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Should we speak more than one language to our child?

Should we speak more than one language to our child?

Should we speak more than one language to our child?

If you speak more than one language at home, you might be wondering how and when to introduce them to your child. Myths are widespread, so it is important to distinguish myths from facts.

One of the most common myths is that children who hear more than one language get confused. Another is that those children start speaking later or have language problems. 

The truth is that children who speak two languages are more common than children who just speak one language, and babies are born ready to learn any language they hear in their environment. 

Should we speak more than one language to our child?

So, what’s the best way to get started? Talk to your baby in the language you are most comfortable speaking as soon as the baby is born. Make language part of your daily routine, and immerse your child in the language as much as possible, through play, chatting, and having fun. When the use of the language is spontaneous and enjoyable from the start, children will see it as a normal part of their life.

Some children might become more comfortable using the language of the majority, but don’t worry, with patience and additional doses of language immersion your child will continue to acquire the language, even if they don’t use it consistently. 

A question I get a lot is whether parents should force children to stick to one language, or pretend they don’t understand or refuse to talk back to the child unless the communication is happening in the home language. Most children will see this as a rejection, and won’t like this approach. When children are younger, you can encourage them to use your language by rephrasing what they have said or by playing games where you both have to take turns in talking or asking questions. 

When they’re older, you can explain the importance of being bilingual and why it matters to you, and why it will be an advantage in the years to come.

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il gatto frncisco

Quarantined Stories

Quarantined Stories

LOGBOOK by Simona Roveda, with Asia&Isabella

Simona Roveda is an Italian artist (performer, director and facilitator).
In Italy she collaborated with the company “Teatro d’Arte” and with the “Centro Sperimentale Danza Teatro” in Treviso. After graduating in the performing arts (DAMS Teatro) at the University of Bologna (Italy), she moved to Dublin, dedicating herself to children’s theater.
She has collaborated with the Italian Cultural Institute, creating theater shows for children and with the Draiocht Theatre in Dublin in projects for communities (Hallelujah Clown Choir, Home Theater, My Place My Story). Simona studied the art of the Clown with director Veronica Coburn and actress Ruth Lehane in Dublin. Her research into the Clown continues with the Teatro C’Art in Florence (Italy) with the director André Casaca. Simona was co-founder of “Littlebellybuttons” Puppets Company.

During the quarantine time, I decided to keep alive the theatre group of children in Italian language.

We were a very small group but very enthusiastic to see each other, so I decided to go ahead and I made 6 Zoom meetings of 30min each. The aim was to meet in the digital way and see if I could stimulate their creativity and keep the sense of the group…It was a big challenge!

We met inside the rooms of our house and we shared the things we love more: “Francisco the cat and his miraculous jump from the 3rd floor, and the giant dog Delta who walks without a finger.” They became the protagonists of our stories!

I used some theatre games for stimulating their attention…we looked at each other in the eye of our camera and heard with ears tense, we took the other’s movements and we passed them each other. To build the story we used some objects we had at home…We found some memories inside a jewellery box and it came out the granny’s red pearl necklace, a crucifix and a snake in the chicken coop who struggles to eat the eggs.

From all of these the little story of “Francisco the cat” came out…and you can read it below in Italian!

Simona Roveda

il gatto frncisco

“Il gatto Francisco”: Il gatto Francisco alla finestra guardava giu’, quando decise di saltare per prendersi una boccata d’aria. Sembrava volasse ma cadde in un cespuglio e continuo’ ad andare sempre piu’ giu’ fino a ritrovarsi da un’altra parte…era arrivato a casa di nonna Brigid! Nonna Brigid ha una scatola porta gioie dove tiene le sue collane…quella con un crocifisso d’oro e quella con le perle rosse, che é speciale…quando la usa la tiene tra le mani, si siede, chiude gli occhi e perla dopo perla la gira tutta finch’é finisce la preghiera. Francisco pero’ va nel pollaio, ma invece delle galline trova un serpente che vuole mangiarsi le loro uova! Francisco vuole salvare le uova e cosi’ si batte con il serpente…é una lotta con le unghie, la coda e la lingua…e alla fine vince Francisco che leccandosi le zampine si addormenta sopra il fienile.”

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Medical advice on Covid19 in 30 languages launched in Ireland today

Together Ireland initiative has launched a new Public Information service for migrants in partnership with Nasc – Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre. Its called the Covid19 World Service.

 Over 20 doctors who have recorded scripted Public Health videos in over 30 different languages about Covid19 – everything from Kurdish to Polish, Portuguese to Urdu and Yoruba to Macedonian. They will be available on nascireland.org and can be shared with migrants via WhatsApp and social media. They will be a valuable resource for GPs, teachers and anyone working with and supporting migrants.

poetry competition

Filí Óga Uaillmhianacha Uile Atá Uainn!

Comórtas Filíochta Mother Tongues
Filí Óga Uaillmhianacha Uile Atá Uainn!

An maith leat prós a chumadh, rím a dhéanamh, nó comhrá a chruthú i rannta?
Más maith, scríobh isteach chugainn óir seo í an deis is fearr duitse!

poetry competition

Tá sceitimíní ar Mother Tongues Comórtas Filíochta 2020 a fhógairt i gcomhar le Déanann Teangacha Nasc agus le hÉigse Éireann, comórtas a dhéanann cumhacht na filíochta agus an ilteangachais a cheiliúradh. Tá ríméad orainn gurb iad Felicia Olusanya agus Marluce Lima moltóirí na bliana seo.
Tá cuireadh á thabhairt againn d’fhilí óga uaillmhianacha idir aois 8 – 18 chun scéal maidir le “Teanga agus Féiniúlacht” a insint tríd an bhfilíocht i mbliana.

Is féidir dánta a scríobh i do rogha theanga féin agus ní mór iad a sheoladh chugainn roimh 27 Eanáir 2020 tríd an bhfoirm seo ar shuíomh Fhéile na Máthairtheangacha. Más mian leat iontráil a dhéanamh i dTeanga Chomharthaíochta na hÉireann nó na Breataine, ní mór duit an fhoirm chéanna a chomhlíonadh mar aon le físeán (móide téacs an dáin sa réimse don teachtaireacht faoi Message field) a sheoladh trí Wetransfer chuig francesca@mothertongues.ie.
Foilseofar an dán leis an té a bhuann ar shuíomh Fhéile na Máthairtheangacha agus beidh duaiseanna ag dul don bhuaiteoir ámharach freisin, ina measc dearbhán leabhar ar luach €100, ticéid chuig Féile na Máthairtheangacha 2020, agus rogha leabhar ó Éigse Éireann.
Déan cinnte le do thoil go mbreathnaíonn tú ar gach ceann de na treoirlínte agus de na Téarmaí & Coinníollacha sula gcuireann tú do shaothar chugainn.

Bain sult as an gcumadóireacht!

 

mt_stories

“To have another language is to have another soul”

Languages are the key to a better understanding of Cultures or at least, that is how I see it. The language we speak shapes our ideas, and therefore learning another language provides us with a wider vision of the world. As Charlemagne said: “To have another language is to have another soul”, which I, as a language (Hindi, Irish and Welsh) learner, think is very true.

I am a 37-year-old daughter of a French mother and a Spanish father, but born in Colombia, so I have grown up in a bilingual environment. I have always felt it was enriching to have two cultures. As a teenager, I was in an International secondary school where I was rubbing shoulders with more than 70 nationalities (some of my school mates were children of Diplomats as the school was at the border with Switzerland, 10 minutes from Geneva).

ireland

When I was 14 years old, my parents sent me to Galway, Ireland for a linguistic holiday. I fell in love with Ireland: its Culture, its people, its music… That experience has changed my whole life. The following year, I was in Gorey, County Wexford, and my love for this country deepened. That is when I promised myself to finish my studies and go and live in Ireland. And that is what I have done at 23, when I left everything behind to realize my Irish dream.

indiaAfter 2 years, I left to go volunteering in India, and after my project, I came back to France and found a job in Switzerland.
During these years, I have missed Ireland so much, there was not a single day I was not thinking about the Emerald Isle. In that period I joined an Irish dancing group (Set dancing) in Geneva (Switzerland), started Irish Tap Dancing classes in another school, and became a Committee member of the Geneva Irish Association. That was my own little way to cope with the need to be in Ireland…even though I was going there every single month.

At that time I have also decided to stop postponing a project I had: learning Irish. There was no class in France or Switzerland, so I have booked a course in a school in Donegal (Glencolmcille). To start with, I wanted to understand the place names, as I knew they were very descriptive, and had very often a wonderful meaning, as Gaeilge.

Immersed in the Gaeltacht, there could not have been a more Irish place for me! I was in heaven! The school was surrounded by beauty; we had classes for 4 hours in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, and at the breaks, we were all trying to say things we had learnt in our new language, being able to use the few words to practice immediately after the class with the locals. There is a book shop inside the school and the staff was speaking to us in Irish for our benefit. It makes Irish such a living language, whereas in Dublin we don’t hear it much spoken. At night, there were sessions of Irish dancing or Irish singing.

People were from all backgrounds, Irish people who started it, Irish people who had wanted to forget about that “school subject” for years and now wanted to get back to it or giving it another go; people who had Irish and who wanted to improve, or people who were fluent but just wanted to put their language to use. I remember that man, Declan, who lived in Singapour with his family and had come back for the class, in order not to lose his “heritage”.
I have loved this course so much that I went back the year after and the two following years, where I have seen again some people, all so welcoming. It was like a catch up between old friends, and that is what feels so good in Ireland.

One day I heard about Irish classes in Geneva. My colleague Cormac’s girlfriend had arrived from Inis Meáin to Geneva and was prepared to give free Gaeilge classes in the basement of an Irish pub, which of course I was the first to join!
Aoife was a brilliant teacher, she made some grammar rules look simple, we could practice Irish every week in the class (when you do not live in the country it is difficult to find someone to practice), and she was telling us about the life on Inis Meáin!

Now I am finally back to Ireland, I attended a class at Gael Linn last year, and even dragged my partner along.
He always said he was not good at languages but gave it a try. Verdict? He absolutely loved it. He is Welsh and enjoyed discovering the similarities and differences with the Welsh language.

When the classes finished, I have bought the program “Rosetta Stone-Irish” and now I try to practice a little every day. But between a really busy job and the fact that I am also learning other languages, it is sometimes difficult to find the time.
However, I try to keep in touch with the language because I still feel it is a wonderful one and by learning it I feel I am doing my part.
Let’s not forget Irish people were forbidden to speak their own language for 700 years. Now we have the right, let’s use it and be grateful for it!

As I said, my partner is Welsh and we had been on a road trip to Wales recently. As I love Celtic countries, I had obviously fallen for Welsh culture too.
My partner was teaching me a few words and I enjoyed reading the signs of place names (once again) and understanding the meaning.
I had joined the Welsh society and saw some Welsh classes advertised. My partner has a little bit of the language but is not fluent.

welsh

So I thought it would be good to start classes together: for him to have stronger feeling of Welsh identity – because I feel the language is definitely a plus in order to feel part of a place – and for me, because I wanted to discover the language which is my mother-in-law’s mother tongue and my sisters-in-law are totally bilingual too.
That was something we could share, practice together. It felt like a totally new adventure and I enjoyed every second of it.

Sometimes I finish work, feel exhausted before going to a language class, but in the end, I always feel much better after the class… energized.
So I definitely think learning languages is good for your health!

Author: Laura Abecasis


We are looking for more stories! Would you like to share yours? Send an email to info@mothertongues.ie and we will get in touch soon!

mother tongues

Mother Tongues Storytelling week

Storytelling is a great way to promote languages and this year Mother Tongues has been involved in a number of initiatives promoting the use of heritage languages through storytelling.
Our first multilingual storytelling session took place in the Gutter Bookshop on Culture Night in September 2018. Throughout the year we have been developing our Language Adventures initiative, with monthly family storytelling and craft sessions in Dolphin’s Barn Library. This year we have also been collaborating with Chester Beatty Library offering storytelling for families in different languages in the beautiful surroundings of this amazing museum.

This week we are celebrating all these initiatives with three special events, all free and suitable for all language abilities!

Lithuanian folk talesThe queen of serpents and other Lithuanian stories
22nd May at 10.30, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin 2
Join Eglé and her bridegroom, Žilvinas – the Serpent Prince, and learn about their life together as the rulers of the sea snakes.

Find out more

Language adventures, Raising bilingual children, Mother Tongues, multilingualism, bilingualism, DublinLanguage Adventures in French
25th May at 10.30 Dolphin’s Barn Library, Dublin 12
«Il était une fois…» Here’s how many stories begin in French. Come along and meet author Juliette Saumande in Dolphin’s Barn Library for an hour of stories and songs in French. We’ll even make our own books at the end. Free and open to all.
Find out more

literature_festivalStories from around the world at International Literature Festival Dublin
26th May at 11 and at 12, St Patrick’s Park, Dublin 8
Come and learn new stories from around the world. Storytellers will be reading and telling stories in Arabic, Chinese, Albanian, Portuguese, Italian, French, and more! Suitable for all ages.
Find out more

We hope you can join us in this multilingual celebration!
If you would like to organise similar sessions in your local library, do get in touch!

Mother Tpngues storytelling

Mother Tongues Storytelling projects

Over the last 12 months, we have been working with Chester Beatty Library and Dolphin’s Barn Library on two family storytelling projects. We have experimented both with bilingual storytelling, where every child can join in and try to engage with a dual language story and with single language storytelling, where facilitators and parents only read in the children’s heritage language.
This was a fantastic experience for children who hear their heritage language only spoken at home, as it showed children that libraries and other public places welcome their language and heritage, and storytelling in the heritage language can be a fun community activity.
Language adventures, Raising bilingual children, Mother Tongues, multilingualism, bilingualism, DublinOur multilingual storytelling project Language Adventures started at Dolphins Barn Library with a series of six mornings in which Italian speaking mothers and fathers read and told stories to their children.
The atmosphere was great, and the children enjoyed the unfamiliar experience of reading in Italian in a public space.
Each session also included arts and craft activities which allowed parents to get to chat with one another and make new friends.
Both Claudia from Mother Tongues and Beata, head librarian at Dolphin’s Barn library were extremely enthusiastic and pleased with the outcomes of the first few meetings, so we planned a multilingual storytelling series, including Polish, German, Chinese and Lithuanian. Each session was quite unique, and we allowed families to choose their style of facilitation.
For Polish storytelling, we gathered a fantastic group of Polish parents who read famous stories from their home country and created beautiful bear masks. The German storytelling turned out to be a toddler book reading and parents had the opportunity to meet other parents and to ask questions about bilingualism.

In February we were delighted to host Evan Furlong, director of the Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese, who told children and parents how the 12 animals of Chinese Zodiac were chosen and ranked. This storytelling was bilingual, which meant that stories were told in both Chinese and English.
The following month we hosted the Lithuanian Saturday School. They read the story of the fox and the bear explaining why the fox is considered the smartest animal in the forest and the bear’s tail is so short. We were amazed at the children’s incredible reading skills in their heritage language and this special event was made even more special thanks to the visit of Virginija Umbrasiene of the Lithuanian Embassy. You could definitely see that the children were proud and happy to be able to speak Lithuanian.

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Our next events at Dolphins Barn Library will be in Greek and French. The Greek storytelling is organised in collaboration with the Hellenic Community of Ireland School and it will take place on 27th April at 10.30. This event will allow everyone to get a glimpse into Greek language and culture, and it will be held in Greek and English. On 25th May you will meet author Juliette Saumande for an hour of stories and songs in French. We will even make our own books at the end.
In collaboration with the Chester Beatty Library, we organised more multilingual storytelling sessions in Chinese, Greek, Lithuanian and Japanese. These events are held bilingually – English and the corresponding language. The first two were well attended and much appreciated by the public.
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