Bilingual is Better

Bicultural Vida

On Tías, Madrinas, and Primos, to Name a Few

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I have what could be considered a textbook American family on my dad’s side of the family:  one aunt and uncle, two cousins, a few great-aunts, great-uncles, and other more distant relatives I’ve gotten to know to one degree or another.  On my mother’s side:  seven aunts and uncles, more cousins than I can count, and I couldn’t keep track of my extended family without a seriously detailed family tree. People have tried to convince me that in Latin America,Read More ...

The Number Game: Embedding Language Learning Into Other Subjects

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My husband and I are raising our sons to be trilingual.  Using the OPOL method, I speak to the children in Spanish, and he speaks to them in German.  While our baby is still in the babbling stage, our two and a half year old is quite verbal, constantly commenting on what he sees and asking questions to learn more.  I am often told what a wonderful gift I am giving my children by speaking to them Spanish.  Our pediatrician,Read More ...

The Eloquence of “Um…” (And Other Nonnative Setbacks)

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All parents are familiar with physical exhaustion, but some of us are even better acquainted with mental fatigue. My son, now almost 29 months old, requires more and longer explanations each day, and he is stretching my Spanish abilities to the max. Living in Orlando gives me plenty of practice with conversational Spanish, but spending every waking hour explaining the world in every grammatical tense and with as many particularities as an inquisitive kid requires drains me, to say theRead More ...

A Mission Statement for Raising a Trilingual Child

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It’s inevitable. Someone is bound to “curiously” question our intentions behind raising a trilingual baby. They want to know, “Why? Why have you decided to pursue this unpredictable and challenging path?” It’s an honest question. After all, it’s not like we live in Barcelona where there are two “official” languages in the autonomous Catalonia. It’s not like I’m from Germany and my husband, Marcus, is from France and we are living in an English speaking community. So, why? Why French?Read More ...

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

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As the parent who speaks the minority language to my children at home, it’s occasionally tempting to dwell on the fact that it can be hard.  After all, the task of keeping the Spanish going at home falls squarely on my shoulders, right?  I’m the one who has to be so disciplined and intentional (my new favorite buzzword) when doing something as simple as speaking with my children, all the time.  The pressure, I realize, is self imposed, but itRead More ...

Mi Abuelita: Who was your Tita?

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Tita was mi Abuelita.  She was a vivacious, loud, loving bull of a woman.  She lived with my family since before I was born, and until she died when I was 16 and she was 83.  We slept in side-by-side twin beds until my brother moved out when I started high school.  Late at night, we would talk about nothing and everything–she would teach me Spanish prayers and make the silliest jokes that made us both giggle.  When my fatherRead More ...

Tengo Miedo de Your Language

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“He’s confused.” This seems to be the refrain of my interactions with monolinguals these days. Talking is the big milestone for two-year-olds and would be the topic of conversation even if I weren’t speaking Spanish with my son. Because I am, though, it feels like a rather contentious subject. SpanglishBaby readers are already familiar with the debate over code-switching and its role in fluency. We know that experts confirm that mixing languages is a sophisticated linguistic skill, not a signRead More ...

Cultivating Our Trilingual Journey

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Since I have made the deliberate decision to raise a trilingual baby so many realizations have blossomed especially as I near the end of my pregnancy. So, as a result, what did I do? I did what aspiring doctoral students do best: research about trilingualism and parenting. In fact, I found a way to combine this interest with one of my graduate courses and am in the process of creating an annotated bibliography about trilingualism, which I am more thanRead More ...

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