Earlier this month, Newsweek published “Why It’s Smart to be Bilingual” about the growing trend of bilingual education in America and its positive effects on early brain development, not to mention giving an edge in college admissions and job prospects. I read the article via the Living Language Facebook page and sighed.
My mom and dad, whose first languages were Visayan and Tagalog respectively, learned English alongside social studies and multiplication tables in grammar school in the Philippines. My father has excellent grammar and always finds ways to correct mine.
While my parents were once considered “off the boat,” they missed the boat when it came to teaching their native tongue to my sister and me here in the U.S. (To be fair, I did take Spanish lessons as a toddler when we lived in Pasadena that I only vaguely remember.) After years of eavesdropping on my mom’s phone calls and listening intently at the holiday dinner table, I can make sense of what’s going on, but I’m far from fluent. So for my next family visit, I’m preparing with Living Language’s Tagalog download. Mabuhay!
What languages did you wish you learned as a child? Will you learn it now?
My monolingual childhood. A trip to D.C. with my older cousins.