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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Raising Multilingual Kids
Here are some thoughts on raising multilingual kids.

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fayanora From: fayanora Date: August 5th, 2018 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)
In my Ravenstone story, the three Ravenstone parents all know ASL, English, Spanish, and Diné (Navajo). All their kids can understand these languages. Dalia can speak all of those except she's not a fluent Navajo speaker; a lot of that language is too challenging for her. In one scene, she's talking in Navajo to Vedya, and Vedya stops her mid-sentence, saying "Your Diné is atrocious."

Her younger sister Vedya is a language whiz and knows all those plus French, Arabic, and German. (For a total of seven languages.) She's working on learning Russian. And given something that happens in one chapter, she might move on to Vietnamese after mastering Russian. (If she even remembers that day by then.)

Oh and good gods, I can't believe I didn't think to have her learn Japanese! Her favorite non-parent adult is a Japanese man. (She's actually known him longer than she's known her adoptive parents.)
cat_sanctuary From: cat_sanctuary Date: August 6th, 2018 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even without being fully bilingual, there are advantages to being able to learn multiple languages.

My parents hoped to raise multilingual children without being able to speak other languages themselves. At least we can speak other languages (badly) and read books in the original, and appreciate them.

Some relatives tried to raise "English Only" children even though they could speak other languages themselves. My Tex-Mex cousins speak Spanish a little better than I do, but not much.

Consensus: If children have a chance to grow up bilingual, they should.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 6th, 2018 09:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes ...

The most effective approach is what Europe uses: introduce a foreign language early -- preschool, kindergarten, or first grade depending on the country and school -- then stick with it at least through high school. That means the vast majority of Europeans have native or near-native fluency with at least one extra language. Many pick up several that way, and have a handful more that they can use well enough to order dinner or give directions.

So that means, any two people who don't speak the language they first try will go through all the ones they know, trying -- and usually succeeding -- to find one in common. This then becomes their home language if they wind up as a couple. That's actually how we have a handful of families whose kids are native speakers of Klingon: that's the language the parents had in common. Esperanto started out the same way, and now we have people who are several generations worth of native speakers.

America often waits until high school to introduce foreign language, by which time the window for language acquisition is closing or closed for most people. It's a deliberate setup for failure, because America is really hostile toward everything but English. Native children were kidnapped into boarding schools and often beaten or starved to death for speaking their own language. Even today, police tend to beat people to death for not meeting all of an officer's demands -- including a number of deaf people and victims who don't speak English.
cat_sanctuary From: cat_sanctuary Date: August 7th, 2018 08:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes ...

Yes, and deliberately. Parents aren't comfortable with their children speaking more languages than they do...unless they're aware of the advantages, and willing to learn at least a little of the languages their children learn.

Retweets and further signal boosting welcome.
cat_sanctuary From: cat_sanctuary Date: August 7th, 2018 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes ...

And it looks as if we both forgot to mention that most Africans and Asians are multilingual too.

My adoptive brother had in fact been homeless and, due to a massive head injury, even looked like a stereotypical homeless person at times...but he spoke four Indian languages, plus Arabic, English, and Spanish, and in his late twenties he was learning Vietnamese.
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