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The Legacy of Words: Passing On the Spanish of Our Abuelos & Cri-Cri, El Grillito Cantor

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It’s been said that “the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” Well, they also speak differently. I remember how my grandparents, who were born in South Texas and lived there their entire lives, spoke Spanish. Their Spanish included a healthy mix of antiquated or regional Spanish words like velís (veliz), instead of maleta, or bogecito for baby stroller. And we all grew up calling opossums tlacuaches; cockroaches were tatascuanes; and of course, guajolote was turkey. TheyRead More ...

3 Tips to Avoid Giving Up on Spanish

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I was with my children in a store last month looking at Halloween costumes.  As usual, our conversation was completely in Spanish. I noticed a mother observing our interactions, and when I smiled at her, she shared her own bilingual adventures with me. Having been born and raised in Mexico, she initially only spoke Spanish to her son. Unfortunately, when he started school, he rebelled against Spanish and refused to speak it. Sadly, this mother gave up and switched toRead More ...

Moving Our Multilingual Family to South America

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Our little multilingual family has some exciting news! We will be moving to South America (Ecuador) in 2014! This definitely poses new challenges and exciting opportunities as a family who has multilingualism at the center of mostly everything we do (i.e., doctors visits, children’s books). We are already thinking about how our linguistic interactions will change as we establish ourselves in our new home aka the middle of the world. For example, we have considered changing our use of Spanish forRead More ...

The High Five Challenge

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¡Dame cinco! or… ¡Chócala! When we were recording our last session of Habla Blah Blah music in Mexico, some of my previous “translating” errors became glaringly embarrassing causes for continuous chuckling at the studio. I turned to Maria (Sánchez Lozano), one of our female Spanish singers, and I said in my coolest purr, “¡dame cinco!” She, honestly, just looked at me. In perfect English, she said, “What do you mean?” It turns out that “Give me five!” doesn’t translate! TheRead More ...

Why We Chose a Chinese Over Spanish Immersion School

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When it came time to decide on a public school for our 4-year-old daughter last spring, it ultimately came down to a choice between two very different language immersion programs: Spanish or Chinese. We’ve done a pretty good job at weaving our cultura into our daily lives — Texican, on my side, and Nicaraguan on my husband’s side – but our daughter is still far from fluent in Spanish. While I do want her to eventually become fluent in Spanish,Read More ...

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