Bilingual is Better

Bicultural Vida

To Correct My Child’s Mistakes in Spanish or Not…

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“Estoy terminado,” is what my son says every time he’s done eating.  Not, “he terminado,” or “ya terminé.”  When he wants to know what something’s for, the question is, “¿Qué es eso para?” And it drives me absolutely crazy.  Because both examples are such direct translations from English.  I am finished.  Estoy terminado. What’s that for?  ¿Qué es eso para? As I do whenever my boys say something that’s not quite right, I correct them gently without quite correcting themRead More ...

The Seal of Biliteracy: Recognizing Bilingual Students

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Back in 1997 I was a graduate student in Philadelphia finishing a degree for Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL).  The study of language acquisition was an important part of the program.  My classmates and professors all valued the ability to speak other languages, and therefore, we were shocked and confused when we learned of a proposition on the ballot in California which would institute an English only language policy throughout public schools in the state.  I had spentRead More ...

Spanish is a Muscle

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As a devout gym rat, I am closely acquainted with the process of building and losing muscles, tweaking strength, hitting plateaus. For me, Spanish is like a muscle. If I use it at a time of day when I’m energized and have adequate fuel, or when I have the motivation of fellow exercisers, I can speak at a good pace and never get tired or tripped up. If I am forced to use that muscle unexpectedly, though, or am simplyRead More ...

Living a trilingual life: It’s not all black and white

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As I typed out the title of this posting I could not help but form a smirk on my face. Here’s the deal. The further I delve into the work of identity construction in my doctoral program, the more I realize that individuals take on multiple identities depending on the context they are in, including several other elements that come into play. Even in the previous sentence I wrote there are several words I would have to define to explainRead More ...

The Holidays: Blending Old Traditions with New Ones

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In my family Christmas celebration traditions have come and gone, just as they may evolve with any family. My mom has mentioned how before they immigrated from Mexico she and her brothers would celebrate Christmas differently than how it had changed here in the US, but then again a lot changed as they made a life on the other side of the border. The one part of our Christmas celebration that has remained the same throughout our upbringing is ourRead More ...

Navidad: It Doesn’t Get Better Than Tamales and Pupusas

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I have a relative who, every time we visit, says: “Oh, while you’re here, we have do such-and-such! It will be our new Thanksgiving/Christmas/yearly tradition!” And while it is always quite a nice idea, only one of the “traditions” has stuck. What’s more, my husband and I always just look at each other and smile when she says it, because we’re both of the belief that you just can’t say something and make it so—you can’t force a tradition. IRead More ...

Just Like Children on Christmas Eve

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We have many traditions in my family: The baby Jesus in the front room, the ornate tree, the nativity scene, tamales, pupusas, pan de chumpe, opening presents at midnight christmas eve, but more than any single thing we do, it’s the feeling of familia that makes Christmastime special for me. Early in December or late in November, my Mami sets up the Christmas tree with los jovenes. Some years it’s with me and my husband, but as we live 500Read More ...

Christmas Is Música!

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I can’t imagine the Christmas season without music.  I love that holiday music is played almost everywhere at this time of the year.  Music has been an important part of our family celebrations for as long as I can remember.  During our parties, we sing and play musical instruments together, enjoying both the music and the time with our loved ones. My interest in music was fostered from a young age.  When I was in second grade, my school offeredRead More ...

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