Thursday, October 18, 2012

4 Ways To Integrate Tribal Language For Your Children

1. Translations- Select one of your child's favorite picture books. My son likes Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Eric Carle. The simpler the better. Books that contain colors, numbers and names of animals work best. When reading the book to your child, read the pages in your native language. If your child already knows the words to the book in English, she will easily understand what you are saying in your tribal language. This is an excellent and swift way to integrate your language because it takes what they already know and translates it. If the picture book is a wooden or cardboard book, you can use a label maker or attach printed labels over the English words. This is beneficial for children who are or have learned to read. The key here is to use familiar, simple books.

2. Spanglish Approach- When I was learning to speak Spanish my neighbor spoke Spanglish to me. She would speak completely in English except for the simple words I should have already learned in Spanish class and a few words that I didn't know. Before long, I didn't realize she had completely converted her speaking to Spanish. The same approach can be used to teach a tribal language. Simply exchange one or two English words per sentence for the equivalent word in your language. For example, "Give me that candy" becomes "E-giat that candy." Make a motion that demonstrates the candy being given to you. Another example, "Put on your consuss", wave a pair of pants at your pantless child. They will be able to figure out what you are telling them to do. Before long, they won't need the rest of the sentence to be in English because they remember what some of the non-English words mean and can figure it out.

3. Photo Albums- You can make a regular habit of looking through your photo albums like a picture book. Each time you come across a family member your child recognizes, state the non-English word that describes that person. For example, when you come across a picture of yourself, you wouldn't say, "Mom." You would say, "Pia." (Or whatever the word for mom is in your language.) Another way to use your photo albums are to upload them to PowerPoint and record your voice saying the coordinating term in English and in your native language.

4. Homework- Most elementary school homework is basic and relatively easy to translate to your native language. Take a basic addition problem for example: Jack has 4 birds. Peter gives him 2 birds. How many birds does Jack have? Assuming you have already taught your child numbers and animals, this should be easy to convert. For example, Jack has watsokwee cheepa. Peter gives him wahi cheepa. How many cheepa does Jack have? Answer, nobohee cheepa. Keep the conversions simple and within the realm of what your child knows.

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