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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A family vacation, multilingual style. Are you in?


Would your family go on a joined multilingual family adventure? Are you afraid that vacation fun will be lost in translation, if you try to share with other families whose children speak a different language?  Read on, there is something to think about before you plan the summer vacation.

Who does not like summers? A summer beach vacation is one of the greatest experiences for every member of the family.  Parents are more relaxed (if not, getting a drink at the beach bar would really help!) and do not nag the kids. The kids are playing with a sand, water, and do not bother the parents. No one gets bored on the beach!  And this is where I am heading to.
 
Last summer we went on vacation with our English speaking friends. It is an English and German speaking bilingual family that consists of father, mother and two cute girls, who are about our Russian-Italian speaking children's age.  It was interesting to watch how the kids' relationship developed. All children spoke their native languages at first, but then, after realizing that "the message" does not get through, they started explaining themselves in the language their friends would understand. Our kids tried to speak English and the friends' kids - Italian. The sign language  combined with the native language worked well to fill the language knowledge gaps! They had so much fun playing in water , building sand castles and sharing toys.

 The children loved the time they spent together, and now are looking forward to another joined vacation this year.

This kind of multilingual vacation is good because:

- it widens child's horizons. The child learns about other languages and cultures,

- it generates an interest and creates stimulus to learn a new language and to proficient the already acquired ones,

- it develops communication skills.

It is important to make children aware of the existence of other languages not only by talking about them, but also by bring them in direct contact with their speakers. It will help kids later at school to realize why they need to learn all the verb conjugations. Kids always need to be challenged to promote development. In fact our friends' daughter is really eager to learn Italian now. She is only 5 years old and Italian language is already on her to-do list!

If you like beach as a destination for your vacations, another good way to expose you children to other cultures and languages is just by traveling with them to other countries' beaches.  For Portuguese you could go to Brazil (easy to access from the Americas) or Portugal, if you are in Europe. For Spanish - beautiful Mexican, Argentinian and Spanish beaches. For English - Florida, California or Hawaii.  For German - beach of the Northern and Baltic Sea would do a great job. For French - Cote d'Azur, Bay of Biscay, Tahiti. For Italian - hundreds of beautiful Italian beaches and amazing islands.  For Russian - the Baltic and Black seas, for Hebrew - the Red Sea of Israel. For Croatian - Croatia.   For Greek - Greece and hundreds of fantastic Islands.  For Arabic - Egypt's Read sea, Tunisia or Morocco. There are so many countries with beautiful beaches!

Where have you been with your kids around the world?
Our family already visited beautiful beaches of Italy, France and Portugal. Where should we head next?

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2 comments:

  1. North and Baltic Sea in Germany, which are not as cold as my French husband likes to claim (when he tries to get us to go on a French vacation instead).
    My 3-year-old daughter (bilingual German-French) distinguishes between "the sea with waves" (North Sea) and "the sea without waves" (Baltic).
    Our holidays there show our little Parisian that other children speak German, too, and not just French like her classmates.

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