MotherTongues: Wear Words, Celebrate Cultures

about words, languages, cultures, travel

Multicultural Kid Blogs Travel Telephone February 17, 2014

Filed under: Culture,Travel — Michelle @ 10:01 am
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Welcome to the Multicultural Kid Blogs Travel Telephone. We’re asking each other questions about traveling with our kids – one of my favorite things to do!

I’m in between Leanna from All Done Monkey, who is asking me a question, and Ashley from Family on the Loose, who is answering my question.

So enjoy our circular ride!

A photo from our fun travel detour, of the girls with our local guide on the Mayan ruins:

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10 untranslatable words about food and eating January 28, 2014

Filed under: Culture,Languages,Untranslatable words — Michelle @ 8:00 am
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“One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”
~ Laurie Colwin ‘Home Cooking’

words for cutlery

This wall of words is in our favorite little falafel restaurant in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico. (It is called Falafel, and Hugo makes the most amazing food!)

I love cooking. And eating. And especially doing both with friends and family. So when I collected untranslatable words for the MotherTongues slow food apron and for the MotherTongues World Words app, I really enjoyed coming across these foodie words. You’ll have to download the World Words app to find the pronunciation of these words, but here they are in writing:

Stammtisch (German noun) ~ A regular get-together in the same place around the same table, enjoying food, drink or philosophical discussions.

Utepils (Norwegian noun) ~ The first beer one drinks outside after an extensive period of cabin fever: imagine spring arriving after a long winter. (I think most of us in the Northern Hemisphere can do with an Utepils right now!)

Au pif (French adverb) ~ Literally “by the nose”, this adverb describes being creative with your cooking: using your intuition and following your nose!

Itadakimasu (Japanese phrase) ~ Said before a meal, this expresses gratitude to all who cultivated, hunted, or prepared, and to the animals and plants.

Muka (Hawaiian noun) ~ The sound of smacking your lips, done to indicate that you are eating a scrumptious meal.

Slappare (Italian verb) ~ Eating everything, leaving your plate as if it has been licked clean.

Sobremesa (Spanish noun) ~ The time spent around the table after the meal, savoring food and friendship. My favorite time!

Fika (Swedish verb or noun) ~ Meeting a friend over a cup of coffee or tea, enjoyed with a tasty bite.

Craic (Irish noun) ~ Moments where fun, food and friendship unite.

And this last one is a favorite word in our family. My nephew knew he had one, even though it took us 20 years to learn there existed a word for it!
Betsubara (Japanese noun) ~ The portion of one’s stomach reserved for desserts only.

Do you have any words about food, cooking and eating from your language(s) to add?

 

Art inspiration while traveling January 6, 2014

Whenever we travel, I love to snap photos with my phone of interesting art, crafts, places. I look at these during the long gray winter days back home, to give me new inspiration and ideas for MotherTongues. I think traveling and exposing your kids to different ideas, cultures, music and art, open their minds and help them to become comfortable in cultures other than their own.

Here are some random photos I’ve taken during our last couple of trips to South Africa and Mexico. Now I’m inspired to go make something!

Labyrinths in nature:

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Play spaces:

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Pillows:

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Brands we know, seen in a different light:

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Local art:

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Outdoor art:
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Singing our way to 3 languages September 23, 2013

language and music Stevie Wonder

We are a bilingual family, trying to become trilingual. Our kids are fluent in Afrikaans, even though they were born here in the USA and don’t hear Afrikaans outside of our house on a regular basis. So we are always looking for ways to reinforce their second language. One of the ways we have found to work for us, is lots and lots of music.

We love listening to music. When the kids were babies, we listened and sang Afrikaans children’s songs all the time. Repetition helped them to learn the words – it is such a fun way to learn more vocabulary.

Now that they are a bit older, we’re all learning Spanish. Listening to Marta Gómez and Peret help us to get used to the sounds and rhythm of the language. Afrikaans music is still part of our house – the kids know lots of songs by heart.

Here are my tips to use music to help your kids’ language learning:

1. Sing to your kids when they are babies and toddlers, and then sing with your kids once they can follow along.

2. If the language you are trying to teach your kids have DVDs or YouTube videos with singing characters for kids, make sure you get them. In Afrikaans we have Lollos – the kids have enjoyed it for many years. If the songs have subtitles, so much better!

3. Figure out who are your kids favorite musicians in the language of choice, and sing along to the songs in the car.

4. Nurture a love for music in your kids, and who knows where it will take them!

 

Making peace with our language journey August 17, 2013

multilingual sign

I had big ideals when our girls were born. They would be bilingual, bicultural, and able to read, write and speak two languages fluently (Afrikaans and English). Later we added Spanish to the mix. The more languages, the easier it becomes, right?

The last year or two I’ve come to realize more and more the truth of this John Lennon quote:

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Our youngest was in a Spanish Immersion class in Michigan, and was able to read and write Spanish by the age of 7. Moving to a new state changed the education options available to her. She now has only one and a half hours of Spanish instruction per week. Our oldest daughter is currently in a Middle School with a special before school Spanish program. She gets an hour of Spanish instruction each weekday. Even though we can supplement our Spanish learning at home through reading, listening to music, and watching movies in Spanish, we don’t always get around it.  Who has the time, right?

On the other hand, the kids are hearing more Afrikaans here in Nashville outside of our house than they did in Michigan. We’ve had friends and family visit over the summer, giving the kids’ Afrikaans a boost too.

I have now come to accept that each of our language journeys will be different, and will not always go as planned. Sometimes we’ll have the time and the opportunity to learn a lot. And sometimes our language abilities will be stagnant. If we rely on the school system for language learning, we will not have a lot of control over the journey. But cultivating a love of language in our kids, will make them lifelong learners and enjoyers of language. And I’ll be happy with that.

 

Multicultural Kid Blogs: Pinterest Scavenger Hunt + clue July 20, 2013

Multicultural Kid Blogs Pinterest Scavenger Hunt
Get ready to explore! The Pinterest Scavenger Hunt has officially begun! This contest is sponsored by Multicultural Kid Blogs to celebrate the official launch of our website.
The Scavenger Hunt will run from July 15 to July 28. Participants have until July 31 to submit their entries, and the drawing will take place on August 1. You can win one of four fabulous prize packages!
Details about the Scavenger Hunt can be found here.

Today’s Clue is:

Why is the sky blue? Why do I have to share? Why do mosquitoes exist?

Now take a look around on my MotherTongues blog and try to find the post that fits the clue. Once you think you’ve found it, pin it to the Pinterest Board you’ve created just for this contest.

Be sure to pop over to Open Wide the World for the other clue for today. A full schedule and rules of the game can be found below. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom for more chances to win!

Good luck!

How to Play:

Create a Pinterest board specifically for the contest and name the board “Multicultural Kid Blogs Pinterest Scavenger Hunt.”

Each day a new clue (or two!) will be revealed. Follow the clue to the blog of the day and pin the post described in the clue. (Any image from the post is fine).

In the Rafflecopter below, enter the link to the Pinterest board you created for this contest. The Rafflecopter will also have lots of other ways to earn extra entries. The only required entry is the link to your Pinterest board.

Please note: You can enter the Rafflecopter at any point during the contest. Obviously your board won’t be complete until the end of the contest, but you can enter the link in the Rafflecopter before then. If your name is drawn at the end of the contest, we will check your board at that time.

The final clue will be given July 28. Participants will have until midnight Pacific time on July 31 to finalize their boards. The drawing will take place on August 1.

Winners must have pinned all of the correct posts to their board. Winners will be notified via email and must respond within 48 hours or another name will be drawn.

Good luck, explorers!

Scavenger Hunt Schedule

(Visit the Scavenger Hunt main page for a full list of clues as they are revealed).

July 15

All Done Monkey

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures

July 16

The Squishable Baby

SpanglishBaby

July 17

Be Bilingual

July 18

the piri-piri lexicon

MommyMaestra

July 19

Creative World of Varya

Expat Life With a Double Buggy

July 20

Sprout’s Bookshelf

Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns

July 21

Open Wide the World

MotherTongues

July 22

MarocMama

Head of the Heard

July 23

For the Love of Spanish

July 24

InCultureParent

Moms Gone Global

July 25

Crafty Moms Share

The Art of Home Education

July 26

The European Mama

Spanish Playground

July 27

Vibrant Wanderings

A Hotchpotch Hijabi in Italy

July 28

Kids Yoga Stories

Adventure Bee

Final day to enter the contest is July 31, 2013, at midnight PDT. Drawing will take place on August 1, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Komorebi and other words about nature July 19, 2013

Komorebi

I’ve posted untranslatable words about nature before, and here are some more words describing nature and our interactions with nature, that I’ve come across as I work on adding words to the World Words app.  I hope you enjoy these, they are some of my favorite nature words from around the world!

Komorebi (Japanese noun) ~ Sunlight playing through the tree leaves.

Madrugada (Spanish, Portuguese noun) ~ The moment at dawn when night greets day.

Songimvelo (SiSwati noun) ~ To nurture nature.

Ag borradh (Irish phrase) ~ The vitality and promise that arrives with springtime, telling that new life is about to break forth.

Bangweulu (Bemba noun) ~ Where the water meets the sky.

Serein (French noun) ~ Fine rain falling from a cloudless sky, typically after sunset.

Shinrin-yoku (Japanese noun) ~ A visit to the forest for relaxation. Literally, forest bathing.

Hoppípolla (Icelandic verb) ~ To jump into puddles.

Gümüş servi (Turkish noun) ~ Reflections of the moon on the water.

Do you have any nature words from your language(s) to add?

 

 
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