MY BILINGUAL BABY GIRL

28 Oct

 

I always speak to Sofia, my daughter, in Spanish. I want to allow her to be fully bilingual. I think it is amazing to see bilingual kids switching with no problem from one language to another with no accent what so ever. That’s my challenge. The rest of her world, including daddy, speaks to her in English. The only exception is when I “skype” or speak on speaker phone with my family and friends back in Spain or we are there in summer.

 It’s been fun and amazing to see how she understands me when I speak to her. She only speaks few words mainly in English but when she wants more of something she says “mas”. Hey, That’s a start!!!!.  I have been doing some reading about the matter and discovered interesting information that I want to share with the world.  

Research in the neurobiology of bilinguism has been concluded that been fluent in two languages and particularly from early childhood enhances the ability to concentrate. Also might protect against the onset of dementia and other age-related cognitive decline.  More information and bibliography related to this is available on the Society for Neuroscience website.

 Here is the link: http://sfn.org/index.aspx?pagename=brainBriefings_thebilingualbrain

Other neurophysicological and brain imaging studies suggest that there is a unitary neural system with overlapping brain regions involved in the processing of more than one language. This network get strong by activation getting strong when there is second language processing. The level of activation of this neural network depends also on proficiency level, task demands, similarity of the languages, and the age of acquisition. The age of acquisition has been a factor emphasized in much of the information that I have read, suggesting for example that the age of acquisition dominantly affects syntax processing in the bilingual brain. It is important to keep in mind that the earlier we expose our baby to other languages the better for their little but powerful developing brains. Another cool fact is that early bilinguals learn gramatical knowledge by means of a frontal system involving Broca’s area and the basal ganglia, whereas late bilinguals learn their second language by means of a temporally located neural system(1).

 Isn’t the brain fascinating!!!!!..

I also checked some blogs about raising bilingual kids. The june 2003 post by http://www.beginningwithi.com/comments/2003/06/20/86/ offers an interesting idea advised by the German linguist Traute Taeschner in her book “The Sun is Feminine: A Study on Language Acquisition in Bilingual Children. She suggested following the “one parent, one language” rule: each parent should speak only one language (preferably his or her native one) with the child, right from birth, so that the child is able to identify each language with a specific person, and thereby learns to keep the languages separate. I didn’t read the book (it is priced close to 100$ in amazon), but this is what my husband and I are doing.

There is so much information out there which I will continue to explore.  In the future I will comment on the progress of my adventure with my lovely bilingual baby.

To finish a humorous splash, a joke about bilinguism.

I police dog responded to an ad for work in the FBI. “Well” says the personal director. “You’ll have to meet some strict requirements. First, you must type at least 60 words per minute”. Sitting down at the typewriter, the dog types out 80 words per minute,

“Also” says the director, “You must pass a physical and complete the obstacle course”.

This prefect canine specimen finished the course in record time. “There’s one last requirement”, the director continues, “You must be bilingual”.

With confidence, the dog looks up at him and says, “Meow!”.

(1) Language and brain. Angela D. Friederici and Isabell Wartenburger. 2010. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science. Vol 1, Issue 2. Pages:  150-159.

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