Posts Tagged sounds

The role of input

I read this news article while ago, January of this year to be exact and I thought it was really interesting. Paul Sulzberger proposes that people can begin to learn a second language by listening to it. This goes against conventional wisdom in teaching a second language. Often, the focus is on meaning and practice. The idea of focusing on meaning and practice makes sense because in learning a second language one can build on what you already know. You can use the ideas and meanings you know in L1 to match with new words (but same meanings) in L2. Similarly, you can use what you know about grammar in L1 to learn L2. Even if the grammar is different (and it is) you at least can think about the fact that there needs to be a way to talk about the past, present, and future. You know that there’s got to be a rule to talk about one thing vs. more than one thing. So, what does just listening do? How can you learn another language without knowing the meaning? Read the rest of this entry »

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Speech Sound Development in Bilinguals: It Depends…

I was recently interviewed for a national parents’ magazine on bilingualism (if it gets published, I’ll provide the reference and link).  The reporter was asking a relatively general question on language development in bilinguals compared to monolinguals.  First, I found it difficult to crystallize a complex issue into, literally, a 7-minute interview.  Second, it reinforced my notion about the myths about language development in bilinguals that still prevail.  When I responded that there is research to show that there are cases in which bilinguals can be more advanced than monolinguals, she interrupted me citing the fact that pediatricians tell parents that development in bilinguals is slower than monolinguals.  I interjected, “yes, but…it depends.”  It depends on the age of the child, how they came to acquire the two languages, how much input they receive, and output they produce, etc.  I know issues about proficiency have been written about on this blog before so I won’t repeat them here.  I will say, however, that we have looked at this issue in terms of speech sound development, and I will write about that in an upcoming post.  Suffice it to say that these variables clearly influence language development in bilinguals.  I tried, without much success, to tell the reporter this.  Anyway, we do know that bilingual children might show language skills that are more advanced, less advanced, or commensurate in comparison to monolinguals.  So, how does this relate to speech sound development in this group of children?

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