Bilingual is Better

En el nuevo año, vamos a hablar más español. Vamos a cantar canciones en español. Vamos a leer más libros en español. En el nuevo año we are going to bring español into each part of the day, even if it means we are speaking Spanglish, even if it means we are little bit confused, even if it means we have to consult Google Translate.

It is so easy to forget to speak Spanish when I am the lone native speaker in the house. After a long day of working in English, my mind gets stuck in the rut of English and my palabras en español are nowhere to be found. But in 2012, I saw that unless I remain committed to OPOL, it doesn’t work. This “one parent one language” thing is not easy, but it’s also not that hard, and it’s free, so while I can, I know I need to get las palabras flowing, no matter how tired I am.

For 2013, there are some things I need to recommit to in order to foster our bilingualism:

  • Español primero: When naming something for the first time, I will do it in Spanish. Kids seem to remember that initial naming more than any other. So if I name the “frog,” it seems to be much harder to rename it “sapo” later on. This means pausing for a moment to find the right palabra, but it is so worth it!
  • Español en la calle: Living in Los Angeles, it’s easy to find places where Spanish is spoken. We need to spend more time in those places.
  • Spanish play: There are good options for summer immersion camps and classes. This summer, those will be at the top of our list.
  • Model in Spanish: Our kids watch what we do. I’ve gotten much better at speaking in Spanish to Spanish-speakers outside of the home, but sometimes when I can’t find the right word, I slip into English. I’m trying to get more comfortable with my stumbling Spanish. If they don’t see me willing to stumble, they won’t be willing to either.
  • Revive the Spanglish playgroup! Even in situations with Spanish-speaking moms and babies, we forget to speak Spanish. I’ve got to remember to make Spanish our default language.
  • Settle for felicidad! Sometimes I get bummed out that we aren’t as fluent as I had hoped, but it occurred to me the other day that a lot of people don’t learn a second language until high school and still reach fluency. As long as my girls are getting a taste of Spanish and developing positive association with Spanish, that’s okay.

 
What are your Spanglish Resolutions for 2013?

{Photo by  Keneth Cruz }

 

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