Pin It
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Raising Bilingual Children in Non-Native Language: Tools for Parents

By

So your kids have a ton of target language DVDs, books, websites and toys to fast-track their bilingualism, but what about you, the parent? If the target language isn’t your native one, you’ll be wanting to maintain and improve it any chance you get. But as we all know, being a parent doesn’t give you the luxury of long stretches of free time for language-learning! The best way to keep up your language skills is to work it into your day-to-day life. You can’t beat simply talking to friends, colleagues or tutors in the target language, but when that is an impossibility, or just not enough exposure for you, you’ll need to turn to other methods!

As a new iPhone user, I’m loving some of the French apps on there. ‘French Word A Day’ can’t compete with the unconnected and very wonderful website of the same name (http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/motdujour), but it is useful for those ‘bus-stop’ moments to grab a new or even a familiar word on the run, with a phrase to put it in context. Learning the odd, extra bit of vocab like this can connect you to the moment you learnt it, as it’s so specific – Oh yeah, I remember that word, I discovered it en route to my Aunt’s house!

Another great app is the French gender one – it gives you all the major gender rules for nouns and then sets you quizzes. Again, quick and simple, you can learn on the run (as I usually am). Then there’s ‘TuneIn Radio’ that brings you radio stations in almost any language you can think of. There are many French talk stations, so it’s great for listening in the gym, or as you get ready for the shower, etc.

Of course you don’t need an iPhone, as any smartphone will give you access to some great language-learning tools. And if you don’t have a smartphone? There’s lots to rely on elsewhere, starting with that old-fashioned technology: books!

If I’m reading a book in a non-native language it has to be a real page-turner, which is why I was so chuffed to discover Guillaume Musso (http://www.guillaumemusso.com) – the French equivalent of John Grisham. He uses very simple vocab, so there’s less time running to the dictionary, and his stories hook you straight in, so you’re prepared to put up with the extra effort to find out what happens next. I found his first book while on holiday in France, and I’m now on my third, which I bought yesterday from one of the three French bookshops in South Kensington. When I read in French I always keep a pen handy to underline all the unfamiliar words, then look them up en masse later on.

If French is your target language, you are going to be spoilt for good films, with all the gems of French cinema to discover. And it’s not just art house – the new romcom ‘Heartbreaker’ is being called the most accessible French film yet! Great for filling in gaps in your vocab and keeping up-to-date with current ‘argot.’
I love surfing the net, but haven’t yet found a French website to fall in love with, either for chatting or grammar refreshers.

© 2010 – 2013, Omma Velada. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Overheard on the Beijing Subway When People Don't Think I Speak Mandarin

The awesome stuff I overhear like what these two Chinese women think of foreigners.

The West's Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep

How the West sleeps is different from the rest

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Omma and her husband are raising their two children, Schmoo and Pan-Pan, trilingually in the UK with English (native), Twi (late start) and French (non-native). She blogs on raising trilingual children at bilingualbabes.blogspot.co.uk

Leave us a comment!

3 Comments
  1. CommentsTweets that mention Raising Bilingual Children in Non-Native Language: Tools for Parents | InCultureParent -- Topsy.com   |  Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 2:17 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ayesha rashid, InCultureParent. InCultureParent said: Tools for parents raising children in a non-native language| InCultureParent http://j.mp/eB2jdT […]

  2. CommentsJim Bob Howard, Homeschooling Today – Homeschool Super Heroes | Home Schooling   |  Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 3:04 pm

    […] Raising Bilingual Children in Non-Native Language: Tools for … […]

  3. CommentsKristin Espinasse   |  Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Chère Omma,

    Thank you very much for mentioning French Word-A-Day. And merci beaucoup for the wonderful language tips (if I ever get an smartphone I’ll check out the gender app! I still can’t get all the le and las straight).

    Bonnes Fêtes to you and your family.
    Amicalement,
    Kristin









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
Unfortunately, the school and community are no longer there. The farm is being sold and there are tentative plans for a new iteration to be set up in Costa Ric...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
HI! I love your website! Just read your review of books that teach about culture and food! I can't wait to try some of the recipes you've share...
From Armenian Recipe: Apricot Tart
Please, refrain from using "western /western society" for anglosaxon countries. Western can be Mexico and Spain as well, anything on the west side of the world is western ...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
We've tried to make use of, but It doesn't works by any mean...
From African Parenting: The Sane Way to Raise Children
I'm back. Sorry, I stopped caring for this magazine for a while and forgot to discuss the meat of the matter. This article, as well as the linked article from 2011, fails to discuss cultural norms ...
From What Confused Me Most about Brits
Fascinating. I have been to Germany and met this guy who was soo rude! This article explains everything!! Since all Germans are so terribly rude it should come as no surprise that I should have met ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@ Josep. How could you possibly comment on how Germans treat people if you have never even been there? A three-day stay in Berlin and a one day stop-over in Frankfurt was enough for me to see the ut...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I am trying to find a Sikh triangular Nishan Sahib flag and haven't found one. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag
I have tried to buy a Sikh triagular Nishan Sahib flag and had no luck. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag

More Raising Bilingual Children