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About This Blog

This blog is for anyone interested in raising their children in a foreign language--meaning a language which neither of the parents speak natively.
We have used the approach where both parents speak the target foreign language (in our case, German) to the children. Neither of us is a native German speaker, yet we have spoken German in our home for the past 20 years and have 8 German speaking children. In this blog, we hope to share our successes, our lessons learned and a few of the insights that we've gained along the way.

20+ Years and Counting

It's time! I've been wanting to start this blog (or something like it) for over 20 years now. Actually, the initial  idea was to write a book. I started the book several times over the years, but each time it would get pushed aside as I worked on much more important things: like being an active mom and running a household.  I've dabbled in websites and actually authored a quite a popular website for a number of years. In fact, at the time (mid 1990's), if you searched for non-native bilingual parenting, my page was the first one to show up. It had over 130,000 hits---which was a lot back in the 90's.

I collected tons of data from other parents who spoke a non-native language to their children, hoping to someday use it as research in a book. But sadly, that research sits in a file on my computer. I just did not have the know-how nor the time to properly maintain a website.

So, here I am, finally starting my non-native bilingual parenting blog--20+ years later. Why a blog? Well, because I hope I can be some help to anyone else starting on this adventure. I have seen the results of our bilingual child-rearing methods. I have college kids, teenagers, elementary aged kids, and preschoolers. Each of my kids has his or her own bilingual journey (each of which I would like to cover in this blog). I've seen what works and what doesn't work. And besides just wanting to share my ideas with others, I simply would like to have a record of our bilingual adventure for myself.  So a blog seems like the logical choice. Happy reading!!


yra said...

Thank you for this blog! I am a student at BYU studying German Teaching as well as you did. I am marrying a German in May and from then until the unforeseeable future shows us living in Germany. We want to raise our children bilingual (English and German), and so I'm doing bits of research into what all the different possibilities are. Now our situation is different. We have a native German speaker and a native English speaker. But I would like to know what you think about that.
Until then, I'll keep researching and reading your blog!

Ary Petersen

Nina Shurts said...

Congrats on your upcoming wedding in May. How exciting to be settling in Germany! What an ideal situation in which to raise bilingual children. So, you basically have two options: ML@H or OPOL (Minority Language at Home or One Parent One Language). I would make my decision based where you see yourself settling long-term. I think the OPOL (One parent One Language) with each of you speaking your native language, would work better if you ended up coming back to the states, because then your bilingual household travels with you…and if your husband is in the habit of always speaking German to your children, then they will continue to hear German at home, even if you’re living in the states. If you moved back, you could always try to switch your “mom language” from English to German, but let me tell you…it is very hard to switch a language later on. However, if you think you’ll be staying in Germany, I might suggest ML@H, where both you and your husband speak only English at home. That way, you have more support to keep the kids’ English alive and well, even as they enter their teenage years and are more influenced by their peers and their environment. When we were growing up in Germany, my parents spoke only English at home. My mother also “homeschooled” us with English lessons after we got home from (German) school. When we moved back to the states, my parents tried to get us all to start speaking German to each other, but it just didn’t work. It is very hard to get teenagers to switch languages.

Anyways, good luck!! Sounds like you’re about to start a wonderful adventure!!


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