Marhaba! Arabic is my mother tongue!

Marhaba! Arabic is my mother tongue!

More and more children all over the world are growing up speaking two or more languages, and of the 300 million Arabic speakers across the world, many are bilingual or multilingual.

mother tongues

Being bilingual has incredible advantages for children, and speaking a language like Arabic gives your child access to a rich language and a deeper understanding of many cultures, because if you speak Arabic you can converse with people from more than 20 different countries! Arabic is the official language in Lybia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan just to name a few.

In this fun podcast we produced with RTE’ Junior you can hear an inspiring trilingual family talking about their languages…and food, of course! Sarah’s family loves food and the fusion of sounds and flavours make this podcast really unique!

If you are an Arabic speaker living abroad and want your child to learn and use Arabic with you, here are some tips:

start as early as possible: speak Arabic to your baby from birth, or as early as possible. You can use music as songs, as recommended in this post.

make it part of your routines: use Arabic regularly in your routines, from preparing breakfast, to walking to the park, to bed-time routines. Playing can be fun, too, so check out this list of simple ideas for older children. Here you find videos in Arabic on how to support your child’s language and literacy, numeracy and creativity by using your mother tongue!

make a plan: plan games and activities to do together in Arabic. Here are some fun ideas you can try!

identify resources: find books, games and other resources that can help you along the way. IBBY have compiled a wonderful list of books in Arabic.

find someone to help you: it is important for children to see that there are other families who speak Arabic in their environment. Find or create a parent and toddler group in your area or arrange meetings with other families who speak Arabic. For older children, try to find a language class so your child can experience the language and the culture also outside the home.

– Praise your child’s success: when your child says a new word, when they talk to you in Arabic, or when they learn to read, don’t focus on the errors but praise their efforts and show them how much you enjoy speaking Arabic to them.    

Want more? Check out our resources below!

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