I have great news and a good story to share with you all!
The News: we have a logo for the Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism (see on the left and below) and, incidentally, I also have a new logo for Bilingue per Gioco (see above). I created banners with the Carnival’s logo, please put the banner in your sidebar and use the logo as the visual clue every time you post about the Carnival, this way we’ll all contribute to strenghten the Carnival and make it grow.
The Story: Sabella Tsiopani, the young lady who drew the logo, is a fantastic illustrator, everything she does is so magic, and guess what… she was raised in a multilingual family, although she does have some regrets about her bilingualism not being completely accomplished… Read her story and see some of her amazing work below.
Here are the banners:
and Sabella’s story
Sabella, thank you so much for creating a logo for the Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism, tell us, why did you choose a flower?
I had this idea of speech bubbles split in two as a symbol for bilingualism and arranged circularly in a flowery shape. This is because the flower suggests growth and also the speech bubbles are arranged in a way that suggests discussion, which is central to the Carnival.
How does Bilingualism relate to your personal story?
I think your blog is a great idea as I can imagine bringing up a bilingual child is very difficult. I have grown up in England but to a Chinese mother and a Greek father. I can speak a little Greek but I wish I was fluent! And Cantonese is so difficult to learn when you’re not a child any more! I wish my parents had taught me to be fluent in at least one of them but I can understand how difficult it is to not only bring up 3 young children but in a country that has English as a first language. I guess they just wanted to make it easier for us. So there’s a lot of pressure on parents and I think it’s great that you have a blog where they can offer advice and share stories etc.
That’s interesting! Where you born and always lived in England?
I’m 22 years old and was born in Bristol, England. My mother is from Hong Kong and my father is from Cyprus. Their first languages are Cantonese and Greek Cypriot. However, they both moved to England when they were younger so they have been British the majority of their lives. I was raised to only speak English. My parents speak English nearly all of the time and only communicate with each other in English. My father communicates with his family in Greek mostly but my mother understands everything he says! The only time my mother speaks Cantonese is when we have been in Hong Kong. I have family in both countries so have visited both and feel at home when I am there too.
What do you miss most about not having been raised bilingual, or rather trilingual in your case?
I suppose I only ever wanted to be bilingual with Greek and English as my two languages, as these are the two main languages I hear. It would be nice to understand fluently what my family are talking about or understanding what is being said in the Greek Orthodox church or ceremony. I suppose in terms of the Greek Orthodox church, I felt a little excluded as I couldn’t fully understand everything being said. However, I love the culture and am learning Greek myself now. Although I cannot speak it fluently, I am learning. I suppose in that respect, my parents waited until I was old enough to decide what was best for me as they didn’t want and added confusion for me as a child, however I wish I had started to learn a bit earlier as it would have been easier.
Do you feel multicultural even though you are not fluent in Greek or Cantonese? If so do you think this has an impact on your work?
They raised me to be multicultural, I am Greek Orthodox yet we eat Chinese food a lot of the time! We celebrate Greek Easter and English Easter. Chinese New Year and English New Year. I think this does have an impact upon my work as I can appreciate other cultures a bit more. I am most interested in architecture and animals and the way different countries have different approaches to not only these two things but everything in general, it fuels my work.
What would you say to parents who are debating whether it is any worth to try to teach his/her mother tongue to their kids?
I would say it would definetely be worth it. It might be difficult, but I think the child would appreciate it and their culture a little bit more when they are older. It’s amazing how much a child can learn (they are like sponges!) so they would most likely be capable. If the child hears that language a lot of the time, then it would help include them a bit more. It can be up to them whether they disregard it when they are older as they might not have the need to speak it as much anymore, but at least they will have the skills to do it.
I hope this has been of help!
You can see Sabella’s work on these sites http://sabellatsiopaniillustration.blogspot.com/ or http://sabellatsiopani.weebly.com, below I put a couple of my favourite illustrations of hers. Remember her name, she has a bright future ahead of her!