Semana Santa

Posted April 7, 2012 by mothertongue2
Categories: Uncategorized

This is an article I wrote in Spanish for our Infant School newsletter in Spain. It’s about Easter traditions in the UK.

La Semana Santa al estilo Británico

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¡Pa’lante!

Posted October 28, 2011 by mothertongue2
Categories: Uncategorized

Ok, so 5 months have passed since I last posted and I have been inspired to re-boot this blog now following the recent birth of a new association for Spanish-speaking families in Edinburgh http://asociacionalba.wordpress.com/ which I have been involved in setting up.

Our aim is to promote the Spanish language and the culture of Spanish-speaking countries through activities for bilingual children and their families. We have big ideas and a tiny (almost non-existant actually) budget. But we are determined and enthused. ¡Animo y pa’lante!

From passive facilitator to active agent = result

Posted May 31, 2011 by mothertongue2
Categories: Being the Spanish speaker

Even though I have only just started speaking the odd bit of Spanish at home with my children (and on some days none at all) amazingly there is already a ripple effect happening. The kids are more enthusiastic about Spanish, they ask me to do simple vocabulary games with them and they have even used the odd word or phrase with each other.

The actual amount of Spanish spoken is so little that I think part of the effect must come purely from the intention or change of heart that I have had as regards my role in this experiment. I have gone from being a passive facilitator (promoting contact with other Spanish-speaking people or situations) to being an active agent (speaking Spanish to them myself).

If I can just keep it up and increase the amount we speak at home then I think it could have far greater results than I had hoped for.

Zero Spanish day

Posted May 24, 2011 by mothertongue2
Categories: Being the Spanish speaker

Well, that didn’t take long did it? 4 days in and already I’m flagging.

In my defence I was at work all morning and out all afternoon on PTA business.

Idea! I will put a pile of Spanish story books by the kid’s beds so I can cheat make up for lost time at the end of the day and read to them a little in Spanish at bedtime.

Pasito a pasito

Posted May 23, 2011 by mothertongue2
Categories: Being the Spanish speaker

Tags: , ,

Well, I cancelled the shoe buying trip after a quick pre-shopping surf on the net showed nothing suitable in any of the shops I was hoping to visit.

Note to children’s shoe designers: my daughters are not tiny prostitutes, nor do they spend their lives at parties and they do not want to wear boots in what passes for summer in Scotland.

Let’s hope social services don’t drag me off when I have to send my kids to school barefoot in a few days or cut the ends off their too-small shoes so that their squashed toes can stick out.

Bilingual play date went as expected: I spoke loads of Spanish and my kids spoke almost none, though the older one did make the effort when speaking to the mother. Since I was speaking Spanish to her I did manage to slip in a few asides to my kids so at least it wasn’t a Zero Spanish day.

So far, so not very good

Posted May 22, 2011 by mothertongue2
Categories: Being the Spanish speaker

Tags: , , ,

Family outing today with non-Spanish speaking family, no Spanish spoken…

Tomorrow we have a play date with Spanish-speaking friends so the mother and I will speak lots of Spanish while the kids lapse into English in another room!

Before this I have to get through emergency shoe shopping with both kids. They literally have nothing to put on their feet except wellies and crocs. Bound to be a nightmare. Maybe I can throw some Spanish in to lighten things up? Seems like a good way to get them used to me speaking it to them is to be funny with it. They like word play.

How it began

Posted May 22, 2011 by mothertongue2
Categories: Being the Spanish speaker

Tags: , , ,

Today my 4 year old wasn’t too well so she didn’t go to Spanish Saturday school with her sister.

I remembered they had enjoyed using the Growstorygrow website so I logged on, so the little one would at least have some Spanish input that day.

I don’t usually speak Spanish to my children and I don’t often hear them speak it either – on the one day a week that the 4 year old is with our Spanish-speaking babysitter she switches back to English as soon as I arrive home. So I don’t have a very good idea of how much Spanish the 4 year old actually knows or remembers, 22 months after we left Spain.

As we were reading some of the animated stories on Growstorygrow together I realised that she actually knows a lot more than I had thought, or hoped.

We were reading a story about clothes and I asked her ‘Que te pongas?’ (What are you going to put on?). She answered ‘Me pongo una bata’. (I’ll put on a housecoat/dressing gown/pinny). This cracked me up as a ‘bata’ is the garment of choice for a middle-aged or elderly Spanish housewife to do the dusting in.

We were having fun and speaking naturally to each other and we continued when her sister got home from Spanish class. We did a game where we had to take it in turns to say a word in English and the others had to see who could say it in Spanish first.

It suddenly seemed to me that maybe I could be the Spanish speaker in this house, that in fact it was the only solution, given the fact that their dad has failed to do what should come naturally to him as a native speaker, who also speaks 2 other languages fluently and can get by in a handful more.

This is how it began.


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