More than one language in the home
What have families done when parents speak different languages? What are advantages and disadvantages of a bilingual home?
NOTE: Many typos and abbreviations were left. A few were fixed. These abbreviations will help some of our readers:
dh=husband (dear husband)
dd=daughter (dear daughter)
ds=son (dear son)
For example: "I speak English to dd, dh speaks German to dd, but dh and I speak French to each other. dd doesn't understand as much French..."
hbonda (Hema): Hello... sorry i'm early... dh is stuck in traffic.... raghu is watching harry potter for the first time and Z wants to
chat /read with me. so i sorry... but i'll be in and out till dh gets home.
hbonda (Hema): and raghu is too sleepy to be dissuaded.... i mean he wants to show me every scene... so i may be slow to
hi! by the way i'm Hema.
SandraDodd: I'm trying to think of the scary parts in the first Harry Potter movie.
The snake at the zoo
BeaMantovani: I'm typing mostly with one hand, holding baby with the other
I'm Bea, in Montreal
SandraDodd: Once you guys get going, I'll probably just cut and paste every fifteen minutes and stay out of the chat.
hbonda (Hema): this is chamber of secrets
SandraDodd: OH NO, that one's all kinds of traumatizing...
You might need to keep an eye on the video
hbonda (Hema): but you know spanish too right sandra?
SandraDodd: I'm a shameful English speaking American.
hbonda (Hema): ah
SandraDodd: I can understand it, but not speak back in Spanish.
There's a lot of that in Northern New Mexico. People speak one but understand both.
And it depends what they're talking about. I can get lost.
hbonda (Hema): ah
SandraDodd: But helping grandmothers find things in the grocery store and such, no problem
hbonda (Hema): so what languages do you and family speak bea?
SandraDodd: Keith was telling me last night about his best friend who's great with languages, and he's learned Navajo
and Chinese. Lived in China a while.
BeaMantovani: French, English and German (well, with dd anyway ..;-)
hbonda (Hema): so cool.
BeaMantovani: I've lived in China too ..:-)
hbonda (Hema): Bea: ah! what about kids?
SandraDodd: But when he was learning Navajo, he would speak to older Navajo guys and they would just say "Oh! You
said ..." and translate it into English. They wouldn't chat in Navajo with him.
hbonda (Hema): weird! is the Navajo language in decline?
BeaMantovani: I have a 3 and a half year old, and a one month old. So the one month old doesn't speak, obviously ..;-)
SandraDodd: Bea, why do you move around so much? (Just curious... what cool things are you doing?)
Navajo survives, there are TV news and discussion shows, but I think they figure it's just weird for a non-Navajo to speak any.
Maybe your husband is a spy and so you can't tell me why you move around. Never mind.
BeaMantovani: I don't know why I move around so much, must be in my genes, big line of immigrants (grandfather
Italian, immigrated to Algeria, moved to France after independence, my dad moved us to Tahiti when I was 10, and then
I've moved around on my own, because I can't seem to settle anywhere...
SandraDodd: Wait... Hema has lived lots of places too.
Maybe her husband is a spy too.
hbonda (Hema): >> SandraDodd: LOL
SandraDodd: When I was a kid and people would move to my little town in northern New Mexico, if they had lived other
placles I would totally interview them.
hbonda (Hema): i wish... life would get real interesting according to raghu
SandraDodd: And when I "moved away" I only went 86 miles. But I LOVE New Mexico.
Where did you live before India, Hema? I forgot
BeaMantovani: my husband is German, and he moves because I ask him too. he's the nicest guy, I tell him, hey , I want
to move to Belgium and he finds a job there, I tell him let's move to Montreal and gets all the paperwork done and finds a
SandraDodd: You have one great husband!
BeaMantovani: I do ..:-)
he likes adventure too, I think that's why he married me ..:-)
SandraDodd: And Hema's husband is going to bring her to New Mexico to see me!
(Well, not from India... from New Jersey... and not just to see me, but it sounds good that way.)
I was born in india. raised since 2 till 16 in abu dhabi. then did my bachelors while
living in a hostel in Mumbai (bombay).
BeaMantovani: living in a hostel?
hbonda (Hema): then i moved back to abu dhabi for a job.... then on to NYC for my masters. then stayed in NJ for about 10
years then a year in singapore then a year so far here in Pune. oh ya... 6.5 years in Mumbai
YES>>> me come to SEE you... honestly...even if you weren't near santa fe i'd come. but i worded it that
way... i think coz i was worried you'd think i was trailing/chasing you ..:-)
SandraDodd: Singapore. That's what I forgot.
hbonda (Hema): >> BeaMantovani: WOW!!!
my dh would love to do this for me and him ..:-) move around a lot more i mean.
hbonda (Hema): I honestly love travel yet wish fervently for ONE large adobe style home close to a beach preferably ..:-) where i
can always return to
Molly: i'm just getting on. My name is Molly and I live in Ecuador
SandraDodd: Molly, you can add your name if you want by clicking that little triangle by Guest84
BeaMantovani: I love to travel, and at the same time I love staying home. I keep on wanting to settle somewhere but then
always find a place that gets me excited to move again. lol
hbonda (Hema): hello Molly. I'm Hema and we speak Kannada, marathi, Hindi and English. I think in English now... but as a
young child i would think in Kannada
BeaMantovani: Hi Molly!
BeaMantovani: I'm Bea, I live in Montreal and we speak French, English and German
BeaMantovani: hi Pam ..:-)
hbonda (Hema): Hello pam
BeaMantovani: Hema, what languages do you speak with your children? : or around your children...
hbonda (Hema): My kids are 6 and 3. They both have been exposed to all these languages from birth. but the older one lived in
NJ long enough to pick up an accent and can easily understand when folks speak americanese. But he still finds it hard
to understand local English here sometimes
we speak Kannada, marathi, Hindi and English. I think in English now... but as a young child i would think in Kannada
BeaMantovani: do your kids understand the other languages? (Is marathi the language mostly spoken in Pune?)
MollyB (Guest84): I have a question for everybody, let's see if I can make it concise....
hbonda (Hema): >> BeaMantovani: yes it is... i was exposed to it during my BFA in Mumbai... the professors mostly spoke marathi.. so i taught it to myself
The kids understand snippets of marathi, most of Hindi and most of kannada. Raghu refuses to
speak in any indian language... coz he is still a bit mad at us for moving here.... late understanding that we were going to
be here for a long
MollyB (Guest84): My children will often come home and speak a lot of spanish to me after a day with friends or family.
We speak English as a family (even my husband who is Ecuadorean). It feels weird to me to respond or continue
speaking with them in Spanish , since I don’t have that custom. So I find myself gently telling them to speak English with me, I don't think they
notice what they are speaking.
hbonda (Hema): But he mellowing and beginning to use snippets with people in the building. little one speaks everything in bits
and pieces. Ravi and i mostly speak in English and Hindi. My family speaks in Kannada. Folks in this city speak
BeaMantovani: >> MollyB (Guest84): my husband speaks German to our daughter, but she responds in English.
It works fine for them
hbonda (Hema): >> BeaMantovani: ya...thats us too
MollyB (Guest84): My question is, should I encourage them to speak whatever they want with me? I am the only English
they get around here, so I do want to "keep it up" if you know what I mean
hbonda (Hema): >> MollyB (Guest84): i don't understand your use of the word custom... sorry
BeaMantovani: my husband speaks to daughter in German, and I speak to her in English, and husband and I speak
French to each other (and we live in Montreal, where French is the majority language, although a lot of our friends are
MollyB (Guest84): but it does seem harsh and awkward when I request that they speak English with me
by "custom" I mean I am not used to relating to them in Spanish and so it feels funny and I prefer to stick to English with
BeaMantovani: I was the only English speaker around my daughter for the first three years of her life, and her English was
fine. She doesn't even have an accent, and I have a French accent
PamSoroosh: Molly - what do they think?
hbonda (Hema): >> MollyB (Guest84): Sorry Molly... but can you explain what you mean by "so I do want to "keep it
up" if you know what I mean "
MollyB (Guest84): well, most of the time they will switch, no problem,
sometimes they will continue in Spanish and I won't press it
it's a non-issue, really. I was just wondering how other people did it
BeaMantovani: >> MollyB (Guest84): do they get to watch videos in English? I think that helped my daughter a
MollyB (Guest84): yes, we don't have TV- but I' d say half of their video collection is in English
PamSoroosh: When my oldest was little she spoke Farsi with her dad and some other people and English with me and
most people around her spoke English.
After a while, she would get angry at her dad when she spoke English and he spoke Farsi to her.
PamSoroosh: She'd tell him, "SPEAK ENGLISH."
BeaMantovani: >> PamSoroosh: how old was she then? (just wondering if my daughter will reach that stage)
hbonda (Hema): >> MollyB (Guest84): Are you worried that they will not pick up as much English?
MollyB (Guest84): my kids still have trouble distinguishing the languages
PamSoroosh: She was five or so.
MollyB (Guest84): like, my 5.5 year old will ask me which language we are speaking now
and what language she speaks with her cousins
Guest41: hi, I'm from Indiana.
hbonda (Hema): >> MollyB (Guest84): it think that is normal.. my children both went thru and still will mix up words. A
lot of emotions that we express in languages other than English can't be directly translated into English... so we tend to
speak a hodgepodge
BeaMantovani: >> PamSoroosh:oh, my 3.5 years old...
Guest41: I talk and teach my 5-year-old Mandarin Chinese and her dad speaks to her in English. She also learns some
PamSoroosh: Roya was frustrated because she could communicate much better in English and she was impatient with
speaking Farsi. It angered her when she knew her dad could speak English, but was trying to insist that she speak Farsi
MollyB (Guest84): >>
hbonda (Hema): what I mean by "keeping it up" is so that English comes naturally to them and they
can use it effortlessly
PamSoroosh: molly - as long as they're not resisting or unhappy or getting upset by it - then keep it up just as you are.
MollyB (Guest84): >> PamSoroosh: yes , I want to be careful of not creating those negative associations
BeaMantovani: I think my husband will be sad if dd doesn't speak German... on the other hand he does spend a lot of
time with her (is on parental leave for 4 months right now) so maybe that won't happen, I guess we'll have to be open to
that possibility though
PamSoroosh: my kids regret now that their dad did not keep it up.
hbonda (Hema): >> MollyB (Guest84): thanks... i was getting a bit lost there ..:-) I do feel that it will work out in the end
if you like to use English yourself. They will pick it up from your usage
adreanaline: (has ASL/English in her home)
BeaMantovani: >> PamSoroosh: your husband insisted that they respond in Farsi? (just trying to think what
mistake not to make)
hbonda (Hema): >> PamSoroosh: can you say a bit more about that "my kids regret now that their dad did not keep it up. "
PamSoroosh: LOL - we have ASL, too, these days. Rosie is so crazy about it - she signs constantly.
Guest41: Hi Adreanaline, what does ASL mean?
adreanaline: American Sign Language
Good for Rosie!! .:-D
PamSoroosh: My kids are now 18, 21, and 24. They speak very little Farsi - not enough to communicate with their relatives.
adreanaline: My husband's parents are Deaf and DeafBlind too
MollyB (Guest84): >> PamSoroosh: that's what I would like to avoid, if I can
adreanaline: When we lived in NC it was difficult because I was the only one signing
AlexPoly (Guest17): Hi! Sorry I could not get here until now
hbonda (Hema): well won't they pick up Farsi easily if surrounded by Farsi speaking people...especially since they
were exposed to it over the years?
Guest41: How old are your kids now?
adreanaline: now living here, Dad is signing, and so are grandparents. We have more hearing friends who sign as well
BeaMantovani: talking about mistakes: I found online a woman who planned on unschooling, spoke several languages in
her home, and when daughter started forgetting one language (the language spoken by the dad) she sent her to school...
that's one mistake I do not want
hbonda (Hema): >> PamSoroosh: well won't they pick up Farsi easily if surrounded by Farsi speaking people...e sp since
they were exposed to it over the years?
adreanaline: When the kids were in school, they were NOT encouraged in their signing so school is not a fix for
language learning ..:-(
PamSoroosh: The world is a small place - their cousins who live in germany, spain, and other places in the world are all
on facebook now.
AlexPoly (Guest17): Gigi needs a lot of nursing to wake up and my lap top cord wnt bad I was trying to make it work
and finally my son let me use his computer
BeaMantovani: hi Alex!
PamSoroosh: they won't ever be surrounded by Farsi-speaking people. That would mean living in iran or afghanistan. not
Guest41: I've a question for everybody. Do any of you teach your kids the Latin language at home?
adreanaline: no -- it's hard to learn a language if you're not around someone who speaks it fluently
BeaMantovani: >> Guest41: I think most ppl here don't teach, they just speak ..;-)
AlexPoly (Guest17): I don't "teach" any language We speak
hbonda (Hema): >> PamSoroosh: I guess i meant family speaking Farsi who lived in the US
adreanaline: That's why I admire people like Rosie -- making the opportunity to practice
PamSoroosh: only the older generation speaks Farsi together - in the Persian community, I mean. All the young people
grew up here and speak English when they are together. Farsi only with parents and grandparents.
adreanaline: Pam, what sparked Rosie's interest in ASL?
PamSoroosh: Anybody under 30 was born here.
AlexPoly (Guest17): My niece pretty much learned English when she lived in Brazil by listening to music and watching
movies without subtitles
hbonda (Hema): >> PamSoroosh: ah... yes ... i understand.
BeaMantovani: I think with languages, kids will only keep up with the languages they really need (just like everything
else, I guess)
hbonda (Hema): >> Guest41: we just talk and talk and talk. no teaching happening here
BeaMantovani: unless they like studying languages for the sake of it (like me ..;-)
adreanaline: I heard a story once -- about a group of CODA siblings
MollyB (Guest84): >> AlexPoly (Guest17): I have met people that have learned languages like that, too! Totally
amazes me since Spanish was a struggle for me
AlexPoly (Guest17): YI try to speak as much Portuguese to my kids at home. We live in the US and dad is American
adreanaline: their parents passed away but they felt bonded to the language so much that whenever they gathered, they
PamSoroosh: Rie has always loved sign. She'd picked up a lot of signs from various activities - like in Girl Scouts
learning the Girl Scout promise and a song in sign as part of earning a badge. And finger spelling from having a poster
hanging in my sister's bathroom
hbonda (Hema): >> AlexPoly (Guest17): that's how my kids are learning hindi.. hindi movies and cartoons. its funny because they speak hindi differently than in real life.. its very dramatic
adreanaline: Cool! I guess there are some languages that kids glom to more than others
SandraDodd: Marty just told me a story. He works at a restaurant where people speak Farsi and Spanish and English
(the lady who comes to make the bread only speaks Farsi). There's a guy from Morocco who speaks French and Arabic.
BeaMantovani: does anybody speak a language with their spouse that is different than the language they speak with their
PamSoroosh: Rosie just took every opportunity to learn. When we'd go to a show and there was someone interpreting,
she'd watch the interpreter and pick up signs because she could guess what was being said.
adreanaline: I was learning Japanese for a while, and occasionally the kids will say that's in Japanese
AlexPoly (Guest17): My mom usually comes and spends months with us. My kids understand pretty much everything in
Portuguese speak little but I know from seein other families that the moment they NEED to speak ( a trip to Brazil for
example) they will speak in no time
adreanaline: Armand said once that the reflected light on the side of a hotel here looked like kanji
PamSoroosh: AND - believe it or not - she watched the interpreter for Joey on West Wing - over and over and over - so
picked up a lot of signs from that.
MollyB (Guest84): BeaMantovani: my husband and I speak Spanish to each other most of the time and speak
English to the kids
SandraDodd: But he said yesterday the dishwasher was walking out and they said "Are you leaving?" and she speaks
Spanish, and stopped and looked at them and said "aqui" and then left.
AlexPoly (Guest17): No Bea but I speak some French with my mom once in a while
SandraDodd: So they looked at each other, and she went out, her husband met her in the parking lot, and gave her her
hbonda (Hema): >> AlexPoly (Guest17): yes... i think this is the case for us too. my parents speak kannada with the kids
and me. And whenever they've been here a month or so.. the kids start to effortlessly speak a few words here and there
and their understanding of
SandraDodd: So Marty was glad he knew she was saying she was staying there, but she was saying "a key" not "aqui."
adreanaline: what's kannada?
Guest41: AlexPoly, how many languages do you speak?
hbonda (Hema): Kannada is a language of Karnataka, a southern state in India.
hbonda (Hema): We have 21 official different languages here in india... so most people are trilingual at least
AlexPoly (Guest17): I speak Portuguese, French, Spanish and English
PamSoroosh: that's funny sandra - she was speaking English - but not what they expected.
adreanaline: polyglot ..:-)
AlexPoly (Guest17): My French comes and goes and everytime I travel somehwere ( ike France) I can speak in like a day
but then it gets pretty rusty from not using
BeaMantovani: I have a question; does anybody speak a different language with spouse than with the kids? I speak
English to dd, dh speaks German to dd, but dh and I speak French to each other. dd doesn't understand as much French,
and I wonder if that's bad... I mean
Guest41: Alex, Thanks. Do your kids all speak those 4 languages?
MollyB (Guest84): I read alot of your stuff on line and I must say that your English is awesome-
did you speak it as a child?
hbonda (Hema): and thousands of dialects etc.
BeaMantovani: I mean bad that she doesn't understand what her dad and I are saying to each other (although we do tell
her when she asks)
AlexPoly (Guest17): Bea don't you live in a French speaking area?
hbonda (Hema): >> SandraDodd: funny
PamSoroosh: My husband's cousin -- he speaks Farsi to the kids, their mom speaks chinese to them, mom and dad speak
English to each other.
SandraDodd: if you're going to post a transcript, I'll just look at it later, that's ok
PamSoroosh: Kids are now 22 and 24.
They speak all three languages very fluently.
hbonda (Hema): >> PamSoroosh: do the kids in the family ever use Farsi as a secret language ?
AlexPoly (Guest17): Thanks
No my kids speak Portuguese and English and I think they understand a little bit of
Spanish (which is easy for Portuguese speaking and not the other way around)
PamSoroosh: worked very well for them.
hbonda (Hema): i mean yours and theirs and other cousins
BeaMantovani: >> AlexPoly (Guest17): yes, I live in Montreal, but used to live in Dutch speaking Belgium, and a
lot of our friends here are English speakers
PamSoroosh: no - they don't speak enough Farsi to talk to each other.
they only know names of things.
adreanaline: Pam -- why don't they speak more Farsi? (I may have missed an explanation before I came in)
AlexPoly (Guest17): Bea Your kids are very young and they may decide they want to speak French in the Future. I did not
learn French until I was 19 and I had like 4 months of lessons and could pretty much do it on my own from there. I
always wanted to learn
hbonda (Hema): >> PamSoroosh: ah. i'm in love with a Farsi poet... who writes about love..... Hafiz
MollyB (Guest84): we speak English to each other in public, and I must say, it's really nice sometimes to discuss things
knowing that almost nobody knows what we're saying
PamSoroosh: they were frustrated with speaking Farsi very early on - got annoyed and angry with their dad when he
insisted on Farsi. Roya would demand that he speak English - she wouldn't understand something he was saying and get
mad at him. It was interfering with
BeaMantovani: both dh and I love languages and pick them up very easily, so I'm hoping it runs in our genes ..:-)
PamSoroosh: So he started speaking english.
MollyB (Guest84): not in a bad way, we are not dissing people or talking bad, but issues like sibling fights or what to
buy and why don't have to be observed by the general public
Guest41: Bea, how many languages do you speak? just out of curiosity.
adreanaline: oh -- emotional impressions can be hard to beat
AlexPoly (Guest17): Me and my mom love languages. I have to say that my mom is amazing and she can speak so
many languages it is silly. She also leaned a lot of them after she was in her 30s and 40s
There is no time to learn a language you can learn at any time
adreanaline: proof that language learning isn't the domain of the young!
SandraDodd: I think there's an ability or talent that some people have lots of, to learn languages.
Guest41: I agree with Sandra.
BeaMantovani: well, I speak English and French, Spanish, Mandarin (Chinese), German, and then I understand and speak
some Dutch, some Italian, and some other languages I understand bits and pieces ..;-)
SandraDodd: I was saying earlier my friend Bob (the best man at our wedding) learned Navajo and Chinese, and neither
is easy for English speakers.
MollyB (Guest84): >>
adreanaline: no, but it is amazing to see how easy it is for them! - coming from someone
who struggled learning Spanish in my 20's
AlexPoly (Guest17): I used to know a little ASL but never used it and last time I needed when I met Adrean I could only
remember stupid stuff! Sorry Adrean
SandraDodd: And poor me, I can't even get Spanish. (And now I'll hush, because I'm not really in this conversation.)
PamSoroosh: My grandfather spoke a lot of languages fluently - all learned after he was 40. He worked for the United
States Agency for International Development and went to their language institute for Turkish, Farsi, and Arabic. Then
lived for most of the rest
BeaMantovani: (I actually don't speak German very well, but I understand it very well)
adreanaline: I've been told by some ASL teachers that it's possible to have people who can't pick up the language at all
PamSoroosh: of his life in countries that spoke those languages.
AlexPoly (Guest17): I really love ASL. and I can read lips in Portuguses well too...very well
Guest41: Bea, what is your Chinese level? Do you know how to read and write Chinese characters? Are they simplified
or traditional ones?
adreanaline: I think it's easy because some young people aren't as burdened by cares and worries as older people are ---
like caring for kids, etc
AlexPoly (Guest17): I think some people get languages easier than others
adreanaline: that can interfere with learning
PamSoroosh: adrean - I'm not very good at asl. It doesn't "stick" for me. I have to relearn the same signs over and over.
Rosie never seems to forget one once she's done it just once.
AlexPoly (Guest17): Its not really anything related to being musical
I am not musical at all but I can learn languages well
Guest41: Bea, you might mention your kids' ages. But, I probably miss that. How old are they now?
adreanaline: Alex - a receptive mind counts most of all! We had a good time with you all, enjoyed chatting!
BeaMantovani: >> Guest41: I lived in China for 3 years. I could read the newspaper then, not so much now.
writting by hand was never easy for me, but I did write essays on the computer (went to a joint american-chinese
program for a year)
AlexPoly (Guest17): Yes I had a great time meeting you. Lets get together again Next wek at teh Zoo?
A group is going want to join?
BeaMantovani: my kids are 3 and a half and one month (!) old (which is why all of this is very hypothetical for me...)
adreanaline: Pam, have you tried learning with different media?
PamSoroosh: When my kids were little, trying to speak Farsi with their dad was limiting the level of conversation they
could have with him. They didn't have the vocabulary - he wasn't with them all day like I was - they couldn't express
feelings and emotions to him.
adreanaline: computer videos, flashcards, in live conversation?
ooh that looks like fun, Alex, it's been so nice outside! Can you email the info?
AlexPoly (Guest17): For kids I vouch for movies in their native language and music
Find movies they like
hbonda (Hema): Now that we are talking about writing..... i can read and write arabic... but i can't speak it any more! i was raised
in Abu Dhabi from 2-16..... and arabic was compulsory in school. funny how even today i can switch to reading it so
easily... but i've : lost the ability to speak. perhaps if i return there some day i'll be back
MollyB (Guest84): books, too!
adreanaline: Alex, agree about being musical -- I enjoy learning languages as well and learn them written only
adreanaline: when I have time : P
BeaMantovani: >> PamSoroosh: I remember you writing about that... I wonder if that's because your dh insisted
they speak Farsi back? my dd doesn't have a problem expressing herself to her dad (in English), while he answers in
German (but maybe it's because she's young
Guest41: Bea, How many languages does your 3 year old speak now?
PamSoroosh: that might be, bea.
adreanaline: My husband and oldest boy had an adversarial relationship for a long time
BeaMantovani: >> Guest41: she speaks mostly English, but understands German, and some French (and some
Spanish thanks to Dora and cartoons we download from Youtube ..;-)
adreanaline: he was frustrated that he couldn't understand him -- and my oldest couldn't express himself well
AlexPoly (Guest17): NEVER force your kid to speak a certain language. I think
adreanaline: Alex - yes
when he came home from school and we stayed in unschooling it helped a lot
PamSoroosh: that is what was happening to my dh and my oldest daughter. so my dh stopped trying to speak Farsi -
spoke English instead, for the sake of their relationship.
MollyB (Guest84): >> AlexPoly (Guest17): that's what can [leave] them disinterested in learning, let alone the damage
done to the parent-child relationship
hbonda (Hema): We have not insisted on any language usage... but both kids seem to be leaning towards English... my son who
lived in US for 3 years ... still prefers friends who speak English clearly... i mean especially after our move to Pune
adreanaline: he felt calmer and then gradually we could understand each other better. It's still hard sometimes but at least
we have space for patience
AlexPoly (Guest17): exactly molly
but i have seen it happen
PamSoroosh: adrean - did you grow up with asl or asl and signed English or ??
adreanaline: signed English
then in 8th grade I moved to the deaf school
I learned ASL there, but didn't drop all the English signs until I married John
(John the Deaf family)
When I was born my mother was told that an oral program was the way to go, that signing would stop me learning to
BeaMantovani: I'm thinking if we go to Germany often enough and keep German fun and alive, it might help
AlexPoly (Guest17): When I was in high school in Brazil (an american HS) I had a friend that could NOT speak
Portuguese and had been living in Brazil for almost 4 y
Then he met a brazilian girl that did not speak English. He was speaking in less than 3 months
Amazing what you do when you NEED it
BeaMantovani: I think my dh would have a hard time expressing *his* feelings and emotions in English
adreanaline: she'd have to drive for hours to take me to that program. I'd have tantrums in the morning because I couldn't
tell her what I wanted for breakfast. She finally figured it out and got a book of signs. After that breakfast was much
hbonda (Hema): BeaMantovani: On a long car ride recently... a friend of Raghu and i started a game... and raghu has
taken it up now.... i basically say shlokas in Sanskrit shlokas are prayers/sayings etc...
BeaMantovani: >> AlexPoly (Guest17): lol!
hbonda (Hema): and then they have to repeat it. and because they don't understand the words.. i think its funny for them to do
them like tongue twisters. I love sanskrit and can recite things endlessly... so a fun game for me too ..:-)
BeaMantovani: i was responding to your part "keep German fun and alive, it might help " in this case... the
tongue gets used to the twists that form the basis of a lot of indian languages
PamSoroosh: Here - seems like they are pushing for deaf kids to learn signed English - because it is somehow better for
them in school? They teach signed English in the teacher preparation program at my college.
adreanaline: oh noooo way!
Kids who learn Signed English tend to parrot it back
they can say it but they don't understand it
hbonda (Hema): thanks, great idea!
adreanaline: It does not help with English. I read a lot when I was a kid, I enjoy language and have the ability for it
MollyB (Guest84): >>
adreanaline: what's the difference between signed English and ASL?
adreanaline: not all my classmates did
Signed English is word for word and tacks on the endings like -ly, -ed
hbonda (Hema): >> MollyB (Guest84): my question too
adreanaline: It is very robotic and awkward
MollyB (Guest84): so why do people use it?
adreanaline: ASL is a true language, with grammar structure, etc
because some people think English is superior to ASL and is the way to go
PamSoroosh: Rosie switched to a different college to get a degree in ASL, rather than learning signed English.
AlexPoly (Guest17): ASL is awesome. I want to learn it more.
adreanaline: People put too much emphasis on learning English to measure success in Deaf people
AlexPoly (Guest17): I say to people that have little kids that kids will learn when they want and need.
adreanaline: knowing English helps, but a "can-do" attitude and adaptability is worth more
My husband became skilled in English over one summer when he was 11 or so
hbonda (Hema): >> AlexPoly (Guest17): I guess if we use languages based on our need/ability/interest/enjoyment... they
would naturally do something similar?
AlexPoly (Guest17): I speak portuguese to my kids a lot and they answer in English but I know they will learn when they
need and want to or at least have some knowledge of it.
adreanaline: He just walked in a store and then decided to himself he'd read through the largest book he could find
AlexPoly (Guest17): That is what I think hbonda
adreanaline: turned out to be Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth
MollyB (Guest84): oh my god! That's a feat!
adreanaline: he read through it and was hooked
AlexPoly (Guest17): That is also nothing wrong with learning at any age and doing language programs to jump start.
PamSoroosh: LOL - yeah - that's funny Adrean!
hbonda (Hema): >> MollyB (Guest84): LOL
adreanaline: now he writes poetry -- just published Deaf American Poetry with Gallaudet University Press this month
MollyB (Guest84): yes, I can relate, I just finished the sequel - World without End - totally incredible
adreanaline: agree Alex, but some people in Deaf Ed don't get it
PamSoroosh: wow. that's amazing.
hbonda (Hema): DH and i bought a bunch of italian on tape... and are planning to gear up for a trip to italy some day
we went once a long time ago and loved the language
adreanaline: I didn't know there was a sequel, I should ask him about it when he gets back tomorrow from New York
MollyB (Guest84): highly recommended
adreanaline: my oldest also had the "reading circuit" in his brain switch on the summer of his 6th birthday
he could read but could not get the context
that time I sent him to school because we were in North Carolina
PamSoroosh: adrean - i'm looking at the book's table of contents - which is your husband's?
adreanaline: it did not go well - they drilled him and he started to say he didn't want to read books with too many pages
it was sad. Now he reads comics and thin books
AlexPoly (Guest17): My cousin's son was born in Brazil and live there until he was like 4 or 5 when she moved back to
the US. Once here they stopped speaking Portuguese to him and When he was 16 he made friends with a Brazilian boy who had just moved to the US and spoke no English
MollyB (Guest84): well, it's not really a sequel, but same place, different time- don't have to read the first one to enjoy
[I guess I lost a little here, because there wasn't overlap between my saved file.]
Learnt some signing "you are the x team to arrive.
adreanaline: I haven't seen that yet, am curious. Are there episodes of that online?
RobynC (Guest68): www.cbs.com/primetime/amazing_race/
adreanaline: no subtitles or captions.
JennyC: you can use xbox to chat with others from around the world online, while playing
adreanaline: uggh that is infuriating -- CBS has a lot of funding, they can at least caption their episodes...
JennyC: I had no idea they didn't caption
joykelsa (Guest74): thank You both. dh and I are taking that bsl class together starting next week.
SandraDodd: When it's broadcast there's close captioning, but what shows up online... maybe there's a setting or option?
adreanaline: no, NBC has an option on some of their videos
joykelsa (Guest74): I was thinking of trying to combine it with learning another oral language like French.
SandraDodd: We're halfway of the three hours.
adreanaline: no options on this one ..:-(
JennyC: learning how to sign had everything to do with why we started unschooling, and then we never learned it, and
now i think i'm going to
adreanaline: Jenny -- no time like the present to learn! If you need any help please do contact me
AlexPoly (Guest17): Don't make learning another language something artificial
SandraDodd: Are there other questions or stories of in-home language issues? I don't want to rush people off, but I
don't want to keep those who came for general chat from getting to talk if they need to. So I guess i'm declaring a
adreanaline: Jenny where are you located? There might be ASL meet-ups and silent dinners where you are
JennyC: we are in Oregon
SandraDodd: Either is fine, but the language stuff, I'll edit into a readable transcript, and the other stuff I'll probably cut.
adreanaline: come to think of it Meetup.com is a great place to find language learning chats
JennyC: i'm sure there are
AlexPoly (Guest17): You can expose you kids to other languages but they will only learn another language when they
want or need them unless or live in a place surrounded by it
JennyC: heck Diana lives pretty close by
JennyC: yes that's true Alex
some kids do want to learn languages just because too
Margaux is like that
RobynC (Guest68): I can't stay long because of what's going on here, but I want to say that I learnt four languages as a
child, but they didn't stick once I left the countries, other than English. My dh learnt Spanish from the cook/nanny and he
still speaks it.
what languages did you know when you were little?
adreanaline: joy, are you aware of SeeHear and other BSL resources online?
AlexPoly (Guest17): There is a big push to get your kids to learn a language when they are young
joykelsa (Guest74): I wasn't. this is a very new thing for us. except when the kids were very young they knew and liked
the sign for dog (I think that was it).
RobynC (Guest68): My first language was Japanese (according to my mother) We were there. Then I spoke German in
Germany for quite some time (Dad's family) and I learnt English - but I have memories of being timid about speaking
English. When I was 7 I lived in Tahiti
hbonda (Hema): Sorry... got to go. good night from Pune. Thank you for the ideas, links and chat ..:-)
RobynC (Guest68): and spoke only French outside of home. I remember specifically forgetting some English words and
having a hard time communicating with Mum.
SandraDodd: Bye Hema! Thank you
AlexPoly (Guest17): Bye hbonda
adreanaline: SeeHear is a BSL news programme www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seehear/ and check out the BDA
By hbonda, good chatting ..:-)
AlexPoly (Guest17): I have friends that have their very young kids in French and Spanish classes from the age of 3
I did not learn Spanish until I was 16 and French 19 and its not a problem at all
adreanaline: BSL signs online www.british-sign.co.uk/
JennyC: bye hema
RobynC (Guest68): I thought I'd have a head start taking high school French at the age of 15 but NONE of it came back
JennyC: that's interesting Robyn
joykelsa (Guest74): bye hema. thank You adreanaline. I am going to be so ready now for that class next week! ..:-)
adreanaline: here's online resources for ASL: www.aslpro.com/ and www.lifeprint.com/
JennyC: I would've thought that it would've stayed somewhere in the subconcious
adreanaline: Joy - you're welcome ..:-)
BeaMantovani: >> RobynC (Guest6 .8-) : do you think you would have picked up French if you hadn't been in a
French speaking school?
joykelsa (Guest74): maybe with languages it's an age and time thing.
RobynC (Guest68): Evidently I really need to be immersed in a language. I lived for years in Hong Kong, but all of my
associates and friend spoke English so I didn't learn but a couple of words, and I don't know if they are Cantonese or
Guest41: need to leave, cause baby is crying. Thanks all.
AlexPoly (Guest17): Bye
RobynC (Guest68): Everyone spoke French in Tahiti at the time.
I had to learn or never speak to anyone.
BeaMantovani: RobynC (Guest6 .8-) true ..:-)
AlexPoly (Guest17): That is what I was saying. I don't think you will not be able to learn a language because you did not
learn when you were a child
BeaMantovani: >> AlexPoly (Guest17): I agree
AlexPoly (Guest17): I think kids can pick up a language more naturally because they are less afraid to make mistakes
RobynC (Guest68): I daresay if I was dumped some place now I'd learn the local dialect in time.
AlexPoly (Guest17): Adults don't want to make mistakes so they don't just try as children does
BeaMantovani: >> AlexPoly (Guest17): I'm a perfect example of that too, and I also have friends who were in
French immersion school starting in Kindergarten (in English speaking Canada) and whose French is really bad
AlexPoly (Guest17): I know I would Robyn!
BeaMantovani: I would too
SandraDodd: I understand more and more Spanish as the years go by, but the few times I've tried to speak I've been
laughed at so I stopped trying.
adreanaline: That's true about being afraid to make mistakes. My dad isn't fluent in sign because he doesn't want to feel
it has been a source of friction for years
AlexPoly (Guest17): So that is what is stopping you Sandra
JennyC: Alex, it's funny you say that about making mistakes! it's true, and i'm finding that the older I get the less I care
about making mistakes, so maybe I'd pick up a language better now in midlife than in young adulthood
SandraDodd: But if I moved to Mexico or Spain, I would just suck it up. It's being one of the few anglo kids in a
predominenantly hispanic, very old neighborhood, that kept me from opening my mouth.
BeaMantovani: part of the reason my husband is so good at languages is because he has no inhibitions. he just speaks
AlexPoly (Guest17): I think my mom learns languages so easy because she is NOT afraid to make mistakes
JennyC: and some people are naturally adept at it
AlexPoly (Guest17): Some are Jenny
SandraDodd: I would be willing to try to speak French if i were in France (me with my three years of school french and a
lot of subtitle watching) but not Spanish in New Mexico.
AlexPoly (Guest17): but not being afraid is a huge thing in learning to speak
BeaMantovani: we were once in Lisbon and he was speaking some kind of Portuguese sounding Spanishized French to
everyone, and getting by just fine. lol
adreanaline: I knew a guy in college who was dyslexic -- he took a long time understanding fingerspelling but still
joykelsa (Guest74): adults who learn a new language will sometimes have an accent that children won't have but even then
one can learn to sound natural. so I've read.
JennyC: I've always had a hard time because of my hearing loss, i can't distinguish between subtle sounds, i can't even do
that sometimes in my own language
adreanaline: it was difficult to talk with him sometimes but it didn't stop him
AlexPoly (Guest17): You can lose your accent but I ask WHY?
SandraDodd: Bea, have you seen the movie Love Actually?
JennyC: haha i knew what you were saying anyway alex
adreanaline: (it's possible to have an accent in sign language as well)
AlexPoly (Guest17): Have you heard Robyn in her Australian accent?
BeaMantovani: >> joykelsa (Guest74): my husband is German and most people think he is French when he speaks
French - he only started learning French when he was 16
AlexPoly (Guest17): its so adorable!
SandraDodd: There's a language element in that, with Colin Firth and Portuguese.
RobynC (Guest68): My Australian friends say I sound american when I talk on the phone, and I can hear myself sliding.
SandraDodd: yes, oh yeah, the portuguese woman in France ..:-)
joykelsa (Guest74): they are! sometimes though in parts of the world it tells others things about a person they'd rather
not be though. hope that makes sense.
AlexPoly (Guest17): That is cool Adrean!
BeaMantovani: >> AlexPoly (Guest17): I love the US, men find me irresistible with my French accent ..;-)
AlexPoly (Guest17): I LOVE accents. I love to learn were people are from.
BeaMantovani: (of course now I'm happily married so it's not as much fun ..;-)
RVB: People here know I'm Canadian the minute I say "out" or "about" .
AlexPoly (Guest17): You can work in loosing your accent but really why would you care if you have one?
SandraDodd: adreanaline, a sign language accent by region or how old the person was who learned it or whether the
person hears or not?
adreanaline: Alex, yes -- I have an English accent. there are variances in regional signs as well. Native foreign SLs who
learn ASL also sign different
SandraDodd: A New York accent is not at all attractive in New Mexico. People keep those at their own risk.
adreanaline: Sandra - -all of the above
AlexPoly (Guest17): I can pronounce TH in English if I want to but I usually pronounce it just like the French Canadian
SandraDodd: Nobody will hit them, not that risk. but people might not deal with them as openly or willingly
joykelsa (Guest74): here in Europe accents are thought of always a good thing. depends on where a person is from.
adreanaline: It's a mark of distinction if a hearing person is mistaken for a deaf signer
JennyC: oh yeah sandra, the salsa commercials really exploited that fact
AlexPoly (Guest17): When I was a Flight Attendant people always asked me where I was from that I sounded like Celine
SandraDodd: "New York CITY!?"
joykelsa (Guest74): aren't. I meant aren't thought of as good.
SandraDodd: That one?
JennyC: yes, I love that commercial!
AlexPoly (Guest17): ( No I cannot sing to save my life)
JennyC: it was more texas, but still...
SandraDodd: It was originally "New JERsey!?" but [I heard] the state of New Jersey which grew most of the tomatoes that Pace
was buying persuaded them to take it back.
adreanaline: Alex -- but won't we learn something when we NEED to? ..;-)
RobynC (Guest68): Noo Yok Siddee
AlexPoly (Guest17): YEES
SandraDodd: I spoke in Saskatoon once, and didn't really know anyone.
AlexPoly (Guest17): but not singing lol
SandraDodd: All strangers to me.
Many of the attendees at this conference were conservative farmers.
I was there talking about unschooling.
AlexPoly (Guest17): MInne-soth-ta
adreanaline: Sandra - looks like the making of a comical situation
SandraDodd: I sat and listened to a guy rant on about the horrors of sex education
RVB: How did you go over in the Prairies, Sandra?
SandraDodd: and I didn't agree with any of it, but I was just letting his accent wash over me, and analyzing how many
different ways he used "eh" and there were four.
JennyC: ok fine, ory-gun, and there are bumper stickers that say that
RVB: "Eh" is quite useful...eh?
SandraDodd: I figured I better be nice to those people if I ever wanted to get home alive.
adreanaline: My mom went with me to a doctor's appt once and she got stared at and asked where she was from-- she has
a Southern accent
(here in Minnesota)
SandraDodd: I don't know how I live without "eh" and "ya'll," because they're both extremely useful.
RVB: Did you check the pick-ups for gun racks?
JennyC: the horrors!
adreanaline: lol Sandra
RobynC (Guest68): It's funny being here in the US and seeing "eh" as a regional thing. In Australia it means New
joykelsa (Guest74): I still remember in a store here a mom saying to her son "it's not here, it's er". The don't say the h's.
SandraDodd: But if I use them around here, I would be shunned.
HEY, my dad had a gun rack in his pickup.
he never locked it
One day a rifle was gone
AlexPoly (Guest17): like Kelly Lovejoy with her Southern Belle accent
adreanaline: that's scary
SandraDodd: and he told my sister one of her friends got his rifle and he wanted it back.
And a couple of days later, it was back.
adreanaline: that is, scary to unlock the gun rack
RVB: Gun racks are a bit of an aberration in Canada.
SandraDodd: It was the early 60's, in a small town.
Late 60's, when my sister's friend lifted the rifle
JennyC: lots of people in oregon have gun racks, it really is a very redneck meets hippy state
SandraDodd: Not like leaving guns in a parking lot in Los Angeles.
RVB: But farmers usually have rifles to shoot vermin.
SandraDodd: My dad worked for a mining company and was often up in the mountains.
Sometimes going into old mines, in the mountains.
Guns, in such situations, can be lifesaving.
BeaMantovani: >> RVB: where do you live, and where are you from in Canada?
RVB: We have friends who hunt (elk, yum!)
JennyC: us too robin
SandraDodd: My parents both hunted.
Me, all hippie-peacenik.
My HOUSE was redneck meets hippy.
joykelsa (Guest74): be back in 5.
RVB: Hey, Bea. I'm in Issaquah, east of Seattle. I'm from Victoria, B.C., but grew up in Ottawa.
JennyC: wow sandra, you'd get along just fine here in oregon
SandraDodd: My parents were hunter safety instructors one year, and some of the kids at school took their class and
thought my parents were GREAT, and I told 'em you can have them.
I was kinda ashamed.
RVB: Your mom was a hunter safety instructor, Sandra?
SandraDodd: Yes, for a while.
I think fish and wildlife sponsored that course; I'm not sure.
AlexPoly (Guest17): Let me get out of here. I have guests coming and a play date in an hour and half and Gigi really
wants me know and I cannot type as she is nursing and wants my attention
JennyC: bye alex!
SandraDodd: I know one of the things it involved was crossing a barbed wire fence safely with a rifle.
adreanaline: bye alex
RVB: Bye, Alex (or Celine, as the case may be!)
SandraDodd: Bye, Alex. thanks
AlexPoly (Guest17): she is pretty jealous of the computer sometimes
adreanaline: Sandra -- why would they need to know that?
AlexPoly (Guest17): Bye all.
JennyC: oh, sandra that's great! one never knows when one shall have to navigate barbed wire fences with guns
AlexPoly (Guest17): Adrean join us next week at the Zoo oK?!
RVB: WWII training!
adreanaline: ok!! .:-D don't forget to send the info!!
AlexPoly (Guest17): I will!
JennyC: or in NM, get off federal land quick before you're caught
DebCunefare: A lot of hunting is done on land that's fenced for livestock. Farmers/ranchers give permission.
DebCunefare: People sometimes think, oh, lean the gun against the wire or a pole.
AlexPoly (Guest17): you'all come back you hear me! (my accent from when I lived in NC)
DebCunefare: Gun slips, goes off, maybe dead hunter
JennyC: That would be especially true in the sw US Deb!
adreanaline: lol Alex
RVB: Interesting, the things I don't know about guns...
SandraDodd: In New Mexico, navigating barbed wire used to be standard. I wish I had a photo of the stile to cross the
corner of our property. It was boards between posts over a barbed wire fence.
We stopped to pee by the side of the road once, and I taught Marty and Kirby to cross through barbed wire. There's a
whole etiquette when a group goes through. Lost art. They were like 12, 14, and had no idea.
RVB: >> SandraDodd: That last line is rather poetic, like a lyric to a song. The barbed wire fence sentence. (It was boards between posts over a barbed wire fence.)
JennyC: that's true sandra, you can go out in the middle of nowhere and find old barbed fences stilling hangin in there
SandraDodd: It was one of those things we all just knew when I was little.
adreanaline: to prevent the wire from slapping someone?
JennyC: or snagging you
SandraDodd: Maybe I could sketch it and get an artist friend of mine to draw it better for me.
RobynC (Guest68): Well I must be off. Sorry to hit and run like this.
JennyC: bye robyn
RVB: There were lots of those fences where I grew up, to keep the cows in.
SandraDodd: Lots here still, in New Mexico.
JennyC: john and i discovered that margaux is super amazing at using a bb gun
RobynC (Guest68): I'll catch the transcript to see what I missed earlier and later.
joykelsa (Guest74): bye robyn. glad you were here what you said was really interesting.
SandraDodd: If we're ever where there's barbed wire, I shall demonstrate.
DebCunefare: Midwest is mostly fenced with barbs still, even on electrified stretches. City slickers got no idea how to get
over, under, through... ..:-)
katherand: We are watching Funny Cat videos ... inspired by Jill Parmer's mention of it in her GREAT post today.
adreanaline: bye Robyn
RVB: Cool! Maybe in Santa Fe?
adreanaline: katherand -- icanhascheezburger.com ?
SandraDodd: We could do a field trip a few miles from there to cross barbed wire.
RVB: Yes. Let's do it!
SandraDodd: Or maybe we could put up a little stretch of barbed wire fence to practice.
katherand: Youtube. adreanaline
RVB: A barbed wire funshop!
"barbed wire funshop..."
katherand: very like icanhascheezburger though
adreanaline: Sandra - let me know when it's posted, I'm curious what it is! No barbed wire here in downtown but nice to
JennyC: make sure it's authentically rusty
joykelsa (Guest74): I better go too. looking forward to reading the transcript later. bye everyone.
SandraDodd: Hell yeah, and that there are cow pies you have to avoid, too
adreanaline: Bye joy
JennyC: bye joy
SandraDodd: I'll put a transcript of language discussion without cowpies.
katherand: barbed wire... alternatives to real pain. .:-D
DebCunefare: I bet SW cow pies are nicer than midwest ones
RVB: Bye Joy
JennyC: drier for sure
adreanaline: When we first moved here, I kept stepping over the black patches I saw in Iowa. Thought they were all cow
SandraDodd: Ours dry up and turn to frisbees, yeah.
adreanaline: prolific cows there....but then I found out that the soil is black. Didn't realize that! I grew up with red clay
soil in NC ..:-)
JennyC: i'll bet you could use them for fuel in fire really easy, like laura ingalls did
RVB: So we should wear old, sturdy clothing and bring some tetanus boosters?
katherand: cow pies plus barbed wire... some people think that equals tetanus... but it's not automatic. It's a risk though
Rusty barbed wired
SandraDodd: The response of some of the kids around me might be "I used to do that (use cow pies for fuel) but then my
mom got a job.
DebCunefare: thanks for the laughs, gotta go taxi ..:-)
SandraDodd: We do cut up broken shipping pallets, so we're one step up from cow pies
JennyC: bye deb
adreanaline: bye deb
SandraDodd: go taxi? Darn those smilies
GO and verb-to-taxi-someone probably.
JennyC: that's what i thought!
i do that too
DebCunefare: Sorry keep trying to just do a regular text smile and forget it will animate
SandraDodd: go taxes would be a possibility this week
JennyC: in my now ghetto van
katherand: RED clay here in SC as well adrena
SandraDodd: Holly taxies me now!
I grew a chauffeur!
(probably can't spell it right, but I have one.)
adreanaline: ooh I just found out that Facebook has a japanese version
DebCunefare: yeah gonna run pat to the train
SandraDodd: see ya'll, eh?
adreanaline: I still can't find Jill Parmer's page curious what the videos are
i just wrote a post about my ghetto van
SandraDodd: Jill posted on the Always Learning list.
about it being her 7th anniversary of unschooling
JennyC: that's cool
katherand: hang on... adreanaline.... it's in always learning. A post from Jill Parmer in the thread Unschooling for 7 years
adreanaline: how long have you all been unschooling?
JennyC: 10 yrs unschooling, and getting better and better at it!
katherand: Karl is only 5.. so he's not school age yet adreanaline... but I've known about unschooling all this time and
that's been my plan all along.
SandraDodd: Kirby is 22 and was just turning five when we decided to do it for at least a year
18 years then?
All of Holly's life, and she'll be 18 in November.
JennyC: that's awesome!
SandraDodd: And I'm still getting better at it.
adreanaline: it'll be 2 years for us November but we've been homeschooling on/off since Jael was preschool
JennyC: I know, I never stop learning about learning!