Languages are on her mind

My seven-year old came home from first grade with her first autobiography in hand. It was the best reading I did all week.

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Languages seem to be on her mind a lot lately. She called me into the bathroom the other night when she was taking a bath as she had something pressing to tell me.

Jasmin: Mama, why didn’t you teach me languages when I was a baby so I could already be speaking them now? (Me: total shock at this question).

Me: We have been. Baba’s only spoken to you in Arabic since you were a baby. But we didn’t start Spanish until you were about five. And before that we had you both learning French when you were three or four.

Jasmin: But you need to speak languages all the time to me so I can learn them.

Me (switching to Spanish): Do you prefer I speak to you in Spanish then?

She nodded her head. The shock is still persisting on my part. They have ALWAYS preferred I speak English to them not Spanish since I didn’t speak Spanish to them when they were little.

Jasmin: You have to speak it more so I can really learn it. So if someone asks me something in that language, like where do you live, I can answer them in that language

She couldn’t be more correct in her approach to languages. And as her parent, I couldn’t be anymore excited about her interest in a subject I care about so much.

 



Stephanie Meade is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of InCultureParent, an online magazine for parents raising little global citizens. After living in four countries and working in many others as an economist in international development, she can speak four languages, including Spanish, French, Portuguese and English. She is passionate about all things related to language, especially raising bilingual children, as well as bringing up children with a global perspective. She is raising her own Moroccan-American daughters bilingual in Arabic and English at home while recently introducing Spanish. She always assumed she would speak Arabic by the time her oldest child was able to talk (which was four years ago now!) and she is finally making the time and effort to learn this year.

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