The Classroom Package: Curriculum Connection

Proud to Be Bilingual
 The Quichua people of Limoncocha are bilingual, speaking both Spanish and Quichua. Quichua, of course, is their mother tongue, but some know Spanish better than they know Quichua.  Since some of them are learning English, they are trying to become trilingual. Do your students know what their "mother tongue" is?  How many "mother tongues" are used by your students?  Are any of your students bilingual or trilingual? For fun, see how many languages your students can count to ten in. If you have a multilingual class, figure out how many languages can be spoken by your students and ask students what prefix can be added to -lingual to describe the class with reference to how many languages it can speak. Ask them what they would call groups that can speak four (quadra-), five (penta-), six (hexa-), eight (octa-) and ten (deca-) languages. Ask them what other words they know that begin with these prefixes.

Language Arts Lesson Idea:  Dissection of the words "bilingual and "trilingual" can
lead into fun and discovery-filled wordplay exercises.  First, explain to students that the Latin base,  lingua, means 'language,' and the suffix "-al" means "of" or "relating to." Considering the words "bicycle" and "tricycle," they should be able to figure out the meanings of the prefixes "bi-" and "tri-."  Now, they'll be ready for some bi-tri- sleuthing.  With words that have recognizable roots (bi/ trimonthly, bi/triweekly, bi/triyearly, bi/tricolor, bimetallic, biparental, binational, bicoastal, trisyllable, bipolar, triangle, bicultural, biplane, bistate, etc.), have them propose then verify meanings with a dictionary.  For unfamiliar words with unrecognizable roots (biped, trilobite, trilogy, bimanual, bigamy, bicuspid, bi/trisect, bimillennium, binaural, bi/tricentennial, bi/trinomial, tridactyl, trifoliate, bi/trilateral, bilabiate, bicephalous, etc.), look up root meanings, propose and verify word meanings. Create matching exercises, crossword puzzles, or other word-games with familiar or easily teachable words (binoculars, biathlon, triathlon, bicycle, tricycle, triceratops, biceps, triceps, bikini, trilobite, triple, triple play, triplets, tripod, bifocals, etc.).  And, of course, students can delve more deeply into the dictionary with individual or group research expeditions.  Have them report findings and display discoveries when they emerge.... Or, take your findings and create poems.



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