When you're raising your children in your non-native foreign language, it always helps to have some support from others who are in the same boat. I have two such friends.
The first is Renee Johnson. We met in college where we were both in grad school together, studying linguistics. Our husbands had both served LDS missions in France and knew each other from their mission days. I was taking linguistic classes with Renee when I first came up with the crazy idea of speaking German to my future children. She loved the idea and was a great support in helping me to think through the logistics. She and her husband also decided to raise their children in a foreign language: French. We have stayed in contact over the years. We published and maintained a popular website dedicated to non-native bilingual parenting for a number of years. I have always been very impressed with Renee's dedication to her children's bilingual education. She is a phenomenal person.
Click below to see Renee's story
The Johnson Family Bilingual Adventure
The second is Kristine Larson. We also met in college, where she was in one of my German classes. As a graduate student, I taught quite a few lower-level German classes. Anyways, fast forward a few years, and Kristine and her husband moved into our neighborhood. I went over to their house to welcome them (not knowing who they were) and when Kristine answered the door, she exclaimed "Frau Shurts!" What a small world. The reason Kristine's bilingual parenting story is SO amazing is because decided to raise her children FRENCH speaking (much to my dismay as her German teacher) even though she hadn't ever studied French. Her husband had served a French speaking mission (2 years) and she decided that they would raise their children French speaking...and the fact that she didn't know French didn't even deter her. She really put her heart and soul into her bilingual parenting efforts.
Click below to see Kristine's story:
The Larson Bilingual Adventure
If you are raising your children in your non-native foreign language, PLEASE take the survey. Click on the top right tab. Thank you!!
Bilingual Baby Dream Team
Going on 20+ years of raising our bilingual babies...
I'm so grateful for a sweet husband who was willing to give this whole experiment a try and and that he was willing to speak German to our kids, even though his German exposure had been limited to a few semesters of college German. It's been one of the most fun and rewarding things we've done. The fact that our family speaks German has given us our own identity and helps the kids feel like they are a part of something special. And anything that helps your family feel special and connected is a good thing.