Posts Tagged bicultural

Too bad 30 years ago

I participated in a twitter chat on Latino Early Childhood with @LatinoUSA and @spanglishbaby to talk #bilingualkids. Most participants, as expected, were bilingual Spanish-English speakers, proud to raise their children in a supporting bilingual environment. They emphasized the advantages of bilingualism: cognitive and socio-emotional skills, tolerance and openness, traditions and family. Plus the obvious: speaking two languages!
I was also happy to read that language use and opportunities to hear and speak Spanish seriously concern parents. They want to make sure they “resist” the period in which their own children appear to prefer English. They shared some nice anecdotes about children changing their minds as they get older, children becoming proud of their bilingualism. One mom said “¡No hay que tirar la toalla!”
Interestingly, one participant sent this tweet:
Curious to hear medical opinions. My cousin was told her son was beginning to stutter speaking both.
9:53 AM – 21 Jan 2015
I was surprised by, first, the desire to hear a medical opinion, and, second, by the hypothesis that bilingualism would cause a speech impairment. Other participants referred to bilingual research in their comments. This participant, however, wanted to hear from a medical doctor. Why would he assume a medical doctor knows more about bilingual development than experts? In addition, I sound naïve, but this is the first time I clearly read a worrisome admonition of bilingualism. I twitted this person to consult with a BILINGUAL speech-language pathologist. He responded the following:
Too bad 30 years ago that was the medical opinion. It was ridiculous.
10:53 AM – 21 Jan 2015
My heart sank. I cannot imagine how his cousin felt when she heard that doctor’s comment. I am so grateful to be part of a community and a profession that is changing, becoming more tolerant, and moving forward.

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Learning a Language Not Spoken by a Community

I was reading today about Irish or Gaelic which is an endangered language (yes, I realize that the story came up because it’s St. Patrick’s day). It struck me that it is a somewhat different bilingual situation from that which we find here in the U.S.– although it might be parallel to taking a foreign language in high school or college. What’s different here is that Irish is required in the Irish school system and that it is Ireland’s official language. Yet, there are fewer and fewer people who speak it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Translation– the other side of the tapestry

That’s what Cervantes is to have have expressed. And I think it provides a nice mental picture of translation.

A recent story in the Mercury News discusses the need for qualified translators in the Los Angeles court system. At the same time a recent blog posted a reaction to another blog soliciting translation of the Mexican firearms statute presumably by untrained translators. Can bilinguals who have no training in translation accurately translate? Does it matter what they’re translating and who will read it? Is translation really that hard? Read the rest of this entry »

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Bicultural Celebrations

We celebrated Christmas with my husband’s family this year which probably makes me yearn to be with my family. I got to reminiscing about the foods that were part of our celebrations growing up. At Christmas we always had tamales, turkey and tamales, ham and tamales– which I see as sort of a blend of cultures. My aunt makes a terrific turkey stuffed with the stuffing for “chiles en nogada.” My mom made a decidedly American cornbread & sausage stuffing. But, of course we always had tamales. At new years buñelos are the tradition (and as soon as I figure out how to insert the tilde in wordpress I will– and I’ll fix my name too–aha!). Anyway, I guess I’m in the food mood and would love to hear about other blended traditions.

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