I believe that language is related to emotions and these [language and emotions] are also related to culture. So I told them they should know the Korean language because they are Koreans. Speaking the Korean language doesn’t simply mean being able to speak the language, it means that those 3 factors [language, emotions and culture] are related to each other like chains. So I thought if they were not able to speak the Korean language there would be big gaps between us, I believed that. That was why I encouraged my children to use the Korean language at home and luckily our home language gradually changed to Korean even though we sometimes spoke ‘Konglish [Korean-English]’.
Bilingual children don’t have only one perspective. They can have multiple perspectives for dealing with things. Understanding languages, even if they are not fully understood, makes it easier to become familiar with a new culture. And whatever they [bilingual children] study or work, they can see not only one side but also the other side of the culture. For example, talking about colours, there are different ways of describing colours in Eastern and Western cultures. So I believe being bilingual is helpful for their schooling. My daughter may not realise this. Because it has been natural for her to be exposed to a bilingual environment all the time at home and at school.
A: I disagree with some Korean parents who speak English at home to their children from birth. I have met some [Korean parents] who did that [spoke English at home] and they regretted in the end.
Q: Why did they regret it?
A: Because the parents were Korean and they had many chances to interact with other Koreans. But their children couldn’t interact with other Korean children to maintain friendships because their children couldn’t speak the Korean language. They regretted a lot.
Q: It seemed parents kept interacting with other Koreans even though they wanted to raise their children as primarily English speakers.