maintaining a multilingual environment if we move back to the US

One of the things I appreciate about expatriate life is its cultural exposure, especially in a city like Phnom Penh. The kids are exposed to so many languages on any given day. Contrast this with my early years back home. I only realized after many years in the system that a multilingual upbringing wasn't normal in the US (I went to school in Spanish Harlem). I'm the only one in my family who knew just two languages. That was bad enough - I certainly didn't want my kids limited to English. So we put our little boy in a French immersion program. His teacher is a creative, gentle Frenchwoman. He's been in her class  just four weeks and already he's counting, singing and carrying on conversations in French. Their absorptive capacity at this … [Read more...]

The Mighty Mighty English

Unbeatable. Unstoppable. A most superlative cast of characters is literally a word or two shy of the million word mark. Tres cool tres cool all! Here's some more lingual trivia: There are 6,912 living languages per the language clock on Language Monitor. The top spoken languages, in order, per Info Please : Chinese English Hindustani Spanish Russian Arabic Bengali Portuguese Malay-Indonesian French "According to traditional estimates, neighboring Germany has a vocabulary of about 185,000 and French fewer than 100,000, including such Franglais as as le snacque-barre and le hit-parade." (This site has English at 500,000 official words and another 500,000 uncatalogued.) Words in the Language The lowdown on the … [Read more...]