I’m a new -rookie- mom, born, raised and living in Bogota, Colombia. I became bilingual through life and thanks to my mom who stirred in me at a very young age the love for the language; our mother tongue as well as community language is Spanish.
A couple of years ago I ended up watching a TED talk that put in my mind the idea of raising our -I’m married- future kids bilingual, so the online research = reading more about it on Google, took me to the book Raising a bilingual child by Barbara Zurer Pearson. I had already heard/read about the OPOL method but wanted to know more about it, you know, the internet sometimes is just like the surface and books still posess a great source of wisdom, so I ordered it from Amazon.
I finished the book on March 30th, 2018 but when I got pregnant -the test came out positive on June 8th-, I knew I wanted to re-read the book to pay closer attention and take notes. The reasons to be or become bilingual are different but usually it has to do with 1) a matter of culture/inheritance = parents are native speakers of two different languages 2) job and educational opportunities -if the person decides to be bilingual, will learn the second language by filtering through the first, this would be an utilitarian purpose-. 3) Family lives in a country where the majority language is different from the one they speak so the whole family, by immersing into the community, little by little learns the new language. However, there’s a 4th reason, it’s my case and at the same time matches one of the examples referred in Barbara’s book:
So yes, this is me. It is not about better life opportunities, it’s about grasping the world with two perspectives at the same time and being able to access and enjoy content that may not be available in your native language. The world is much wider when you are bilingual and realizing that my children can learn both languages at the same time instead of filtering one through the other -second language acquisition- to me was a huge discovery that really enlightened me and made me very excited.
The task/project may not be easy since people at my beloved country, Colombia, myself included are native Spanish speakers, that’s the language I talk with my family and friends… some of us may be bilingual -full English proficiency- but it’s kind of silly and pointless to speak to each other in English when our mother tongue is Spanish; my husband on the other hand, doesn’t know the language, and my mom didn’t need to use it anymore so her knowledge and skill to speak has grown weak. However, Adam Beck, author of the blog Bilingual Monkeys, the forum Bilingual Zoo and this book that I’m just starting to read, sets an example of success in raising their kids bilingual in a country -Japan- where English is the minority language, of course there will be hurdles to overcome along the path, -he also writes about that- but hey, if he could do it why wouldn’t I?
This blog is mainly to share my experience on raising my daughter (2 months old) bilingual as well as telling stories/anecdotes related to the subject… or not -there may be stories just about motherhood, at least I have one in mind, so far, that is related to my father (R.I.P.) but it will be for later.