Author Topic: Multilingual kids  (Read 3245 times)

Flying_Monkey

Re: Multilingual kids
« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2008, 08:40:44 pm »
My wife and I have loads of friends bringing up multilingual kinds - our best friends are Catalan-Japanese, and I suppose our kids (if and when...) will be English-Japanese... it doesn't necessarily last though - I was bilingual English-Norwegian until 6, but then we came back from Norway and because my parents never used the language afterwards, I forgot all my Norwegian.  :(

Valiant

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Re: Multilingual kids
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2008, 10:08:43 pm »
In my house we speak with our parents in Bengali (they can speak English) and we all speak in English to eachother. But vary with my little brother.
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Re: Multilingual kids
« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2008, 10:56:00 pm »
I read somewhere that children pick up language quickest and easiest in their very early years.

I remember reading an article some years back (in Scientific American iirc), that said that children acquired the ability to hear certain phonemes very early on.  Exposure of Japanese children to English phonemes meant that when they started to more formally learn languages, their brains could hear the difference in sounds that other Japanese children couldn't (since these particular sounds didn't exist as distinct sounds in Japanese).  If I recall correctly the sounds the used were the R and L sounds that the Japanese can confuse (I'm not a linguist, so someone feel free to correct this).  This had to be done at a very early age, I think it was something like before 9 months old.

I'm appalling at languages, but given enough notice I'll try and learn the essentials, "Thank you", "Hello", "I'm sorry but I haven't got a clue what you just said", "My friend will pay" etc ;D

I would expect that given sufficiently proactive parenting, most kids exposed to bilingualism would largely pick up both languages, admittedly it probably can go wrong, but I would suspect that these kids might be in an environment where the parents weren't actively encouraging and nurturing language skills (of any sort) anyway.
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hellymedic

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Re: Multilingual kids
« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2008, 12:50:37 am »
Some of those I've seen go wrong have been in families with highly motivated parents, eg Belgian (French speaking) mother, French au pair, American father => child with speech and language delay and thick French accent for most of primary school career.

Re: Multilingual kids
« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2008, 01:11:55 am »
I grew up speaking Cantonese, so all my toddler language (I've wet myself, please wipe my bottom etc) is in Cantonese. However once I started playgroup etc, English took over. Parents still spoke to me in Cantonese, but I'd reply in a mixture of the 2.

Parents made me go to Chinese school at the weekends, but I didn't learn anything of use.

The only time I found my knowledge of English was wanting was when someone used the term 'antimacassar' at school. Everyone else had learnt the term from their grandparents/parents, but I'd never heard the term before.

My Chinese Cantonese/Mandarin needs a lot of work. Technical terms confuse me, so watching the news involves a lot of guesswork, but a sitcom is fine.

However with satellite and internet TV, it's so much easier to keep a second language active. As I only spoke to my parents, my vocab was very limited. However with TV/films etc, you really do expand your vocab.

My youngest cousin in Holland had to start going to school aged 6, rather than 7, as Dutch wasn't his first language. That year was designed to bring him up to speed. It worked, as a result he's the only member of my family who can roll his 'R's.

Valiant

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Re: Multilingual kids
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2008, 01:31:08 am »
Learn Chinese in 5 minutes (You MUST read them aloud) English - Chinese

That's not right!                             Sum Ting Wong

Are you harbouring a fugitive?        Hu Yu Hai Ding

See me ASAP ;                              Kum Hia Nao

Stupid Man                                    Dum Fuk

Small Horse                                   Tai Ni Po Ni

Did you go to the beach?                Wai Yu So Tan

I bumped into a coffee table!           Ai Bang Mai Fu Kin Ni

I think you need a face lift!               Chin Tu Fat

It's very dark in here!                       Wai So Dim

I thought you were on a diet!            Wai Yu Mun Ching

This is a tow away zone!                   No Pah King

Our meeting is scheduled for next week!      Wai Yu Kum Nao

Staying out of sight                             Lei Ying Lo

He's cleaning his automobile                Wa Shing Ka

Your body odo u r is offensive               Yu Stin Ki Pu

Great                                                  Fa Kin Su Pa
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

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Re: Multilingual kids
« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2008, 05:58:04 am »
I read somewhere that children pick up language quickest and easiest in their very early years.

I remember reading an article some years back (in Scientific American iirc), that said that children acquired the ability to hear certain phonemes very early on.  Exposure of Japanese children to English phonemes meant that when they started to more formally learn languages, their brains could hear the difference in sounds that other Japanese children couldn't (since these particular sounds didn't exist as distinct sounds in Japanese).  If I recall correctly the sounds the used were the R and L sounds that the Japanese can confuse (I'm not a linguist, so someone feel free to correct this).  This had to be done at a very early age, I think it was something like before 9 months old.

I had this advantage when I was learning Lithuanian. Lithuanian is a partly tonal language, just as Limburgic, my first mother tongue. So other students had an enormous problem even recognising the differences between the various tonal variants, I could reproduce them fairly soon. Some never learnt since they simply couldn't grasp the concept of tonal differences having various meanings.

Re: Multilingual kids
« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2008, 08:02:39 am »


The only time I found my knowledge of English was wanting was when someone used the term 'antimacassar' at school. Everyone else had learnt the term from their grandparents/parents, but I'd never heard the term before.



No great loss there Gerald. In a continuously evolving language that word is not likely to have a long future at present. I have just tested it on my sons, aged 13 and 14, neither of whom recognised it. This does not surprise me because, although I remember such items from my grandparents' furniture, my sons don't from theirs.
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Re: Multilingual kids
« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2008, 09:57:19 am »
Quote
I have just tested it on my sons, aged 13 and 14

A couple of weeks ago a friend told me that his grammar-school 17-year-old didn't know what an 'au pair' was  :D