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, the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, is the author of "Bilingual Success Stories Around the World"; "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability"; "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!"; "28 Bilingual English-Spanish Fairy Tales & Fables"; and the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear".
Caro C.: My daughter, 2yo was rocking her bunny while trying to sing her own way. This was something completely new so I made a video... just s couple of seconds had passed when she clearly says a whole spontaneous sentence in the mL: "this is the music". #EpicWin
Mar 11, 2021 14:08:31 GMT 9
Caro C.: It is just now, many hours later that I came to savour the moment since I had a pretty busy/moved day... so excited about this, something small but meaningful 😍😁
Mar 11, 2021 14:11:43 GMT 9
Mayken: That's so cool, Caro!
Mar 12, 2021 3:37:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Good for you and your daughter, Caro!
Mar 15, 2021 10:59:32 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Instagram Live Interview with Adam Beck Watch the replay at this link: www.instagram.com/p/CNlqDXSH49Y/ Note: The video freezes in the middle, but then unfreezes shortly after that.
Apr 13, 2021 22:08:44 GMT 9
Sara: I haven’t been here in ages. So many different aspects of this community were a great help for me in the beginning of my multiple languages journey. Both professionally and personally. Thank you!
Jun 28, 2021 12:21:34 GMT 9
Adam Beck: You're very welcome, Sara! Your warm feedback is really gratifying to hear! Thanks right back to you!
Jul 2, 2021 15:34:26 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! We had a virtual book launch for Bilingual Success Stories Around the World with many of the parents whose stories are featured in the book, including members of The Bilingual Zoo! Watch the video! youtu.be/hGpHpvfqEjo
Oct 2, 2021 13:04:03 GMT 9