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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

How to fail even more miserably at raising a multilingual child

I have just read this hilarious post over at BilingualMonkeys. So much has been written about multilingualism in a very serious, scientific tone that it’s always refreshing to find something funny about this topic.  Also, while I appreciate direct and positive advice, I also love me some irony. And, last but not least, this post has inspired me to write about more ways you can totally destroy your child’s bilingualism. First, please read Bilingual Monkey’s post, and have a laugh!

1)      Insist that everybody should speak only one language. After all, people have been doing just that and they could communicate, right? Why should you be the one to learn their language when they could and should learn yours?
2)    Do not speak about other cultures, and if you really have to, make sure that all your comments are negative. Also, always speak of your culture as the superior one. This will ensure that your child will lose all motivation to learn other languages, and have the superiority complex on top of that!
3)      Make your love for your child conditional upon the language they use- your child needs to learn that there are good languages and bad languages. So, no affection, no cuddles if the child speaks the “wrong” language.  
4)      Punish your child in your language so they will have negative memories of it. Also, connect your language to everything unpleasant. Make him do chores in your language. Make him eat broccoli in your language if you know he hates broccoli. You get the idea.
5)      Send your child to a school where diversity is not encouraged- then they will soon stop trying to talk to you in your language, and become totally monolingual! Also, if at all possible, try to keep her away from language classes.
6)      Alternatively, go the other way, and become a zealot! Force your child to learn languages, rather than finding ways for them to learn and hoping for the best. Make sure that you talk of nothing else than learning languages! Make it a chore, and make it as unpleasant as possible.
7)      Do never, ever, ever, give your child any explanation why you expect him to learn languages, or to speak to you in your language. Or, pick a language for him without explaining why you expect him to learn it (“Because I say so!” is your friend!). This way, the child will see no motivation whatsoever to learn it! Mission accomplished!
8)      Use the power of books and other media to point out the negative effects of multilingualism and diversity. If you have to, get creative and make your own story showing how a multilingual person got into troubles and only recovered after he decided to use one language only.
9)       Model “good” behaviour. This means that you have to disrespect anything and anybody from other cultures. Make fun of other languages, clothes and skin colours. Make a point of showing your child how disrespectful you are, so that you really get this point across.
10)   Do not, under any circumstances, do anything related to your culture. Do not celebrate your holidays; do not cook anything from your country, do not make any culture-related crafts. Do not visit family in your country, or don’t invite them over to your place until they learn the proper language. That way your child will be shielded from the bad influences from other cultures.

As you see, raising a monolingual child in a multilingual society also requires a lot of work! You will have to work hard to kill your child’s natural ability to learn languages. But, take heart, it can be done! Just use these simple tips! 

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  1. Olga, thank you for the laughs! I really enjoyed your fresh "spin" on my post! (I love that bit about "broccoli"!) Well done!

    1. Hi Adam, glad you liked my post and that it came across just as funny as I intended it to be. Thanks to you for the inspiration and I will be a frequent reader on your site!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I was afraid that it would come across as mean, but I am glad to hear it is not the case.

  3. I'm going to start using all of this on my kid. Especially point 3 :p

    1. Hi Stu, nice to see you here! Oh please, by all means, feel free to use all of these! And luckily for you, your child is still little, so you can start as early as possible!


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