Archive for category adult bilingualism

Bilingual Texting

This article reminded me of our texting experiences this winter break. My mom, aunt, brother and cousins rented a house near the beach, my sister lives in the east coast and I was with my husband’s family in WI (brrr). Anyway, we texted each other to keep up with who was doing what, and the texts were in a combination of English and Spanish. Someone would write something and someone else would respond, and not always in the original language. But, it doesn’t matter because we all know both– right?

Well, but the autocorrect doesn’t know both. So, the other night we were texting and my cousin closed with “vespas.” I didn’t know what she meant but I figured context would eventually win out. But, everyone was confused. What could she mean? Who got a vespa? is there another word in Spanish that is close to vespa that she really meant? or is it some new slang that the rest of us don’t know?

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Bilingualism in Hawaii

So, I’m headed out to Hawaii– Oahu more specifically to teach the second half of a course at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, CSD department. I know it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. My colleague Lisa Bedore, taught the first half of the course (we did run into each other at SRCLD— which was amazing, but that’s another post).

What are the languages of Hawaii? Well, not Spanish, although some 2.6% of residents speak Spanish. In addition to English, Tagalog is a language that 5.6% of the resident speak. This is followed by Japanese (4.96%) and Ilocano (4.05%). Hawaiian is one of the states official languages (the other being English) but fewer than .1 of the residents speak Hawaiian as a native langauge.

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If we know more why don’t people act like it?

So last time I posted on the blog, I talked about how we know a lot more this year.  We’ve learned so much more about bilingualism and the positive effects of bilingualism on children’s learning on preservation of language capabilities for people as they age. At the time I wrote that I was feeling rather pessimistic but I ended up writing a post that was optimistic.  So today I’m going to touch on the pessimistic side. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another year: Do we know more?

Most posts I’ve seen reflecting on the past year seem optimistic. And there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. We do know more, and in the bilingualism area in particular there seems to be more awareness of the positive consequences of bilingualism. In aging, bilingualism seems to stave off Alzheimer’s disease. While the reasons for this is not entirely understood, one possibility is that the constantly moving back and forth between two languages enhances the ability to make choices between the two. This practice helps make the brain more efficient. Other theories point to development of more connections in the brain due to bilingualism. These connections form a cognitive reserve that helps to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms.

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Are we what we say?

I’ve continued to read Amy Tan’s The Opposite of Fate. Because it’s non-fiction, I tend to read it in fits and spurts and I jump around from chapter to chapter. I also have pink post-its stuck in pages here and there– I almost never do this with books I read for pleasure (maybe it reminds me of work– where I use virtual post-its in iAnnotate). Anyway, on page 286 here is what Tan writes:

Even more dangerous, in my view, is the temptation to compare both language and behavior in translation.

Here, I think she is talking about making assumptions about what someone thinks based on what they say– or more specifically, based on errors they make in their second language. At the same time, I’m intrigued by the pairing of language and behavior in the context of translation. You see, language is more than the words– more than linguistic equivalence. It is how those words are used in a given cultural context. How those words may or may not match up with actions, facial expressions, and gestures. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Military Gets It

Officials seek bilingual officers for training school. This is the headline of an article I read this morning in my google news. They’re looking for Captains in the Air Force who have Spanish language skills to participate in the Inter-American Squadron Officer School. The program focuses on development of Latin American specialists within the military. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can it be too late?

Usually, my applied work focuses on limiting OVER-identification (false positives) of language impairment in children who speak English as a second language. But, there’s another side to this too and that’s UNDER-identification of language impairment in this same population. I see these patterns in some of the national schools data. From year to year sometimes it looks like preschool English language learners (ELLs) are less likely than average to be identified with language impairment while school-age ELL children are more likely to be diagnosed with language impairment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cognates are wicked cool!

Tami Gollan wrote that in an e-mail discussion we were having about cognates and I love the line, so I borrowed it as my title–  and I agree, cognates are wicked cool! Read the rest of this entry »

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Some updates regarding bilingual aphasia

Its been a while since I posted- been really busy collecting and analyzing data with regards to bilingual aphasia!!
A few updates:
I am going to the Donostia workshop on bilingualism http://www.bcbl.eu/events/ in September which sounds really exciting and interesting!! Any one else going??

Our work on complexity has been in the news lately in Scientific American

Lastly, is there any published work on the issue of language attrition versus disuse? Are they one and the same thing (scientifically- I mean!)?
Till later- Swathi

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Does the home language matter?

So, I’ve been bemoaning the state of the art in bilingual speech-language pathology. I know there’s a reason that services for bilinguals are not always that great and that service providers are not that knowledgeable in this area; very few speech-language pathologists are bilingual. And fewer still have training in bilingualism. I think that it’s a good idea for everyone to get training in bilingualism whether or not they are bilingual because they will still be making decisions that affect the lives of people with communication impairments. Read the rest of this entry »

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