ml@home tips: TV options for a ml home

This first post concentrates on options you might want to consider to replace your Majority Language TV by a minority language one.  Television is often the item we find the hardest to sacrifice when switching to the ml@home strategy.  However, telly need not be completely sacrificed.  It can be replaced in different ways.

  • International channel packages – Lots of broadband providers now offer international TV channels packages.  If your broadband provider doesn’t, you can also look up satellite providers.
  • Internet– Many TV stations now stream their channels (or at least part of their programmes) online, which you might be able to broadcast on your TV set using Chromecast, Apple TV and the like.
  • Streaming– International TV channels might not always be ideal when it comes to screening the latest cartoons for kids or movies for us. Luckily, some streaming service providers like Netflix, OCS, HBO or Amazon Video Prime can help and supplement your minority language TV package (for those unfamiliar with these streaming services have audio language options).  These streaming services often have among the latest cartoons so the kids shouldn’t feel excluded from what their monolingual classmates see on Majority Language telly.  You can then broadcast the content on your TV set using Chromecast, Apple TV and the like.
  • The sound of silence (or not quite) – Now, if none of these options are workable for you, how about keeping the telly off just when the kids are around, and if there is anything you’d really like to see, why not record it to see it later out of their ear-shot? This will avoid adding any more emphasis to the Majority Language in your home.  When they are around, you can instead play minority language radio or music (see post on Creating a minority language audio background).  And if you were keen on watching the news, you can often see it’s streaming on the channel’s website once the kids are off to bed.

These are only ideas and you need to find what works for you.  Personally, I started with the international channels streamed online, upgraded to International channel package via broadband provider and supplemented with Youtube and Netflix via Chromecast.  All these entertainments add up in cost but we really enjoy the minority language atmosphere in our home and have seen the influence and benefits on our daughters’ use of our minority languages at home.

It also contributes in spreading the minority culture in the home environment, for instance my children get to see the setting lose of the San Fermín bulls in the streets of Pamplona (Spain) in July, and hear about the 3 Kings celebrations in January in Spain. Beyond the passing on of a language, the culture associated with is important in developing the child’s minority identity.  When they will travel to the minority country, they will understand the cultural references and feel part of this country.

As an adult, it is also extremely pleasant to be able to pick and choose what I want to see.  We also enjoy reducing the negativity of the Majority Language news media at home.  We keep up to speed with the news reading what interests us on the web, or listening to the radio in the car on the way to work.  We pick and choose what we want to see and it is most pleasurable. 🙂

Any more tips on the topic? Please leave a comment to share them with us! 😉

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