Are We Doing Our Children A Disservice…

…by not teaching them a language other than the one they hear every day?

I am not talking about the two or three years of language your child will take in school.  I took 3 years of Spanish and still consider the 10 days I spent in Costa Rica at age 16 a better language learning experience.  You might know some who took a specific language in both high school and college and can translate and converse well to this day.  But I am not talking about that.  I am talking about becoming a bilingual family.

As of right now both my husband and I speak fluent American English and that is it.  We plan on changing that.  It made sense at first to learn Spanish.  There are a lot of Spanish speaking people in America.  We are also close to many Spanish speaking countries that would be nice to visit.  Many items in stores are now boxed with labels in both English and Spanish, making it very recognizable.  Spanish seems like the most useful choice while living in America.

But then I thought about something different.  Speaking Spanish will  be extremely useful in situations where English is not known.  But English can be learned.  What about American Sign Language?  Those who use sign language can not learn any other language.  They are reliant on their knowledge and the knowledge others have about the language.  In a situation where I would need to speak to someone who is deaf I would not know how.  I would have to hope that writing things out would suffice.  I can not simply rely on a deaf person to fluently speak my language to talk to me (as we sometimes think with others who speak different languages).  I think I have to be the one to learn theirs.

Has anyone attempted to learn (as a family, not just teaching babes “signs”) sign language in order to use it fluently?  I know nothing of it, even of it’s difficulty.


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5 responses to “Are We Doing Our Children A Disservice…

  1. Julia Kaye Jones

    Arianna, your cousin Miranda (Mandy) took sign language in Costa Rica (their Costa Rican style) and took American Sign Language in College. I think she has used in at work (banking) as well as at church in Michigan. She took Italian for a while in Costa Rica as a teenager, but didn’t keep up with that, I don’t think. Aunt Kaye

  2. I’m working on learning American Sign Language. It started with teaching my son as a baby, but made sure to use materials that were in ASL rather than the made up “baby signs”. We have a large population of deaf people in our city, because there is a state school for the deaf, so I think it will be good to know more.
    It’s not very hard to learn, because a lot of the sings are intuitive – they relate to the word itself and are easy to remember. I learned a lot of the basics along with my son through books & DVDs geared to children, and have supplemented with classes at our local community college and practice with a few others who know or are learning it (my husband’s cousin is a sign language interpreter, and a few people I know through church & volunteer work have deaf family members or are learning for other reasons).

    • Thanks for commenting. I am glad you are finding it not too difficult to learn. I am hoping the same goes for me! Wonder if a local school here has classes…

  3. Rebecca

    Great idea~ Great for your brain and will come in handy many times in your life!

  4. Lydia loves sign language. She got interested in it after playing with Mary Beth’s little girl Katie. She wanted to know how to “talk” to her. She practices her box of sign language flash cards every so often. I should probabley check into some DVD classes too. Another thing about sign language is that is open’s up a whole new ministry for smaller churches in rurarl areas….can also be used with song’s to give a visual of sorts that can be beautiful and touch hearts.

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