Episode 87: Learning language from our kids with Brynn Barineau

Episode 87

On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, I interview Brynn Barineau.  Brynn is originally from Atlanta and has a BA and MA in International Communication from American University in Washington DC.  It was while finishing her Masters that she met her Brazilian husband.  Brynn eventually joined her then fiance in Rio de Janeiro and began teaching.  After moving to Vitoria, she taught economics and American literature at Escola Leonardo Da Vinci.  Brynn is currently working on building a career as a writer and publishing her first novel.  She blogs at BrynninBrazil.com  She has a four-year old daughter that she and her husband are raising bilingual in English and Portuguese.

Episode #87 Quick Guide

On this episode, Brynn discusses with us:

  • How her own experience with bilingualism started when she had her daughter in Brazil;
  • How she has been learning Portuguese as a second language for the past nine years since moving to Brazil;
  • How much her daughter has helped her to learn Portuguese;
  • The different experiences she had from living in Rio de Janerio where English was widely spoken to moving to a much smaller town Vitoria where she had to learn more Portuguese to communicate her needs;
  • How limited she fell when she was not able to communicate with others in her community;
  • How languages are managed in her home specifically how they have implemented the Minority Language at Home strategy and how her daughter attends school exclusively in Portuguese;
  • How she is thinking through different ways that will make things easier for her daughter to combine her home (in English) and her school (in Portuguese);
  • A funny story where the fact that no one else around her family spoke English saved them from a potentially embarrassing moment;
  • How proud she was the first time her daughter translated from Portuguese to English;
  • Why it was important for her to have her daughter speak English so that she could create and develop an emotional connection with her family;
  • How she has leveraged her family members to expose her daughter to more English with a weekly Skype call;
  • The excitement she is experiencing as they gear up to develop her daughter’s literacy skills.

Once we hop on the Autobahn at Bilingual Avenue, Brynn shares –

  • Favorite resource: Skype and FaceTime, video chat with families.
  • Great family habit: Reading a book every single night;
  • What has held her back: Her limited Portuguese ability has also impacted her daughter’s interaction with kids outside of the classroom;
  • Best advice received: Relax, language will come!
  • Favorite books:
    • Book in English: A Fly Went By – by Mike McClintock.
    • Book in Portuguese: Books by Mateo Lobato and Ana Maria Machado
  • Best Advice to others: Be calm about the language journey and choose what feels right for you!


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