Aloha, all, and happy holidays! I just bought Adam's book on my Kindle and also wanted to start using this forum, so joined up.
I'm Erica, and I live in Honolulu, Hawaii. I have two young daughters, ages 6.5 and 3 who are bilingual in English and Japanese. I speak a little Japanese, but my husband is fluent (although he only has elementary kanji reading ability) and we also have a Japanese-speaking nanny who is with our girls when they are out of school three days a week. (I am home the other two days.) She's been with us since our older daughter was 3 months old, and is like family to us.
It hasn't been easy, but it also wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be initially with our girls yet. They have taken to it really well. They love Japanese language and culture, and we keep it as a big part of our own family culture too. For example, we celebrate major Japanese holidays and almost only watch Japanese language media together, like movies and cartoons, etc.
We are also very lucky in Hawaii to be relatively close to Japan and we visit every two years at least (we just got back from a three-week trip to Okinawa and Tokyo), and there is a lot of Japanese culture and language opportunities here. We have Japanese schools for children which my girls attend, for example, and my oldest is in a kanji-level class now and my younger daughter just started morning classes twice a week, similar to immersion preschool, but the focus in on Japanese language.
Anyone else Japanese/English bilingual? I'm here just to hear about others' experiences and share resources.
Erica, welcome! It sounds like your bilingual journey with your daughters is going very well! The combination of the many efforts that you and your husband are making, as well as the helpful access to Japanese language and culture, is clearly paying off in strong, steady progress. Good for you, and good for your family!
Of course, when it comes to Japanese, the larger challenge is the written language because kanji is so time-consuming to learn. (I know this challenge very personally. ) So it's great that the girls have begun this process early and that they have such positive feelings toward the language and culture.
While our two main languages are the same as yours, for us Japanese is the majority language and English is the minority language. As my kids have always attended Japanese schools, they've acquired Japanese from school (and from their mother) and English mainly from me. But you'll find a lot more about my family and our situation in my book. I hope you enjoy it!
And do let me know if your family ever plans a trip to Hiroshima! We'll welcome you to the city!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide. Please support The Bilingual Zoo through Adam's Patreon page www.patreon.com/bilingualmonkeys.
You guys are lucky to be so close to your target language, have an ml-speaking nanny and access to bilingual ML-ml schools. By the sound of it, things are going very well for your family in the bilingual front. If you want to share any tips, feel free!
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Adam Beck: Mayken, I don't know, but I wish I could say it's because I'm taller! My son (almost 12) is now nearly as tall as I am. Just yesterday I told him that I have to start growing again!
Feb 1, 2019 10:12:14 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam Beck, thanks for sharing the impressions of your trip to China! I love those duck boats and that doorway! And meeting those kids wanting to speak English with you is so amazing!(I won't enter the giveaway because I'm afraid of winning the chicken claws!)
Feb 6, 2019 0:24:50 GMT 9
Mayken: My friend S asked her bilingual 2.5-year-old daughter: What language do mommy & daddy speak? D: English! S: What language does Grandma speak? D: French! S: What language do the cats speak? D (*thinks, then answers*): Meow!
Feb 7, 2019 0:08:00 GMT 9
Amy: Bless!! how cute is that!!! Reminds me of a similar thing that happened with my youngest when she was 18 months: she said the sound right for every animal but the cow. She kept answering "Lola" because of a famous Spanish nursery rhyme about a cow!
Feb 7, 2019 0:40:09 GMT 9
Alba: My son caught us by surprise when we said thank you (in English) to a waiter in a Mexican restaurant, and he said "gracias" (thank you) to him too in Spanish, also signing it! He was having a blast and there was some Spanish music in the background.
Feb 10, 2019 18:48:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Sounds like a wonderful moment, Alba!
Feb 11, 2019 11:57:53 GMT 9
Alba: Streaming problems: I decided to play some cartoons in ml2 (Hindi) which I knew had been playing in ml2 the day before with his dad. I was studying my son's face to see if he understood, turns out the cartoon was in Polish, not sure why!
Apr 4, 2019 0:44:39 GMT 9
Amy: Cute code switching this morning when my 3 year old told me "I get my pótamo" (she meant her hippo soft toy). This mixing was music to my ears... It means she is truly growing trilingual.
Apr 6, 2019 2:51:35 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Lovely, Amy! Good for you, and good for her! P.S. I like hippos.
Apr 7, 2019 10:32:37 GMT 9
Alba: So funny, Amy! Great to hear I love the word Hypo, every child says it different! My son did something similar when he say "This tocotó", he calls horses "tocotó" based on the noise they made when trotting (tocotó, iiii (neigh)-ok, for a Spanish ear)
Apr 8, 2019 6:52:09 GMT 9
Amy: Cheer Alba and Adam Beck! . I love these "baby" words. They are so cute. I like the "This tocotó" another example of state of the art Spanglish <3
Apr 9, 2019 4:54:05 GMT 9