Tag Archives: Bilingualism

Speaking Two Languages Strengthens the Mind

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It has been already proven that speaking two languages delays dementia. A research team from Scotland provided further evidence to this fact by conducting another study with 835 subjects where they controlled the early childhood IQ. They measured the cognitive abilities of the participants when they were 11 and after they reach their 70′s. The findings indicated that whether subjects learned a second language early in their lives or during adulthood, those who speak 2 or more languages had stronger cognitive abilities. The study is published in the latest issue of Annals of Neurology. For more information, check out Sciencedaily

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What to do when bilingual kids mix languages (code-switching, a.k.a. code-mixing)


What to do when bilingual kids mix languages (code-switching, a.k.a. code-mixing)

• Don’t worry if your child mixes languages—language mixing is a common (and typically short-lived) phase of bilingual development.

• Trust your child is not confused—she may not know (or be able to explain) that she’s using two languages, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that she has two linguistic systems.

• Understand a bit about how and why children mix when evaluating your child’s language use.

• Minority languages may need extra support, and frequent use of both languages together can make it difficult to keep an eye on the support for each language.

• Set realistic expectations for your young learner—there are no perfect bilinguals in the world, and remember that language learning is a lifelong process—it’s never done.

Source: King, K., & Mackey, A. (2007). The bilingual edge: Why, when, and how to teach your child a second language. New York: Collins  (p.184)


How to motivate children to learn a 2nd language (p.267)

how to motivate children to learn a second language


 

Bilingual Kids Do Not Mistake: Unique Language Sound Structure

According to Kansas University psychologist Michael Vivevitch, bilinguals do not confuse the languages they speak mostly because each language has a unique sound neighboring system. In other words, just like human DNA where A, T, G, C have an ideintifying order, the sounds that follow each other in Spanish and English are different. Thus, bilinguals can easily distinguish which word to use or which language they are spoken to.

This is What Michael Vivevitch wrote

“A corpus analysis of phonological word-forms shows that English words have few phonological neighbors that are Spanish
words. Concomitantly, Spanish words have few phonological neighbors that are English words. These observations appear to
undermine certain accounts of bilingual language processing, and have significant implications for the processing and
representation of word-forms in bilinguals.”

“The results of the present corpus analysis show, in several ways, that words in a foreign language do not “invade” the lexical neighborhoods of another language. That is, for the two languages examined here, there are few words in one language that are phonologically similar to words in the other language. This simple observation raises a number of important and fundamental questions about lexical retrieval and language processing in the bilingual. First, the minimal amount of phonological overlap between the two languages essentially creates two separate – or perhaps, easily separable – lexica. (Note that other lowlevel phonological information might further contribute to the separation of languages; see e.g., Ju & Luce,2004.) The D E FAC TO separation between languages based on their phonological characteristics raises a question about the need for explicit representational schemes, such as language tags (Green, 1998) or language nodes (Dijkstra & van Heuven, 1998), or other cognitive mechanisms (e.g., Bialystok, 2010) designed to keep the word-forms of one language separate from the wordforms of another language. If one considers the small number of words that might benefit from such measures, these approaches to language processing seem cognitively and computationally expensive (and seem increasingly expensive for the individual who knows a third, or fourth, etc. language).”

 

Language learning process of children


1395110_crying_boyLanguage learning process of children 

Birth: Early crying, babies’ attempt to communicate

5 months: Cooing, making sounds like ga-ga, gu-gu

1st birthday: a few words like doggie, milk, dada

18 months~24 months: 2-word phrases such as eat now or baby cry

2 years~: Acquisition of  about 200 new words a month

2.5 years: 3-word sentences such as no want carrots

5 years: Understanding and correct production of grammar


 

Do Baby Signs Programs (Sign Language) Make Smarter Babies?


Baby Sign language does NOT make babies smarter

Do Baby Signs Programs (Sing Language) Make Smarter Babies? (p.51)

To investigate the question of whether baby signs programs help children acquire language earlier or advance their cognitive development, in 2003 researchers J. C. Johnston and colleagues examined seventeen recent studies of baby signing. Johnston found that the studies did not support the big claims made by the infancy industry, that baby signs help make babies smarter or acquire other languages sooner. Many of the studies they scrutinized only looked at a few children, had poor follow-up (they didn’t look at their language development for long enough periods of time), and little detail (for example, not enough information on how often the parents and children signed), and overall, the industry’s claims went much too far. What’s more, the researchers noted that “parents can be stressed by the challenges of meeting demands of work, caring for a young child, and other family and personal obligations, and experience guilt if they feel they are not doing everything recommended by infancy specialists and the infancy industry.”

Source: King, K., & Mackey, A. (2007). The bilingual edge: Why, when, and how to teach your child a second language. New York: Collins

 

Language and Young Children (Ages 0–2) : How to Teach Toddlers and Infants a Language


Creating Good Language Learning Environments for Very Young Children (Ages 0–2) (p. 63)

  1. • Direct lots of rich, meaningful speech toward your child from birth.
  2. • Encourage friends, relatives, babysitters, siblings, and other visitors to speak and play with your child in the second language.
  3. • Engage in interactions that pique your child’s interests—for example, by using attention-grabbing toys, picture cards, or other props while you use the language.
  4. • Build up positive associations by singing and dancing to silly songs, listening to music, and playing games in the language.
  5. • Read stories to your child. Interact both with the book and with your child (for example, by acting out the stories and using funny faces and voices). Keep this light, fun, and brief.
  6. • When you’re looking for child care, find someone who speaks the second language.
Source: King, K., & Mackey, A. (2007). The bilingual edge: Why, when, and how to teach your child a second language. New York: Collins

 

What to do when children reject to speak in the 2nd language (e.g. Spanish)


What to do when children reject to speak in the 2nd language (e.g. Spanish)

Cases that worked (from Bilingual Edge p. 244-245)

“• Anna (mother of Javier, age five): “We’ve had the most success using reverse psychology. Javier is super strong-willed and it’s actually helped at times to say to him something like ‘Spanish is only for grown-ups.’ Nothing makes him want to use it more than thinking he can’t.”

• Lucinda (stepmother of Matilda, age four): “Matilda went through phases of responding to us in English when we would use Portuguese with her. We just made a point of continuing in Portuguese. We didn’t switch to English, but we didn’t make a huge deal about it either and eventually the phases passed and she started using more Portuguese again.”

• Fabio (father of Lorenzo, age six, and Alessandro, age four): “I decided to turn speaking Italian into a game. The three of us took turns being the ‘English policeman’ each day. The policeman’s job was to fine whoever was caught speaking English. The penalty was ten cents into a jar. It made sticking with Italian more fun for everyone and really helped—at the end of the month we’d go out for pizza with our earnings.”

• Maria (mother of Samantha, age three): “When Sammy was little I would just pretend I didn’t understand English. She had to use French in order to get what she wanted. As she got older, she realized pretty fast that I understood English perfectly well. I don’t ignore her requests in English now, but ask her to say it in French in the same way most parents ask their kids to say please or thank you. I’ve explained to her that this is our special secret language that only the two of us know, so we want to make sure we practice it.”

• Cristina (mother of Jason, age nine, and Sandra, age six): “Once the kids got to be about four, we instituted a ‘beeping policy.’ Even though Spanish is my second language, my husband (who is from Venezuela) and I decided to make Spanish the only language of our house. Instead of nagging them, or saying, ‘Speak Spanish’ a hundred times a day, we ‘beep’ each other if we are caught speaking in English. The kids love to ‘beep’ us and shout ‘BEEP!’ if they catch me using English with my husband. It’s made a huge difference in keeping Spanish the only language of our house.””

Source: King, K., & Mackey, A. (2007). The bilingual edge: Why, when, and how to teach your child a second language. New York: Collins



 

Top Ten Reasons Why Speaking Two Languages Is so Cool

Top Ten Reasons Why Speaking Two Languages Is Cool

10. I can have private conversations in my second language.

9. When I told (friend, teacher, neighbor) that I speak two languages, s/he was thrilled/very impressed.

8. I can meet more people from around the world (list of potential places where your child can meet people who speak the second language).

7. Many athletes are bilingual, like Yao Ming, Roger Federer, and Maria Sharapova.

6. I can wear and read clothes that have the print of the second language.

5. Many of my favorite celebrities like Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Lopez, or Yo-Yo Ma speak two languages, or more!

4. I can make more friends (list the names of your child’s bilingual friends here).

3. After finishing school, I’ll be able to get an awesome job that pays more, like………

2. I can help other people communicate who don’t speak two languages.

1. I feel proud and good about myself.

Source: King, K., & Mackey, A. (2007). The bilingual edge: Why, when, and how to teach your child a second language. New York: Collins (p. 242-243)

 

Types of bilingual education


TYPES OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION

“Maintenance bilingual education: These programs are to help children become both and biliterate. In the United States, students in such programs typically speak a language other than English at home.

Transitional bilingual education: These programs aim to help children transition from their native language for example, Spanish, Cambodian, Portuguese, Arabic) to the language of the ma ority culture (in the United States, English . Content matter is taught in the child’s first language initially and the child simultaneously receives instruction in English as a second language. Later, the child is moved into classes taught in English for all sub ects.

Immersion bilingual education: Students are generally native speakers of a ma ority language for example, in the United States, this means children are English speakers , and 50 percent or more of the content matter is taught in a second language (percentages vary across schools). The idea is that students are fully immersed in the second language throughout the school day.

Two-way (or dual-language) immersion bilingual education:

These programs aim to help native speakers of a language other than English (such as Spanish) to learn English, while at the same time helping children who already speak English to learn this other language. Children from both language groups are together much of the day, and content matter instruction is delivered in both languages. The goal of these programs is to help promote bilingualism, biliteracy, and crosscultural understanding for all.

(Source: http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/expert/glossary.html this link doe snot work although listed on King & Mackey, )”

Code-mixing is typically shortterm phase for children learning two languages. This is perfectly normal and quite common.

Many of the skills that children develop to learn a second language can be used to learn a third. (p.229)

On page 51 King nad Mackey state that Baby Sign language does NOT make babies smarter

Source: King, K., & Mackey, A. (2007). The bilingual edge: Why, when, and how to teach your child a second language. New York: Collins


 

30 + Reasons Why Learning a Second Language is Good for Children

1 A child’s brain has a higher number of synapses (compared with an adult brain) and greater plasticity. This means children naturally can learn languages better than adults.
2 A study which assessed math and language scores of 2 groups (1 group studied 30 minutes of Spanish for 1 semester and the other comparable group did not) found that the group which studied the foreign language for 1 semester had higher math and language scores at the school.
3 A study which looked at the reading scores of average intelligence children concluded that there is a close relationship between studying a foreign language and better reading scores.

4 According to the IQ test scores of 2 groups: immersion French class vs. regular class, immersion French class students had higher IQ scores (e.g. classifying dissimilar objects etc.)
5 An analysis of the Louisiana State Basic skills Tests scores of 13200 3rd and 5th graders showed that students who took foreign languages classes did better in the English test.
6 Bilingual babies are more perceptive to nonnative languages/easily discriminate different sounds
7 Bilinguals can better deal with distractions
8 Bilingual kids have better problem solving skills . Having more linguistic and cultural information enable bilinguals to look at different aspects of the problem.
9 Bilingual kids can read better than their peers.
10 Bilingual kids can understand more about any other culture
11 Bilingual kids gain flexibility in acquiring any kind of new information
12 Bilingual kids have the upper hand in a multicultural, multilingual, multi-ethnic world
13 Bilingual kids perform better in the situations that require multitasking
14 Bilingualism delays dementia and Alzheimer’s
15 Bilingualism helps kids become more creative (Bialystok, 2001): field independent thinking…
16 Bilinguals can better understand other cultures and countries
17 Bilinguals can easily interact with multinationals
18 Bilinguals can effortlessly learn a 3rd language
19 Bilinguals can have a better use of language creatively
20 Bilinguals gain competitive advantage in future jobs
21 Bilinguals have better memory when it comes to remembering language dependent words
22 One in five Americans speak another language besides English at home. Two thirds of the world’s children are brought up bilingually.
23 Only bilingual kids in immigrant families can understand the true heritage of their ancestors
24 People who know more than one language are better at handling with conflict
25 People who study languages in early age get better in creativity and divergent thinking
26 Saunders (1998) found that students in the ESFL program of a high school in Georgia, scored higher on the Math portion of the e Iowa Test Of Basic Skills test
27 Students who study a foreign language in elementary school have better communication skills, improved cognitive development and advance cultural awareness.
28 Students who study another language get higher scores in college entrance exams
29 Studying foreign languages increases SAT score. Cooper (1987) analyzed 23 metropolitan high schools in the south and found that student who studied any foreign language for at least 1 year in general had higher SAT scores.
30 more reasons here www.ncssfl.org/papers/BenefitsSecondLanguageStudyNEA.pdf
30 more reasons here http://www.uwyo.edu/fled/documents/FLAnnotatedBibliography.pdf
30 more reasons here www.internationaledwa.org/involved/issue_info/FLAchievementGapStrategy.doc
30 more reasons here http://www.power-glide.com/PTA/why_a_second_language.pdf

SOURCES
1 Research Notes: Language Learning and the Developing Brain. (1996) Learning Languages, 1/2, 17.
2 Armstrong, P. W. and J. D. Rogers. (1997). Basic Skills Revisited: The Effects of Foreign Language Instruction on Reading, Math and Language Arts. Learning Languages, Spring, 20-31.
3 Garfinkel, A. and K. E. Tabor. (1991). Elementary School Foreign Languages and English Reading Achievement: A New View of the Relationship. Foreign Language Annals, 24/5, 375-382
4 Samuels, D. D. and R. J. Griffore (1979). The Plattsburgh French Language Immersion Program: Its Influence on Intelligence and Self-esteem. Language Learning, 29/1, 45-52.
5 Dumas, L. S. (1999). Learning a Second Language: Exposing Your Child to a New World of Words Boosts Her Brainpower, Vocabulary, and Self-Esteem. Child, February, 72, 74, 76-77.
6 http://www.npr.org/2011/04/04/135043787/being-bilingual-may-boost-your-brain-power
7 Seven steps to raising a bilingual child. Naomi Steiner, Susan L. Hayes, Steven Parker, 2008

8 Kessler& Quinn, 1980,87, Hakuta, 1986
9 Seven steps to raising a bilingual child. Naomi Steiner, Susan L. Hayes, Steven Parker, 2008
10 Seven steps to raising a bilingual child. Naomi Steiner, Susan L. Hayes, Steven Parker, 2008
11 http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/41854098/ns/today-parenting/
12 Seven steps to raising a bilingual child. Naomi Steiner, Susan L. Hayes, Steven Parker, 2008
13 http://www.frenchtribune.com/teneur/113581-bilingual-people-can-be-best-doing-multiple-tasks
14 http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10954-bilingualism-delays-onset-of-dementia.html
15 Seven steps to raising a bilingual child. Naomi Steiner, Susan L. Hayes, Steven Parker, 2008
16 Seven steps to raising a bilingual child. Naomi Steiner, Susan L. Hayes, Steven Parker, 2008
17 Seven steps to raising a bilingual child. Naomi Steiner, Susan L. Hayes, Steven Parker, 2008
18 Seven steps to raising a bilingual child. Naomi Steiner, Susan L. Hayes, Steven Parker, 2008
19 Seven steps to raising a bilingual child. Naomi Steiner, Susan L. Hayes, Steven Parker, 2008
20 Marcos, K. M. (1998). Learning a Second Language: What Parents Need to Know. National PTA Magazine, August/September, 32-33.
21 Seven steps to raising a bilingual child. Naomi Steiner, Susan L. Hayes, Steven Parker, 2008
22 http://www.npr.org/2011/04/04/135043787/being-bilingual-may-boost-your-brain-power
23 common sense :)
24 http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-he-bilingual-brain-20110227,0,6215645.story
25 Marcos, K. M. (1998). Learning a Second Language: What Parents Need to Know. National PTA Magazine, August/September, 32-33.
26 Saunders, C. M. (1998). The Effect of the Study of a Foreign Language in the Elementary School on Scores on the Iowa Test Of Basic Skills and an Analysis of Student-participant Attitudes and Abilities. Unpublished dissertation, University of Georgia.
27 Marcos, K. M. (1998). Learning a Second Language: What Parents Need to Know. National PTA Magazine, August/September, 32-33.
28 College Board, 2003
29 Cooper, T. C. (1987). Foreign Language Study and SAT-Verbal Scores. The Modern Language Journal, 71/4, 381-387