Archive for category in the news
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 »
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.
There’s been at least two articles recently on the SAT verbal drop in scores over the last 40 years. One article notes that verbal scores are associated with communication skills, learning, and holding a job. Indeed verbal skills are important, I certainly think they are anyway, it’s the focus of my research. One of the problems that Hirsch notes in this article is that this drop is associated with changes in curriculum. Specifically, a shift from a focus on deep knowing and interacting with course content, to what he calls a “skills-based” approach to learning. I think kids need both skills and deep interaction with content (e.g., literature) that can help children build verbal skills. An important thing he notes is that verbal skills can be taught. Read the rest of this entry »
I thought this was an interesting post on babble, the author discusses the advantages for children of having a nanny that speaks another language. This is a totally new take on bilingualism and one that isn’t often heard. Some people anyway, are getting the message that it could be an advantage for their children to know another language.
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
Read this story this morning, which I thought was interesting. A high school girl writes about not being bilingual in Chinese and English. She indicates that she used to be fluent, but has lost her home language–Chinese.
Here’s a report on a recent study comparing transitional bilingual education with structured English immersion:
I’m doubtful. What can I say. But, every time I turn around it seems that yet another school district is cutting bilingual education. For me, it doesn’t add up. The most recent story I saw is one in Florida where Orange County Schools will cut programs for more than 1,000 children. Officials are said to have cited class size and time allowed for special language programs.
Two articles I read this week highlighted the power and role in developing communication across cultures bilingualism can have. While the two articles are otherwise unrelated they struck a chord. Read the rest of this entry »
I read this story about the bus accident in Arizona and how a boy, 11 years old, translated for paramedics and firefighters at the scene. In what was most likely total chaos and confusion, and despite his own injuries, this child translated for people who were injured so that the rescue workers could do their jobs. Wow!
Is translation that remarkable? I would say yes. Partly, because it’s hard to do (and partly because I’m not so good at it). But first, some terms. Although typically we think about both written and oral translation as translation, these involve different, related processes. Typically translation refers to conversion of one written language to another. And interpretation refers to listening to one language and producing what is heard in the other (more on these differences here).