This is Blair and Eddie (and their parents) from Canton, Missouri, USA. We have lots of questions, but decided to ask only four here (for now)...
1. What language do you use most with each other? 2. Do you dream in English or Japanese? 3. Do you ever use your "other" language as a secret language? For example, if you're among your Japanese friends, do you ever talk to each other in English when you don't want them to understand what you say? 4. Have you ever seen a Japanese giant salamander? Are they slimy?
We're looking forward to hearing from you (especially about the salamander)!
Blair and Eddie
P.S.: Eddie wanted to make sure we thank you here too for taking such good care of our Alfonzo! He's in Sweden now, hopefully staying warm.
(For those who don't know who Alfonzo is, you can learn all about his travels on his website here. He had a wonderful time in Hiroshima with Lulu and Roy, their Mommy and crazy Daddy!)
[Adam's note: Before they entered our local elementary school, they used English more than Japanese as their shared language. However, since they now think in Japanese throughout most of the day, it has naturally become the "default" language for their interactions. This isn't really a concern, though, because their English is now firmly grounded and they can switch languages as necessary.]
2. Do you dream in English or Japanese?
Lulu: Japanese, and a little bit of English. I usually dream about Mommy, like when I went on a candy airplane and Mommy was the pilot.
Roy: Nobody talks in my dreams. They only open and close their mouths, but they're not saying anything.
3. Do you ever use your "other" language as a secret language?
Lulu: No. When my friends tell me to talk in English, I say no.
Roy: No, but my friends and I speak a little bit of Spanish. I'm teaching them.
[Adam's note: They seem to have mixed feelings about their English ability when among their friends. I know they take some pride in it--because English ability is somewhat rare in Japan and earns respect from others--but they also feel a bit shy about speaking it so openly.]
4. Have you ever seen a Japanese giant salamander? Are they slimy?
Lulu: Yes, at the zoo. It's ugly and it looks slimy, but its eyes are cute.
Roy: Yes, we saw it at the zoo. It was really big. I don't know if it's slimy or not because I never touched it. I want to touch it, though. I want it to bite my finger.
[Adam's note: Japanese giant salamanders actually live in our area, but we've never seen one in the wild. But if we find one, we'll put it in a box and send it to you, Blair and Eddie!]
Blair and Eddie, thank you for your questions!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular non-fiction 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.
As always, we love learning about you monkeys! Blair says she dreams in Hungarian, Eddie dreams in French - he only speaks the few words that he has picked up from Alfonzo when he was in Paris, so his dreams must not be very detailed (and must involve a lot of crepes). He's also 3, so if we ask him again, he might say Chinese... or Japanese... or Gibberish (he's fluent in Gibberish).
We all hope you'll find a Japanese giant salamander, we'd love to have another pet!
What's on your mind right now? Just type and hit "Enter" to share it here!
Amy: Happy birthday to your 2 bilingual monkeys Mayken and Adam Beck !
Jun 30, 2018 5:15:05 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, that's true, but in our case, the U.S. didn't make it to the World Cup this time! Japan has gone through, but they'll probably get knocked out very soon...
Jun 30, 2018 7:22:16 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wojtek, Poland won! I was disappointed, though, to see Japan hold the ball at the end of the game because they only wanted to go through to the next round. I understand why they did that but I wish they had played harder...
Jun 30, 2018 7:24:42 GMT 9
Wojtek: Well, it suited both teams to slow down the ball. However, it was really unexpected and peculiar
Jul 1, 2018 1:16:27 GMT 9
Mayken: On the train from Cologne to my hometown, I saw a boy about 9/10 and his older sister. She was fluent in German but spoke French with a slight accent, he spoke only French. They were visiting their grandparents. I was intrigued but didn't ask.
Jul 1, 2018 22:06:55 GMT 9
Wojtek: Does anyone know an online English speech language therapist? I thought that it could be a good idea to get my girl evaluated in her ml...
Jul 6, 2018 4:02:38 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! My 8-year-old daughter passed her ml swim test today! After swimming & diving, the pool attendant asked her to recite the swimming/safety rules (our recent captive reading), and she knew them all!
Jul 6, 2018 21:28:23 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! Bilingual Lives: Ana Cristina Gluck, Author and Publisher of Multilingual Books for Children (with a Book Giveaway!) buff.ly/2ziSQ4J
Jul 7, 2018 11:28:32 GMT 9
Agnese: First words. What to expect? My son is 10 months old. He's still babbling, but I've noticed some different sounds depending on the situation. I wonder if he'll start saying his first words in the next weeks (or months, who knows?). What should I expect?
Jul 11, 2018 0:30:24 GMT 9
Amy: Don't expect anything Agnese. Just let it happen, and then what he says will hit you like a train. It's an amazing moment. Just live it and don't overthink it. Whatever he says, in whatever language it is, it is a magical moment.
Jul 11, 2018 5:11:14 GMT 9
Agnese: I've recently found a further (annoying) challenge: when I speak ml (Italian) to my child (10m) in front of ML acquaintances, they are making jokes about what I said (mostly accent, similar unrelated words...). What do you think is the best way to act?
Jul 15, 2018 13:04:11 GMT 9
Amy: Agnese, it is simply because they never had the opportunity to be acquainted so closely to that language. Just smile and keep going. Over time (even if this may seem long), the comments will fade. Don't show your son you are embarrassed by your ml.
Jul 16, 2018 3:56:41 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Agnese, I strongly second Amy's advice! Stay strong and continue speaking Italian!
Jul 18, 2018 6:22:37 GMT 9
Adam Beck: And Agnese, keep in mind that, above all, the highest priority is your bilingual aim, not the other passing concerns that are part of this experience (for us all). Don't let these distract you from the greater goal.
Jul 18, 2018 6:24:49 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you! After this setback I feel stronger than ever! The same day of the incident I ordered plenty of books in the ml on Amazon and I'm reading every day new research on bilingualism and bilingual education. I'm ready to defend my goal! Thanks
Jul 19, 2018 18:37:58 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you for the suggestion!
Jul 21, 2018 15:40:43 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter met some inversed ML/ml kids today who live in our ml country. Their parents probably weren't thrilled they found n ML (for them) friend in their ml country. I'm sorry...a little bit.
Aug 7, 2018 2:07:34 GMT 9