1. this article reminds me of a joke.
    a teacher gave words to students and asked them to make sentences containing the words. one child asked the teacher “what does frugal mean?”
    the teacher thought for a while and answered “it means to save.”
    the student wrote this sentence: “the fireman went up the building and frugalled the child.”
    that joke made me thank god that i was lucky enough to know two languages. how easy it is to learn anything new, when u can use resources from multiple sources.

  2. Sewa, When I read your comment, I thought, wow. You sound like you are more informed on issues about language (learning, translation, use) than a lot of “language scholars” themselves. Your example is so powerful, so relevant. It made me think about monolingual dictionaries: just try to look up defining words and you’ll soon end up in a terrible maze. While there is a concept called “ladder of abstraction” which is used for defining more abstract words with more concrete ones, knowing multiple language provides an extra repertoire of resource for understanding and learning things. And that’s only one benefit.

  3. Loved this blog, I knew that kids can be fine when they are exposed to several languages but my husband refused to believe me and spoke english only with kids. After talking to you last spring he came to his senses and now my son speaks very good nepali . Some major words are still new to him, one day he fell from the stairs and I told him” khuching paryo, naufri bhanya hoena” and he was like ” what do you mean my nafri and khuching” my mom nearly fainted laughing ..

  4. Srijana, Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that another parent found the ideas useful. Yes, there are a thousand reasons to learn/teach English–and I wouldn’t give my whole damn life to it if I didn’t think so–but if anyone convinces me with ONE good reason to teach/learn English ONLY, I will leave this job the next day 🙂

  5. Very interesting reflection. My experience of English/French home language use (mother French myself English) and of other families is that it is impossible to generalise and that much depends on relationships and identifications with parents and then with peer groups outside of the home. School ‘language classes’ have been often disastrous for my children as for many. Clearly because teachers of most ‘language classes’ have virtually no desire to understand how anybody learns a language. They just want to do a job and be well marked by their inspector.

    My impression is that knowing different languages expand our palettes of expression and rhythms – our music. I have now spent half my life in France and I spent half my life in the UK. I am neither here nor there and I don’t care.

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