Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bilingual baby benefits and bilingual blogging carnival August 2011

Bonjour, hola and hello. This is an interesting article for all those raising, aspiring to raise, or even just contemplating raising a multilingual family. My friend Nadja shared it with me a few days ago and I thought I'd pass it on to you!

Bilingual babies: Study finds flexibility for different languages
By Paul Nelson
August 30th, 2011 @ 7:00am

SALT LAKE CITY -- A recent study shows that babies in a bilingual home have brains that are more flexible to different languages for a longer period of time than other children. Language instructors say the "one parent, one language" system works very well, but parents need to be consistent if they use it.
Researchers at the University of Washington say they've been able to determine when a baby starts to lose the ability to distinguish sounds from a foreign language. This happens when the baby is between 8 and 10 months old.
Language instructors say there are a lot of bilingual families in Utah due to immigration, people going to school abroad, plus a high number of people who have returned from serving missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in other countries.
Some of these bilingual parents decide to immerse their child by speaking only the foreign language at home. But Nomen Global Language Center Site Manager Paul Matthews says it's more effective for one parent to speak only one language to the child, while the other parent speaks another one entirely.
"If they're Spanish speaking people and they're teaching their children Spanish at home and then expecting them to learn English in the school system, well I do see some problems with that," Matthews said. He says when both parents speak a foreign language, the child's English won't be as fluent.
Any parents who want to adopt this technique in their home need to know that it isn't just a teaching method, it's a lifestyle.
"They would have to make sure and be consistent, and use it with all of the children." He adds, "If [parents] start it, it's got to be a program that's followed throughout all of the kid's lives." There may be one pitfall to this technique. If one parent doesn't speak another language, that person may feel left out at times.
"They might gang up on the person that doesn't understand. That can be a problem," Matthews said. "Maybe there could be some rivalry or something like that."
Matthews says the best way for a parent to overcome any resentment is to dive in and start learning the foreign language for themselves.
E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

Great article! Are your raising your children bilingual? If you are, you might be interested in the August 2011 Bilingual Blogging Carnival over at TongueTales. Hop on over to take a look, you'll find plenty of articles from other families raising bilingual families.

Hope you're having a great week!


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