By Ingrid Weilguny
Photo credit: Alex Dixon
Looking for ways to support your or your children’s multilingualism? Or maybe you have been searching for resources and support to keep yourself and your children motivated and inspired?
Before you do anything else, make sure to check out what is available online. Whether you are looking for other like-minded multilingual parents, language resources for your children or radio stations that you can stream from your laptop, you just might find it with the click of a few keyboard keys.
To help head you in the right direction, here is a list of 9 online sources that might be what you are looking for:
Facebook has numerous virtual groups which may provide information, advice or contact with likeminded people. Try putting what you are looking for in the people search and see what comes up. Examples: English in Austria or bilingual or multilingual parents or anything which may relate to a social network you might want to join. If at first you don’t find a group, try other words – broaden the search. According to Internet World Statistics, 210 different countries have users on facebook. (Multilingual Living has a Facebook page as well – head over there and check it out!)
This is a wonderful free resource where your children can watch authentic short films in different languages. If you have difficulty accessing videos or television this can be a good option. YouTube is localised in 56 countries and across 61 countries, according to Youtube statistics. This means that there is a good chance that you will find your language here, even if it is a minority language.
Find a radio station from your country on this web site. Listen to locals speak in your language, dialect or accent. This is a hosting site. Although you can listen to the radio stations through this site, this site only provides a link. Once you have found a station you may want to listen through the station’s own original web site (try a search with a search engine to find this). The site advises that some radio stations have a cost for listening to them, but most are free.
Amazon sells books, DVD’s, CD’s, toys, learning resources and almost anything you can think of all around the world. You can even find foods you may have been craving or want to introduce to your children. If you cannot find what you are looking for at one Amazon, go to another (see list at the bottom of the Amazon page). You can buy and complete the process up to the last stage so that you can compare costs when shipping is included. Be careful, some things will not be shipped to certain countries. DVD’s may also have a location code where it can only be played in certain countries. This information will be listed on the page so make sure you check before you buy.
Language Resource Library for Raising Bilingual Kids
Part of the IncultureParent blog site, this is a collection from readers of authentic resources for children in different languages. If you want to know what the popular books for children are, what apps are available, where to find songs or videos, or even know what children are playing in a particular language then this is a good source of information. Fantastic if you have no idea what children are doing in your native country. Only major languages are available at the moment but the author says that others are in progress. Perhaps you want to add information about your language and culture.
This is a collection of traditional short stories for children in 21 different languages to read, download or listen to online. The stories are regularly updated so it is a site to visit often. The languages used on this site represent the main languages spoken by children in the UK, including Javanese, Zulu and Akan.
This is a list of online bilingual and multilingual resources including where to find information, advice and articles about raising children to speak two or more languages and where to find online texts and audio books in different languages.
Or any other search engine. With this you can find information on many topics you are interested in. Find support groups, language resources, blogs which are the experiences of other bilingual parents, bilingual questions and answers or basically any information you are looking for. When looking for information, try putting in different words to bring up a variety of results and make sure to try searches in different languages. Thanks to Google, I was able to find a group of English speakers near where I live, downloadable books in English for my children as well as interactive language games. See what you can find!
Multilingual Living Magazine
But then again you know all about this! If not, then you definitely need to check it out! Although they aren’t publishing it anymore, the back issues are an amazing wealth of information and support for families like ours.
What online resources do you recommend? Share your favorites in the comments below!
Ingrid Weilguny is an Australian living in Austria with her three bilingual German/English girls. She has an MA in Applied Linguistics and an Med in TESOL. She works as an English as a Foreign Language teacher while working on a Masters in Journalism.
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