Sharing the Love of Languages

Posts tagged ‘Language’

For the Language Nerd

Hi #langchat friends! This is for tonight’s chat! I saw a request to put all reading material in a google doc…so here’s all my favorite reading material, in one handy blog link.

I’ve been collecting articles, blogs, and other various media on Pinterest that I find interesting. Of course it’s all language related! I have not read each and every pin…this summer, I hope to go through them and reorganize and delete any that aren’t worthy of the pin I afforded them.

Multiliteracy Mania

Language Learning Info and Blogs

Target Language

World Language Advocacy

World Language Resources

Research (Language Learning)

Hopefully you may be able to find something that you find interesting! Enjoy, #langchat friends!!!!! 🙂



Highs and Lows of Raising Bilinguals

Yesterday was one of those days. Usually the glass is half full in my world, but yesterday it was half empty. Then, as I was visiting my daughter’s class, I leaned down to tell her something. She replied with “Please speak to me in English!”

A few hours later, I read this article that ACTFL had shared about how you should “Speak Your Best Language at Home.” I know that this article was meant to help parents embrace the idea of speaking the “other” non-majority language in their home. It is not meant to tell me that in my personal situation that speaking my native tongue is best for my kids. But it was just one of those days. In fact, I replied to the article like this:

Being a parent who is raising her children bilingual in my non-native French (and married to a monolingual), I do not really like this article! What if the ONLY chance your child will have at being bilingual is if you speak your weaker language? This MUST be better for the child in the long run over being monolingual! I understand that is not really where the article is focusing, however, this simply isn’t the sort of thing I expect to see from ACTFL. The article is partial…it doesn’t provide every possible situation that would be best for children. Sometimes it IS better to speak your weaker language such as in cases like mine. I simply must believe that is true and I hope that ACTFL does, too!

Perhaps I was a little harsh? That’s what you get when you speak (or write) during one of those moments when you are not at your best. There is obviously truth to the article. Many of the words and phrases I teach my children in French may have to be unlearned and retaught. I admit openly to this in this blog post about my children’s spontaneous speech.

Am I doing the right thing? Should I give up? The odds are stacked against us…Daddy doesn’t speak French and we are having trouble finding other kids that do for play dates. My French is far from perfect and I am teaching them with my limited vocabulary.

So, there’s the low…been there before and I’ll be there again…but my grit will pull me through, right?

And moments like this will surely keep me going:

Last night, after the doubtful day, the evening ended with French story time and our new lullaby. And my hear soared again.

Our Future Multiliterate

Geo is speech delayed. He has verbal apraxia that makes speech difficult for him. We were told to repeat back to him in English what he is trying to say so we can best prepare him for Kindergarten where he will have to speak English. In this video you will see when I work with Geo on the word “off.” I provided him with the touch cue for the “f” sound in “off.” For the “f” touch cue, you place your pointer finger across your bottom lip to show where your teeth have to touch to create the “f” sound. You can see Geo copy my cue when he correctly articulates the “f” sound in “off.” With the cue, his brain gains control over the muscles and movement his mouth needs to produce proper speech. (Or at least, this is what I have come to understand about Geo’s apraxia over the last few months.)

Geo’s speech team said I could still speak to him in French as much as possible. When Geo is in “listen” mode with his mother around (yours truly), he is mainly hearing French. When he is speaking, he mainly chooses English and the English words are the ones we focus on getting him to say. We provide him the touch cues for the English sounds and he puts the sounds together to produce the word. The touch cue helps his brain tell his mouth what to say. All the touch cues touch near the part of the face and throat where the sound is produced (more or less). Seems that no matter how you slice and dice it, gestures and touch cues are a dynamite vehicle for language learning!

When we are not working Geo’s speech, we have gaming and singing time in French in addition to story time. During these times, Geo does say some words in French. At this point, I don’t spend much time teaching him how to pronounce each French word he is not articulating properly. Usually when we are playing, we focus on having fun…don’t you? Learning to speak is hard work for our little guy…if we pushed it on him all the time, he would rebel as he did the first week we began therapy when we made him work to articulate too often.

All in all, we are thrilled with the progress that Geo has made over the past few months in speech therapy. We are equally thrilled with the amount of “franglais”  he is using…articulation aside! (Franglais is what we call English with French words mixed in.) We have a long road ahead to get Geo’s speech up to par with other kids his age, but we are understanding him more and more each day and he is making steady progress.

Hopefully we will be able to provide enough second language exposure to Geo now so that once he has his English articulation down to a science and starts his formal school-based language learning, he will breeze through it saying “Au revoir” to speech delay and “Bonjour” to multiliteracy!

What do you think? Do you think by mixing the language together as seen in this video, Geo will confuse the languages? Is there any advice you could share with us?

Have You Ever Listened in the Wrong Language?

Have you ever listened in the wrong language? If you are like me, it has happened to you many times.

Today my daughter, Soleil, experienced the other side of this type of miscommunication. We were at a French Honor Society fundraiser for Haiti. Along with the delicious breakfast, silent auction and live music by French students, was face painting. While Geo danced along to some holiday classics, Soleil was being painted with a Rudolph nose and a beautiful flower. She came to show me her artwork and said she’d also like to have a “papillon.” For those who don’t know French, this is the word for “butterfly” and it’s pronounced somewhat like the word “puppy” with a “yo” sound at the end. I told Soleil in French that she could go ask for “un papillon,” thinking it was a great opportunity for her to practice her French with members of the French Honor Society. The artist was listening in the wrong language, though. I don’t know how else to explain the fact that she came back with a puppy on her cheek! Soleil and I got a good laugh about how silly this was. She agreed that it was “très drôle” (very funny) and that “ça nous fait rire” (it makes us laugh) to think about it.

Do you have any silly stories to share about listening in the wrong language? I’d love to hear them! I’ll bet there are some really interesting ones out there!