Multilingual Living Newsletter – November 14

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Multilingual Living
November 14, 2011
Dear Multilingual Living Friends,

Thanksgiving is just around the corner for those of us living (or raised) in the United States. It is a unique holiday in part because of its conglomeration of so many different traditions. Is it to commemorate a meal that the first pilgrims had with the Native Americans? Or maybe it has its roots in early pagan rituals as a way to give thanks for the summer’s bounty? For many it is simply a wonderful opportunity to get together and experience the beauty of family and community.How we celebrate this holiday is varied. I once worked with a man whose family would invite a homeless person each year to have Thanksgiving dinner with them in their home. I know another family who gets together with relatives to spend the day snacking on chocolate, potato chips and soda – the men watch sports on TV and the women make the Turkey dinner. Others I know volunteer time and food to local homeless shelters to ensure that those less fortunate have a full belly and a warm, safe place to sleep.

Being that Thanksgiving means something different for each family, it is hard to pin-point traditional elements that set it apart from other holidays. My mother used to call it “turkey day” because of the main culinary attraction. But what about families who are vegetarian? I doubt a giant, golden-browned bird is the crowing glory on their table.

Regardless of how we celebrate, what underlies this holiday is a sense of appreciation. It is the opportunity to focus on how bountiful our lives really are. To have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and running water in our homes is something for which each of us should be truly thankful. We are lucky that our summer harvest is not all we will have to depend upon for the rest of the winter.

In my home, we talk a lot about the role that immigration has played in the development of the United States as we know it: both good and bad. What made people leave their homes to risk death to cross a wild ocean? How do immigrants influence the places that they then inhabit? To what degree are we all immigrants, even in our own countries, moving from city to city and state to state?

As we know, an immigrant is not always the stereotypical image that the media portrays. We are all immigrants to one degree or another: some more recent, others generations past. Those who responded to the question “Are you an immigrant? Where do you live?” on the Multilingual Living Facebook wall remind us that the faces of immigration are vibrant and active. Immigrants bring the spice and flavor to today’s global communities!

Throughout history we find that the actual movement of people is rarely the real problem. It is the process of assimilation that creates fear, anger and frustration. It is the arrival of new traditions and ways of life that confuse us, worry us, and cause us to put up walls of resistance. Being that humans like to classify, we have become very efficient in putting one another into little boxes in our minds and identifying the many ways that we are different from one another. Ironically, as indicated in the post Immigration and Language, by Bettina Ribes-Gil, immigrants may be the ones to thank for ultimately bringing us together globally. It is difficult to despise people from another country when a respected coworker or friend is from that country (and vice versa).

This Thanksgiving, take a moment to give thanks to immigrants everywhere for forcing our world to learn to deal with “the other.” For those of us who are recent immigrants ourselves, we can let everyone know how thankful we are to be able to change the world for the better just by being who we are.

Many Multilingual Wishes,

Corey Heller
Founder, Multilingual Living

P.S. Keep your eyes open for a post I have written for the Language Lizard blog about Immigration and Thanksgiving (included are tips for how to talk about this holiday with children).

Blame the Daycare Lady!

This week I shared a few older posts with Multilingual Living friends on Facebook and Twitter. Here is one post that reminds us to focus on the positives in our multilingual parenting journey rather than the many negatives that will always crop up:

The Benefits of Multilingualism

This tried and true article got a lot of attention this week. It is packed with a multitude of referenced benefits that multilingualism brings (and not just for babies brains!): 

 Home Biliteracy is Possible!

Multilingual Living has been reporting on the many joys of bilingual homeschooling for many years now – before most even knew it existed! Bilingual homeschooling isn’t always the right option for families but for many it brings great satisfaction and (…drum roll…) stronger bilingualism in the family!

Here is a fantastic article from a fellow bilingual homeschooling mother, Maria, who quit her teaching job to homeschool her children full-time. She shares with us tips on how to bring biliteracy into our homes, whether we homeschool full-time or not!:

12 Common Myths and Misconceptions

For those of you who are new to the Multilingual Living email list, you won’t want to miss a fantastic infographic that we put together from bilingual expert Barbara Zurer Pearson:


Latest Forum Discussions…

Here are just a few of the latest discussions taking place on the Multilingual Living Forum:

What Is Your Sun and Moon?

While learning German I found it fascinating that the genders for the sun and moon were different from other languages I knew (including English which doesn’t have genders but clearly personifies the sun as masculine and the moon as feminine).

Last week I asked Multilingual Living Facebook friends to answer the question:

The answers were AMAZING to say the least! Please go check out the answers as well as the linguistic discussions that ensued.

While there, please make sure to click on the LIKE button to let us know that you like what is going on at the Multilingual Living Facebook page!


Read & Write in More Than One Orthography!

Did you miss this article last month? If so, check it out now before it gets lost in the shuffle of posts!

Prof. Xiao-lei Wang shares this exclusive Multilingual Living article about how parents can help their children learn to read and write in more than one orthography! It is fantastic!

Teaching Children to Read and Write in More Than One Orthography: Tips for Parents

Bilingual Siblings Matter!

We are delighted to bring you a new set of excerpts, this time from the fantastic book Bilingual Siblings: Language Use in Families, by Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert. We often forget the important role that siblings play in our family’s bilingual adventure! Suzanne gives us insights into this barely researched area of bilingualism!

If you have more than one child, you won’t want to miss these posts. They will be appearing over the course of the next few weeks. The first post is already available:

Immigration and Language

Rather than blaming a country’s ills on immigrants, maybe we should be thanking them for forcing us to learn to integrate and come to terms with our fears? Read this wonderful article by Bettina Ribes-Gil and let us know what you think:


Struggling in a Non-Native Language?

Raising our children multilingually can be tough, especially if we are doing it in a non-native language. Read one reader’s plea for support and suggestions in our latest Ask Madalena post:


Does the Personality of Multilinguals Change?

Would you say that your personality changes when you use each language? Or is it more the environment and the people with whom you are speaking that influences how you feel when using a given language? Prof. Grosjean shares a wonderful article all about this fascinating topic:


Where Did You Meet?

Where in the world do international couples find each other? Hear what Multilingual Living Facebook friends had to say to the question:

We’d love to have you as part of the Multilingual Living Facebook family – just click on the LIKE button and you will be set!

Support Multilingual Living!

Want to read articles from the top experts in the field of bilingualism while supporting Multilingual Living? Then get your hands on the back issues of Multilingual Living Magazine! You will find more than answers in these amazing issues!

Here are just a few of the experts wrote for Multilingual Living Magazine: Colin Baker, François Grosjean, Jean-Marc Dewaele, Fred Genesee, Madalena Cruz-Ferreira, Jasone Cenoz, Aneta Pavlenko, Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert, Xiao-lei Wang, Barbara Zurer, Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, and many, many more!

Come find us where we hang out:


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