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The Reason Why I May Start Pretending I Don’t Speak English

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This is the time of year when our family has multiple visits to the doctor. The kids are getting their annual physicals for school and we are catching up on dental appointments and the like. I’ve spent a good amount of time in waiting rooms in the past month. A doctor’s office presents an opportunity for people-watching, and I’ve been surprisingly interested by what I’ve seen as I watch families doing nothing more than waiting together, filling out forms, andRead More ...

“What Will You Do When He Speaks Half English and Half Spanish Sentences?”

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My wife, my son and I spent the weekend with my family. Along with my parents, some other relatives came and stayed as well. It was a great time filled with food, laughs and trips down memory lane. Naturally, questions arose about our son and how we speak to him in Spanish. One interesting question I was asked is stated was “What are you going to do when he speaks half English half Spanish sentences?” This caught me a littleRead More ...

Is Calling a Child “Prieto” An Insult?

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For many families, the summer months are revered as the most special of the year. Filled with days of leisure, vacation and adventure, the magic of summer has school-aged kids counting down the days until it arrives. The sun shines bright, the days are long and the pavement beckons for exploration. As a child, I remember inhaling the fullness of summer freedom — staying up until the wee hours of the morning, waking up after lunch and riding my bikeRead More ...

Reflections On Citizenship

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My brother lords it over me when we are growing up: I was born in Costa Rica and therefore can never become President of the United States, but he can.  He was born in California, and in our minds, when we are 8 or 9, being President is a realistic goal. And it is an enviable one at that. The U.S. holds a mystique for us — we love the music, the surfer slang, the brand-name clothing, the fun treatsRead More ...

A New Mom Learns All About Latino Traditions and Superstitions

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Never, ever did I plan to have children, but even more far-fetched in my envisioned future was to confront pregnancy in a foreign country. Nonetheless, I fell in love and life surprised me with an extended stay along the Pacific Coast of Mexico, in my husband’s hometown. Included during this “stay” I experienced a blissful courtship, marriage, becoming a legal Mexican resident (phew, that’s finally out of the way!), and then… a positive pregnancy stick. Wait, what? After the immediateRead More ...

Is it Wrong for Bilingual Children in the US to Learn Spanish Before English?

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When my daughter Vanessa was born in July 2006, we decided to raise her bilingual even though I knew little about bilingualism except that I grew up with two languages and it was the best gift my parents gave me. By the time SpanglishBaby was launched, Vanessa was 2 1/2 years old and all she spoke was Spanish. We were using the mL@H method — meaning that we spoke Spanish (the minority language) at home — and since I stayedRead More ...

Translanguaging: A Very Normal Multilingual Phenomenon

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Some parents stop speaking to their children in their second language when the child seems “confused” because they use both languages simultaneously. The fact of the matter is that this is the way languages evolve when they come into contact. In fact, I have been meaning to record my 3-year-old’s colorful use of two languages. Just the other day she said, “Rafa (her older cousin), do you want to comer?” Another example is when she was asking me to buyRead More ...

Your Child Wants to Be Bilingual!

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Imagine we could survey every bilingual adult in the world and ask them two questions. Question #1: Do you regret becoming bilingual? What do you think the response would be? Of course, it wouldn’t be unusual for people to mention how hard it was, at times, during childhood: keeping up with two languages, perhaps with twice the homework; suffering episodes of embarrassment when speaking the minority language in public; and enduring other difficulties. A few of the respondents, it’s true,Read More ...

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