Family travel is about seeing the world from other perspectives. Sometimes things like this road sign about a movie reminds us that we share many languages on this planet. One of our great joys of our road trip around Europe is the opportunity to be exposed to so many languages in a fairly compact area and learning some of each. Europe is one of the very best places to experience this and it's great for kids.
Although we are monolinguals who have raised a trilingual from birth,( with much effort) we are grateful that our Mozart has been able to immerse deeply in her Spanish in Spain, as we could never have given her the same level of Spanish literacy without that. She added quite a bit to her French this summer in France and we look forward to her immersing deeply in her Mandarin in Asia soon.We loved our time in Slovenia including time in Lake Bled and Ljublijana
What do you see as the advantages of knowing other languages or at least being exposed to them?
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Posted at 01:02 AM in blog, Slovenia | Permalink
bilingual kids, Family travel, family travel abroad, Family travel slovenia, international family travel, learning languages through travel, muliti-lingualism kids
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Massive advantages, I think. I studied Latin and Greek at college, speak OK French and some Spanish. But having Mozart learn two such different language families means that she'll be able to work in many, many languages, and understand their inner structure.
Also get a deeper understanding of the art, the literature. Speaking a language fluently -- and I'm only fluent in English -- gives you access to an entire new mindset, a way of structuring thought.
And build better friendships. Be a better citizen. Lordie. I could go on...
September 17, 2010 at 03:09 AM
Theora - I hear ya, we are on the same page with this. I thought when she was born that being trilingual in Spanish, English & Mandarin Chinese, would be a great foundation for her, but I am even more convinced now that we have been traveling the world for 5 years.
Soooo much easier to get them as a kid too! ( Not all that easy for the parents if they are monolinguals like us, but worth the effort).
Nobody can learn all languages, but if one has 3 fluent ones from 3 different dominant language families, I figured she could add what ever she needed later in life.
Each language that one adds helps all of the languages one knows. It also helps other things like math and abstract thinking ( it's breaking a code after all, eh?). I think her trained ear from the violin & piano compliment the language learning as well, perhaps particularly the tonal language.
She was reading a complex story in Mandarin to me this morning in Barcelona, then translated it for me into English. A few minutes later our friends came over and she was talking to them in Spanish and translating some for me as she is so much more fluent.
Kids make it all look easy and are fearless.
I don't think you can really know a culture without knowing a language & do think knowing several well, opens up many ways of thinking, so expands creativity.
We will see how it works with Mozart, but I hope it works well ( so far so good) and that she passes the gift onto her kids!
September 17, 2010 at 05:31 AM
There are so many advantages! Obvious ones are, meeting more people, being able to immerse yourself in another culture, etc. I mean, there are some disadvantages (read: having to miss school at age 11 because you have to translate for your grandmother in the hospital is not so fun) but there are other, way more fun advantages (ex. translating for your American friends when you meet a group of Venezuelan sailors while eating lunch in Paris during a foreign exchange trip = SO MUCH fun!).
In all seriousness though, being able to communicate with different groups of people really affects the way you see the world around you. I grew up bilingual and learned French in high school. I still keep in touch with my French family from that trip, although not with the Venezuelan sailors ;-)
September 17, 2010 at 08:32 AM
I see the benefits of your plans, and support it completely. When we planned to have a child, I first established our finances, traveled the world, got a Master of Education in Child Development and Language Learning in Australia, and when she turned 1 we left Tokyo...but you know all that since I have already given you the scoop.. so what's up with your plans?
I know you are busy, but we would like to make some sort of contact.
September 17, 2010 at 08:36 AM
Elizabeth Love your story and agree completely! I had to chuckle about your sailor story too! ;) Thanks for sharing!
September 17, 2010 at 09:22 AM
Gregory - Love your story too and just sent you an email. We are swamped right now & you would be amazed at how many emails, facebook, twitter things that come my way. I can't always keep up with them all, so do the best I can.
Hope we can all meet in person some way along the way!
September 17, 2010 at 09:24 AM
I come from a biligual family and later on I learned two more languages.
Besides all the related benefits, there is also being exposed to different interpretations of the world. Each language express different feelings assumpions.
I´m raising my three year old biligual too. We are Brazilian and I often speak, read and sing in English to her.
September 20, 2010 at 12:26 PM
So true! Marilia Good for you passing the gift onto your daughter too. It is more work for parents, but worth the effort and each language that one has, it makes learning another easier.
September 20, 2010 at 12:38 PM
I wish I was exposed to a second language at a young age. Your Mozart is a lucky girl. Are you learning any languages yourself through your travels? I am thinking that you must be picking up the basics.
I can't wait to see how she picks up Mandarin. Now that is a language of the future.
Dave and Deb |
September 21, 2010 at 03:56 PM
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