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.
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