Bilingualism is Cool

I am not what you would consider a “with it” person. I tend to hop on board trends after they are cool. Several popular TV shows I didn’t even start watching until they had gone off the air. Of course, the benefit of that is there is pretty much nothing better than a bag of Sour Patch Kids and a Prison Break marathon once it’s all on DVD.

Although, I guess I’m betraying that I’m still behind the times because I watch DVDs. These days it’s all about Netflix. I’m feeling pretty good about myself because last month I finally got a smart phone, which is why, if you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’m tweeting a bit more these days.

But when I saw this article, 5 Trends for Teaching Kids Languages, I thought, “This must be what it feels like to be cool.” I mean… cool in a nerdy, linguistic kind of way.

We, of course, have focused on their #4, the One Parent, One Language method. That choice has worked pretty well for us, you know, except that all her “fun” words are in Spanish.

And I appreciated that they mentioned the language delay (see, I had to mention that again), which is why we actually did decide to incorporate some of #3, the sign language. She’s really taken to that communication tool the last several months, which has been awesome and often funny.

She’s figured out her own version of “more” that, instead of touching all her fingers together as shown here, she cocks her head to the sign, brings her hands up by her face, and barely touches only her two index fingers. I’m sure this written description doesn’t capture the hilarious cuteness and by extension, manipulative effect when she’s requesting more of something: watermelon, tortilla chips, swinging, you name it.

I was particularly intrigued by the article’s mention that a growing number of families are deciding to learn even more languages than just two. I recently read this article about schools here in Georgia teaching Mandarin, which is creating a bit of a stir.

Billy would love it if we became a multilingual family. He’s been talking for years about learning Italian. Of course, my response is usually the highly supportive, “No, you cannot learn a third language until I at least learn Spanish.”

Recently, as he was checking out Learning Italian for Dummies from the library, he answered by reminding me that I’ve been saying that for years. “You’re holding me back,” he declared. Nice.

Well, I love language, so I never want to hold anyone back from their multilingual dreams. I guess I better start learning more words than just pompies.

What do you think about these 5 Trends? Have you tried any of them? What has worked well or been challenging for you?


  1. I like to equate her sign for 'more' with the classic E.T. scene!


I love to hear from you! Like, seriously. It makes my day. Please feel free to respond, question, or add your perspective. Of course, please keep your words respectful. Thanks for reading and joining in the conversation!

A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.