket match, never mind the whole 5 days of a test match. And then there’s the fact that any decent match will be one of a series of 5. This means that I have to make do with the highlights, which in all honesty can be better that watching live when England are involved.
The same is no doubt true of you, dear reader. I am sure you don’t have the time to go trawling through all of the last 100 posts I have written, so I decided to package what I consider to be the best of them in my own edited highlights.
1. The Most Important Word – I describe how Mr. T learned a word to describe a colour, a mood, a style of music and probably the best football team in the entire history of the world.
…and 100! (MarcelGermain)
2. Another Reason to Speak English – There are many reasons to try to bring up a bilingual child, but I hadn’t thought about this one until I read about it somewhere else.
3. 2 Words Are Better than 1 – Mr. T shows the first signs of developing his language skills.
4. Question Time? – Talking to babies/toddlers is basically just asking a series of unanswered questions.
5. What Are Books For? – Not just for reading.
6. Free the Feet – Now that the weather is starting to get warmer again we might just be able to free them more often.
7. Grudge Cabinet – We all have one. Unfortunately I think Mr. T’s might have grown somewhat since I wrote this.
100 Reais (markhillary)
8. I Hate Scuffers – I had a lot of fun writing this one. It merges together aspects of my own childhood as well as my son’s.
9. Should you Come to the World Cup? – Did you realise we are having the world cup next year in Brazil? Are you coming?
10. The Oncoming Storm – This is probably my favourite single piece because it involves Dr. Who and Mr. T. What’s not to like?
Of course having a celebration all on your own is pretty boring so I thought I would also invite some of the bloggers who have been important in teaching me how to blog, or those that I just enjoy reading. I think my blog falls into 3 different categories; dad blogger, multilingual parent blogger, blogging about Brazil.
A Brazilian Operating in this Area – a great blog by a Brazilian journalist who lives and studies in London. He always has a refreshing viewpoint on Brazilian current affairs.
Andrew Downie’s Brazil Blog – this is written by a foreign correspondent who lives in Brazil and writes about everything to do with the country. He is sometimes called a Brazil hater, but I reckon he is just the friend that Brazil needs.
Born Again Brazilian – an American woman who went to Brazil and was born all over again, not necessarily religiously but as a person.
A Taste of Brazil – some wonderful writing all about Brazilian food.
Rachel’s Rantings – great writing about the day-to-day life on an American woman living in Rio.
100 (Ryan Christopher VanWilliams – NYC)
Ask Your Dad – funny and warm writing about being a dad who doesn’t know the answers.
Dork Daddy – anything and everything nerdy or dorky and daddy.
Snoozing on the Sofa – some of my favourite dadtime stories are on this blog.
Modern Father Online – He is an Aussie but still claims to be modern. Who’d have thunk it?
Lunar Baboon – Always funny.
Multilingual Parents Bloggers
Expat Since Birth – How many languages can one family speak and still stay sane? Go to this brilliant blog to find out.
European Mama – A great Polish writer living with her German husband in Holland with their three kids.
Dads the Way I Like It – What do you get if you call a French/English/Welsh speaking Scots/Irishman living in Wales?
Bilingual Monkeys – One of the first blogs I read about raising bilingual kids and still gives me great inspiration.
Multicultural Kid Blogs – A place where parents of kids from all over the world can come together to try to build a better future.
Blatantly underground (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are lots of things that make us happy. I am at my happiest just after Mr. T has gone to bed and I can get a beer and my wife can have a glass of wine (or two). But that doesn’t really count because one of us is asleep and who knows what dreams ir nightmares he is facing.
When we have a nice day and we can get out as a family makes us all happy. We recently went to a city farm and Mr. T had a great time feeding all the animals and running about in the grass. While we are all happy the grown ups have to still be aware of the Peppa Pig that might bite his hand off or the latest incarnation of Red Rum who might be about to jump over the biggest fence ever and stampede in our direction. (I have cousin who is afraid of any bird bigger than a chicken and so has never been able to go to a city farm because of all the ducks and geese.)
Mr. T is extremely happy when I am his horse and he can ride around on my shoulders. It is one of my favourite things about being a dad of a toddler, but it does get tiring after a while and then I have to deal with the cried of ‘more daddy, please!’ So I know there is going to be a come down even in the midst of the enjoyment. Added to this is that my wife is prone to have a dodgy back and so can’t join in the fun as she might like to.
We did use to have a lot of fun when going out for walks when we would have Mr. T in the middle of us and swing him up in the air by his arms. But then one day not so long ago, while playing a different and totally innocuous game, Mr. T dislocated his elbow and so now we are too afraid to play this game anymore.
Not quite at this level yet. (Wikipedia)
The thing that makes us happiest as a family, the thing that is guaranteed to get everyone laughing and jumping around, is to have a good old-fashioned dance. When Mr. T was still a baby I used to bounce him up and down on my knee when watching Sesame Street videos on youtube, or I would sing to him and jump around the room with him in my arms.
A couple of months ago he started to get off the sofa whenever he heard the ‘Hot Dog’ song for Mickey Mouse clubhouse and rock gently from side to side. This has since developed so that any song with an upbeat rhythm is likely to get him going, spinning around and waving his hands in the air. I am pleased to report that he seems to have learned all his moves from his dad. (Either that, or I dance like a toddler, I am not sure which.)
We have a little stereo next to his changing mat and we put an old iPod there with random songs from our collections. He knows which buttons to press to turn it on and how to skip a track if he doesn’t approve of our choices. In the last few weeks he seems to have taken a particular liking to almost any song by The Jam. It is becoming a family tradition to have a little dance after we have finished changing his nappy, and there aren’t many tunes better than Going Underground to get us all in a good mood.
This post was written as part of the Multicultural Kids Blog Carnival, which this month is hosted by Kids Yoga Stories. You can get lots of information about the carnival and much more about the work of Multicultural Kids Blog by visiting their great site.
Welcome to the July edition of The Raising Multilingual Children’s Blogging Carnival. This month’s theme was Hidden Opportunities where I asked people to submit blogs based on the unexpected occurrences of bringing up multilingual children.
Opportunities for the Kids
Spanish Playground opens up this month’s carnival with some encouraging news for anyone still struggling to teach two or more languages: she has been there and done that and now has three grown kids. In her post Teaching my Children Spanish – A Few Observations Now that they Are Older she identifies the advantages they now have, some of which she never ever dreamed of when she started out on the road to bilingual education.
Came to Find – Vim Encontrar is nowadays a grown up bilingual English and Portuguese speaker. She writes about the day that changed her life and all of the opportunities she has now that she is bilingual. And just to prove the point, you can read Perks of Being Bilingual in English or Benefícios do Ser Bilíngue in Portuguese.
Over at Kids Yoga Stories we hear how Integrating Spanish and Yoga made for remarkably effective learning opportunities. Like all the best ideas, it seem that this was devastatingly simple once the connection had been made.
And if you aren’t quite ready to do the downward-facing dog then maybe you can exploit a different strategy to keep your child interested in another language just as Open Hearts Open Minds describes in Hidden Opportunities in Bilingual Parenting.
What Do Multilingualism, Video Games and Sweets Have in Common? If you want to know the answer you’ll have to read The European Mama. As you do so you’ll also find that she had to break some rules to find a much more sensible way of eating, playing and using languages.
Expat Since Birth had a family dilemma; how to find the time to fit 5 languages into their busy schedule. She ignored all professional advice, and her own professional training, to find a new path to being truly multilingual in When you End up Talking Another Language with your Kids. It seems that breaking the rules is a common experience among many multilingual families
Despite serious health problems, Adventure Bee decided to experiment with realising some of her life’s dreams in her Hidden Opportunities post. In doing so, she discovered unexplored depths in her daughter’s ability to understand American history and an awareness of what they both need in order to grow and be challenged.
Look what I got! Spanglishbaby.com
In The Day my Daughter Learned it Pays to be Bilingual a very proud mum from SpanglishBaby tells a great story about the day it dawned on her daughter that there are distinct upsides to being bilingual. Parents know that being having more than one language increases your worth in the job market, but not all kids know that.
When you are your partner are monolingual you have to actively hunt down as many opportunities as possible in order to give your child the best possible chance of growing up multilingual. That is exactly what SoulTravelers3 had to do and in this post, Bilingual Baby – Learning Spanish as a Second Language, she gives the benefit of her experience and shows just how possible it is. If you are short for time, you could just check out her video for how it is done: Teach Your Child Spanish – Multilingual Kid.
Choosing a name for your new child is always an important decision, especially so if you are trying to reflect more than one culture. The name All Done Monkey chose for her son has turned out to have more importance than most as you can read in The Boy who Couldn’t Say his Own Name.
Opportunities for the Parents
Of course, it isn’t just the children who can make the most of those hidden opportunities. MotherTongues: Wear Words, Celebrate Cultures explains how she has benefitted from having a multilingual daughter in her article called Learning Another Language After Turning 40. She might be a bit slower than her daughter, but she’ll get there eventually.
It can sometimes be hard to tell if all the effort we are putting in to include other languages in our families is actually working or not. In Culture Parent describes an experience when she could answer the question Is all the Hard Work of Bilingualism Paying off? in the affirmative.
The Art of Home Education reports on a lesson that she has learnt through home schooling. It seems from Learning to Let Go of my Learned Beliefs and Trust on his Curiosity that, just like many of us, it seems to be a lesson she has to learn over and over again.
At the zoo with the Bilingual Monkeys
From Bilingual Monkeys we hear a wonderful story of creativity and how all bilingual parents need to be able to ‘think outside the swan planter’ in order to find as many opportunities for language development as possible. Bilingual Monkeys was one of the first sites I came across when I first started to read about multilingual families and I have learned so much from it that it is now an honour to be able to host Outside the Box: Creative Solutions to Challenges Raising Bilingual Children.
LadydeeLG has got a tremendous amount out of raising her son to be speak Spanish and English. As well as a bilingual child she has set herself ambitious goals and been successful in meeting them. You can find out how she accomplished this in You Never Know Where a Blog Will Take you.
A Blogger and a Father looks at the bigger picture for some of the reasons he would like his kids to speak his native language in Why Raise Bilingual Kids. While he starts off thinking about the advantages for his children, we also get to see potential global improvements and eventually how it connects the father to his younger self.
It’s never too early to start volunteering. babylingual.blogspot.com
When Babylingual started volunteering at her local library she had no idea where it would lead her to. Nowadays she has at least four jobs (two of which are paid), discovered new passions and provides invaluable support to the community. In her words, her only regret is that I Just Wish I Had Started Volunteering Sooner!
We started off this carnival with a report on what it is like when you have raised your multilingual kids. We (almost) finish with Dads The Way I Like It who is at the other end of the journey: right at the beginning. I’d like to wish him good luck as he and his wife find out that having a bilingual child can help them integrate even more into the local community in Being a Bilingual Parent.
And last, and probably least, is my own effort. Our son was introduced to cars by his vovo (granddad) and this quickly turned into an obsession. Take me Riding in the Car Car describes how what could have easily become very tiresome has actually turned out to be a wonderful learning opportunity.
And thanks to…
I would just like to thank everyone who took the time to submit posts to this carnival. I have had a great time reading through all of them and I strongly recommend you all have a go and hosting one in the future. Big thanks go to Piri-Piri Lexicon for organising the whole carnival and for giving me a the politest possible kick in the pants to get myself sorted out.
This is the latest installment of the Raising Multilingual Children Blogging Carnival, re-created by Piri-Piri Lexicon. For more information on the carnival, including how to get involved, visit the carnival’s main page. You can find past editions of the carnival here:
All Done Monkey – Travel and Multilingualism
The Piri-Piri Lexicon – General Theme
Multilingual Mama – Looking Back
Not a Chrysler PT Cruiser, but a vovo car (Wikipedia)
When Mr. T was still quite small his vovo took him out to sit in the front seat of his car and pretend to drive it. We didn’t think anything of it at the time, and to be honest we were glad of a bit of peace and quiet as we had been at a family get-together at a restaurant and Mr. T was beginning to get a bit cranky. Little did we know the consequences that this small act would have.
An Obsession Grows
The immediate result was for Mr. T to develop an obsession with cars. At first he wanted to be able to sit in the driver’s seat in our car, his vovó’s car, vovo’s car and just about any car that he ver saw. This meant that friends and relatives bought him toy cars and clothes with cars on them, which in turn fuelled his obsession.
When we went to the UK for the first time my brother put Mr. T on his lap and sat in the driver’s seat of his white van, and so started a new path: naming cars. A van of any description is a ‘Noel car’, a 4×4 is a vovó car, a silver Sandero is usually a ‘mamãe car’, but sometimes a ‘daddy car’. When he sees a bus on the street he shouts ‘tchau tchau Mimi car’, or he enthusiastically waves at every ‘tru’ or truck.
Cars 1 & 2 recorded and ready to go (Wikipedia)
We thought that was going to be about it. The next couple of years would be filled with playing with cars and watching Lightning McQueen over and over again. But then we realised that this obsession was actually leading to him learning all manner of other things.
As soon as he learned the word ‘bee’ for ‘big’ he used it to describe trucks. Whenever he sees a blue tractor he shouts out ‘blue tractor’ and if a car is anything but spotlessly clean he will tell anyone who can hear that it is ‘dirty’ with such a disappointed voice that I almost want to go and clean it myself.
He has developed a fine motor skills by trying to ‘park’ his cars in just the right place. He has developed metaphors by saying that the car is ‘doi‘ (hurt) when he has crashed it into a toy bus.
The truck is too big for the car wash. Or is the car wash too small for the truck?
He has developed concepts such as ‘on’, ‘in’, ‘under’, ‘too big’ and ‘too small’ by playing with his cars and experimenting with different positions.
His obsession has also fuelled his imagination. For a long time he has asked us to draw cars or planes or the odd bus. One day I drew a driver and asked him who was driving and then I said it was Mr. T. Ever since that day if we don’t draw a driver he attempts to draw one and then he tells us who is driving. If the windows are empty on the bus he will get a crayon and make a mark to represent passengers and then tell us who each of the passengers is; mamãe, vovó, daddy…
One of the first ways I got him to say ‘please‘ was when he wanted me to make a model of a car from play dough. Now, whenever he wants anything, he is sure to say please.
A Lesson Learned
What started out as a simple way to get a few minutes to chat with friends without a moody baby first turned into a tiresome obsession but has since become a gateway to learning so much about the world. Not only has our son learned a lot, but I also learned to encourage his interests, no matter what they might be, because there is always something that can be learned from and through them.
Car Song by Woodie Guthrie
This post was written for the July edition of the Raising Multilingual Kids Blog Carnival, which I was privileged to host and will be published on July 29th. The theme for July was ‘Hidden Opportunities.’
For more information about this carnival, including how to become a part of the next one, please go to The Piri-Piri Lexicon . You can find past editions of the carnival here:
All Done Monkey – Travel and Multilingualism
The Piri-Piri Lexicon – General Theme
Multilingual Mama – Looking Back
Week Two of the Pinterest Scavenger Hunt starts here. If you missed any of the clues from the first week you can find them all here along with a list of the fabulous prizes available.
There are two clues today, so make sure you head over to Marocmama for the other one.
Head of the Heard’s Pinterest Scavenger Hunt Clue:
A round of applause after two years
Here’s how it works:
Create a Pinterest board specifically for the contest and name the board “Multicultural Kid Blogs Pinterest Scavenger Hunt.”
Each day a new clue (or two!) will be revealed. Follow the clue to the blog of the day and pin the post described in the clue. (Any image from the post is fine).
In the Rafflecopter below, enter the link to the Pinterest board you created for this contest. The Rafflecopter will also have lots of other ways to earn extra entries. The only required entry is the link to your Pinterest board.
Please note: You can enter the Rafflecopter at any point during the contest. Obviously your board won’t be complete until the end of the contest, but you can enter the link in the Rafflecopter before then. If your name is drawn at the end of the contest, we will check your board at that time.
The final clue will be given July 28. Participants will have until midnight Pacific time on July 31 to finalize their boards. The drawing will take place on August 1.
Winners must have pinned all of the correct posts to their board. Winners will be notified via email and must respond within 48 hours or another name will be drawn.
This is the link to the Rafflecopter page. You will need to register your Pinterest board here.
For the full prize details, schedule of all the participating blogs to find daily clues and the rafflecopter to enter your Pinterest board, click here.
I am very proud to announce that I will be hosting the July edition of the Raising Multilingual Children Blogging Carnival. The carnival is an excellent opportunity for anyone associated with bringing up bilingual and multilingual families to share ideas and experiences. If you would like more information about the carnival in general, including past editions, please go to the Piri-Piri Lexicon.
This month’s theme is ‘Hidden Opportunities’. Have you set out to teach your kids something, and ended up teaching them a totally different lesson? Have you accidentally learnt more than you taught? Did you go on a boring errand but ended up encountering something that more than made up for the drudgery? I’d like to hear what Hidden Opportunities you have discovered on your path to bringing up bilingual or multilingual kids. It could be something huge and life-changing, or small and insignificant, it makes no difference. Any and all tales of the unexpected are welcome.
Please send me your entries by Thursday 25th of July for inclusion. The carnival will be published on the following Monday, 29th July.
If you have any doubts or queries please leave a message in the comments section below. Alternatively, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
June Edition – All Done Monkey
May Edition – Piri-Piri Lexicon
April Edition – Multilingual Mama