Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bilingual Is Better

Bilingual Is Better

This post is a part of the book club discussions for "Bilingual Is Better" by Roxana Soto and Ana Flores. You can find other posts here:
The New Face of America
Why Bilingual Is Better
Raising a Spanglish Baby
Bilingual Education
Between Two Worlds : Identity vs. Assimilation
Q&A with the author. Coming Nov. 14
Summary. Coming Nov. 21

Ties and Tensions

Do you have to travel to Australia to see a kangaroo? Or travel to Niagra Falls to see a waterfall? Or take a trip to Bahamas to swim with a dolphin? Maybe go to Alaska for a nice skiing experience? The answer is "No"; you don't have to... There is a good chance you can find all these activities in the city nearby.

"Globalization is a process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture", - from Wikipedia. Does this mean that all the countries, all the cities will look like each other? What will our children see during their lives?

Globalization  made the term "World Citizen" important! It used to be seen as a description of Albert Einstein. Now it might mean that the diversity of cultures and languages in any given group of people is so huge that we have to know and learn about different cultures and different languages to be comfortable and feel secure. I think, what is the most important, it means that we have to know WHO WE ARE, what are our cultural backgrounds, our family traditions and languages.

Response-Ability

Our family backgrounds are German, Irish, and Russian. What are yours? Do you keep up any family traditions? I am debating if I should start Camilla on any second language. As of our family traditions, hmmmm...

Hence, the book I've read: "Bilingual Is Better (TWO LATINA MOMS ON HOW THE BILINGUAL PARENTING REVOUTION IS CHANGING THE FACE OF AMERICA)" by Roxana Soto and Ana Flores.

I've seen it as my responsibility to pass to my kids our cultural  heritage and languages to the best of my ability. It's not an easy task especially because we only have one grandmother who lives far away.  Am I successful yet? Well, my oldest doesn't have a dream to visit Germany, Ireland, or Russia. He has recently told me how cool it is to see Spain.

The little Irish girl:

Raising Bicultural Children in the United States

In her book, Roxana Soto said, "...I can confidently attest to the fact that one of the main reasons why our blog [SpanglishBaby.com] has been so successful is because so many Latino parents feel the same way we do: It is absolutely imperative for us to pass on our heritage to the next generation" (p. 191). These Moms patiently pass the love of their culture and heritage to their children. They share their experiences and tips with their readers. Here are some points from only one chapter of the book. It is a chapter about just that: how to pass it all on to our kids.

The culture of food is the first subject considered in this chapter. "I would say food is an extremely important way to make sure we all stay connected to our roots" (p. 195). From our experience, food is a way to connect, of course :), but on the long run food is food, and a great topic to start a conversation about a culture. Do you use your old family recipes? How important are they in your family life?

In my opinion, the next point of discussion is the huge one: "Family First". In our busy lives, it is so easy to forget... to keep in touch with the extended family on a regular basis. Thanks to Skype, communication to the family members that live far away is so much better, exciting and very visual for the little ones. I try to make sure my kids are there with me when I am talking on Skype to the family members. As for visiting, the travelling is much easier nowadays, and can be expensive and dangerous at the same time.

Learning other languages has so many benefits if you start early. And it seems fancy throughout the world to start your baby on the second language as early as possible. Maybe not in USA? But seriously, it does have many benefits and easier said than done :)

It was very interesting to read about families travelling to other countries to learn a foreign language. Not as a semester at college, as a preschool immersion experience, or as a family vacation over the summer (so that parents and kids can learn a new language). 

The topic for this post is definitely not an easy one. I would appreciate and respect any comments you leave here (and looking forward to read anything and everything on this topic).

Curious George Says Thank You

French - Merci
Spanish - Gracias
Swedish -  Tack
German - Danke
Arabic - Shoe-krahn
Russian - Spah-see-boh
Hebrew - Toh-dah
Japanese - Ah-ree-gah-toh
Italian - Grazie
Swahili - Asante