"Read this book while packing your suitcase." 
- Chris Guillebeau, New York Times best-selling author of Born for This and $100 Start-Up
"Love it! A great read, very un-put-downable"
~ Amazon.com review
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"Gilbert's warmth and willpower are contagious."

- Rita Golden Gelman, author of Tales of a Female Nomad, Living Large in the World.
About Mother Tongue
One woman’s quest to learn Mandarin in Beijing, Arabic in Beirut, and Spanish in Mexico, with her young family along for the ride.

Imagine negotiating for a replacement carburetor in rural Mexico with words you’re secretly pulling from a pocket dictionary. Imagine your two-year-old asking for more niunai at dinner—a Mandarin word for milk that even you don’t know yet. Imagine finding out that you’re unexpectedly pregnant while living in war-torn Beirut. With vivid and evocative language, Christine Gilbert takes us along with her into foreign lands, showing us what it’s like to make a life in an unfamiliar world—and in an unfamiliar tongue.

Gilbert was a young mother when she boldly uprooted her family to move around the world, studying Mandarin in China, Arabic in Lebanon, and Spanish in Mexico, with her toddler son and all-American husband along for the ride.Their story takes us from Beijing to Beirut, from Cyprus to Chiang Mai—and also explores recent breakthroughs in bilingual brain mapping and the controversial debates happening in linguistics right now.

Gilbert’s adventures abroad prove just how much language influences culture (and vice versa), and lead her to results she never expected. Mother Tongue is a fascinating and uplifting story about taking big risks for bigger rewards and trying to find meaning and happiness through tireless pursuit—no matter what hurdles may arise. It’s a treat for language enthusiasts and armchair travelers alike.



"Inspiring... Gilbert balances a young family and her career to take us on an enviable journey around the world while also providing illuminating research on language acquisition for the young and old alike."
—Jen Lin-Liu, author of On the Noodle Road
“Christine Gilbert’s intimate, honest narrative, rooted in science, illustrates the courage it takes to “be global” and raise global kids – complete with humor, humility and humanity. I thoroughly enjoyed Mother Tongue and encourage anyone who’s considered living or traveling abroad with kids to read this book!”
—Homa S. Tavangar, author of Growing Up Global
“An engaging travel narrative for both language lovers and general audiences.”
—Kirkus Reviews
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