My name is Megan. I'm from the US (Chicago) but I've lived in Iraq for seven years. I speak English and Arabic and a little Assyrian. Assyrian is a language that is related to Arabic and Hebrew, and it is spoken by the Christian community in Iraq.
We haven't heard from you in a while, so I wanted to ask a question! Now that you're both a little older and in junior high, have you thought about what you want to do in the future? How will your languages help you with those plans?
I didn't grow up bilingual, and learning Arabic happened almost by accident! In college I studied linguistics, which led to learning Arabic, then studying abroad, then working in Iraq, and finally meeting my husband who is Iraqi. I became fluent with his help. I'm very glad I had the chance to learn two languages and cultures. Now we speak English, Arabic, and Assyrian with our son. (He's too little to ask a question, but he says hi )
When we move back to the US, I would like to teach children who are learning English (like your dad does/did), and maybe work on children's books and literacy materials in Arabic and Assyrian, because there aren't very many. So your goals can always change, but since you grew up bilingual, you might have even more options than I did!
Megan, thank you for your question! I asked them to respond in writing and this is what they said...
I want to do something that uses both English and Japanese. And I like music, so maybe something that's related to this, too?
[Lulu plays the piano and the guitar and has mentioned a wish to be a singer-songwriter...but she's kind of shy about performing. In fact, she seems to have a flair for writing poetry and song lyrics, and I encourage her to try writing her own songs...but she doesn't give this much effort at the moment. We shall see...]
Roy I think being bilingual is useful because if you can't find a job you still have your special powers so you could be a teacher or interpreter or even an interpreter for a famous person. If I become a soccer player, I can communicate with different fans, teammates, coaches, and more. So I think it's good to be bilingual.
[Roy loves to play soccer, and he's pretty good, but he isn't (yet) devoted to it in the way he'd have to be to play this game at higher levels. He just entered junior high school and is now eager to join the soccer team.]
I think both of my kids realized, from a young age, that their bilingual ability was a real strength for them, not just from me telling them so, but also through the experiences I sought out for them, like hosting English-speaking homestay guests from different parts of the world and arranging for volunteer opportunities where they could use their English ability to help others. Whatever our mix of languages, and circumstances, it's important that we find ways for our children to personally experience the value of their bilingual or multilingual ability.
Megan, cheers from all of us, in Japan, to all of you, in Iraq!
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.
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Amy: Last year, a new colleague joined my team. She's trilingual in the same languages as me. It was like magic. We change languages and even code-switch several time a day. I had missed that so much!! My monolingual colleagues must think we're freaks! lol
May 8, 2019 4:56:12 GMT 9
Amy: Unfortunately, she has resigned and is leaving shortly. I was so proud to introduce her to my eldest, one day that I had brought her to show her round my office. And to introduce other bi/multilingual colleagues. Show how important languages are.
May 8, 2019 4:58:26 GMT 9
Mayken: That must have been wonderful, Amy! I'm sorry she is leaving. I would love to find someone like that. We had an English intern last year who spoke German and French. We chatted a lot.
May 8, 2019 6:06:01 GMT 9
Caro C.: Oh Amy I sort of feel related to what you are saying. Some months ago I made a friend from the US. She happens to be a neighbor with four kids. We’ve been sharing back and forth and I’d love my baby girl to eventually be able to share with her children
May 13, 2019 12:55:09 GMT 9
Caro C.: Although maybe they will be a bit old for her, still we (I mean their mom = Sarah and me) both are very happy and grateful for each other as friends.
May 13, 2019 12:57:05 GMT 9
Mayken: As of yesterday, I am aunt to a baby girl who lives in our ml country with 2 ml parents, and I'm already planning to get them a nice nursery rhymes CD for our first visit.
May 16, 2019 20:03:47 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice, Mayken! Have a happy visit!
May 17, 2019 9:10:21 GMT 9
Caro C.: OMG I just came across this song and it filled my heart with joy and excitement...perfect for all of us who are parents: youtu.be/g1fcnhB8GOY
May 19, 2019 14:01:55 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Caro, thanks for sharing that lovely song. Raffi was one of our very favorite musicians when my kids were small. We listened to him all the time. I highly recommend his albums as a source of very enjoyable and very effective English input.
May 20, 2019 15:32:26 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter is on a field trip this week and I feel like I've lost my main purpose
May 20, 2019 20:03:33 GMT 9
Raquel: That's cute, Mayken. I hope you enjoyed all that extra free time.
May 29, 2019 18:17:39 GMT 9
SheilaC: I am concern about our upcoming big change to Public school with all English teaching and minimal Spanish. We have been lucky until now with Spanish speaking Nanny and Spanish immersion preschool. We are doing 2-day per week with Spanish after school.
May 31, 2019 10:51:49 GMT 9
Amy: @sheilac, I suggest you create an actual thread on the "Questions & Concerns" board, so fellow Zoo Keepers can help you with your concerns. 256 characters is too little to discuss something that is so important to your heart
Jun 2, 2019 23:44:41 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam Beck, thanks for that very interesting and timely post - it justifies the large order for ml books and DVDs I'm about to place in view of my daughters upcoming birthday!
Jun 3, 2019 23:46:00 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Great to hear this, Mayken! And happy birthday to both yours and mine! (They have the same birthday, don't they?) And if anyone missed that post, here's the link once more...
Jun 4, 2019 8:03:42 GMT 9