Posts Tagged adult

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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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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Not Mastering English (Yet)

Do graduates of American high schools need to master English before they finish High School? A decision by the Oregon Board of Education says no. What is this about? What is mastery of a language anyway? Read the rest of this entry »

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Update on Academy of Aphasia satellite meeting on bilingual aphasia

Its been more than a month since we hosted the satellite meeting on bilingual aphasia at Boston University and here is an update. The meeting was a great success! We had about 45 attendees from across the world including Australia, China, Malaysia, Turkey, Norway, India and of course USA. Even more impressive was the number of languages that the researchers collectively represented, easily over 20 different languages. Clearly the topic of bilingual aphasia is of increasing research interest worldwide.

We are in the process of developing the new bilingual aphasia website– stay tuned to this page for information about the new URL. We will have video clips of various speakers at the meeting (Yasmeen Faroqi Shah, Nina Dronkers, Mira Goral, MJ Taintourier, Susan Edwards, Anthony Kong and Brian McWhinney) discuss what they thought were burning issues in the field of bilingual aphasia.  We also hope to develop the website into a resource site for articles on bilingual aphasia and perhaps a way for bilingual aphasia researchers to connect and network.

So, stay tuned for information about this website. Also, thanks to all the people who attended for make this event possible and a success.

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Regional Dialects and L2 Learners

My original intent was to write about our new article coming out in the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (shameless plug I know), but this news article about L2 learners learning to distinguish spoken words by reading caught my eye.  

In the original study published in PLoS ONE the authors argue that seeing a written word in addition to hearing it helps listeners to figure out what the word is (when it’s distorted or an element is missing). This helps listeners within a language understand another regional dialect (say an American English speaker hearing Australian English or a Mexican Spanish speaker listening to Argentine Spanish). Of course some of the differences are lexical but many are about the sounds and stress patterns. 

The authors proposed that this same strategy could be used for second language learners who were used to another regional variety of that language. They had Dutch speakers who knew English watch excerpts of TV shows in Australian English or Scottish English (the participants indicated they had not spent significant time in either country). Three conditions were used: no subtitles, subtitles in English, subtitles in Dutch with half the participants watching Scottish and the other half Australian excerpts.

The Dutch participants were tested after watching 25 minutes of an episode. They listened to sentences from Scottish English and Australian English and had to repeat them.  One quarter of the sentences were from the show they had watched, 1/4 were in the same dialect, but hadn’t heard the particular sentences before, and the rest (1/2) were from the other dialect. Read the rest of this entry »

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Immigrant Parents and Language Learning

I am the child of immigrants. Like many children growing up in dual language environments, I grew up speaking a home language (Spanish) and although I knew some English, I learned most of my English in school– starting in kindergarten. My mother in fact says we learned English together.  As a child I quickly became aware that the English spoken by my parents and that spoken by the rest of the world was not the same. Today, I came across this article in SF Gate where Jeff Yang talked about conversations with his mother-in-law in context of reading two popular blogs: my mom is a fob and my dad is a fob. I laughed and I cried, what can I say. These are exactly the kinds of interactions I’ve had with my parents and continue to have with my mom. Malapropisms, eggcorns, and spoonerisms— I had to have a whole dictionary for what my parents meant. But, through it all parents convey that they love their children and that they care. While the two fob sites draw on examples of Asian moms and dads– let me tell you this stuff isn’t limited to Asian parents!  There are so many wonderful examples of exactly the kinds of interactions I had with my parents (okay, the accents and words were different but with the same kinds of slips and intents). Read the rest of this entry »

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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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The Stories Children Tell

In Two Languages

I like to use stories to teach children language skills and also to assess children’s language. Stories are a good way to observe children’s vocabulary, grammar, and overall organization. By early school age we expect children to tell complete stories including a statement of the problem, attempts to solve the problem, and a resolution. What’s especially useful about narrative analysis is that stories are highly familiar to children from many different backgrounds. At the same time, it’s important to note that across cultures various aspects and kinds of stories are emphasized. What about bilingual children’s stories?

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Ok more about bilingual aphasia

I do have another poll/question for every one out there:

what is the best/reliable/popular standardized test for assessing bilingual aphasia?

1. Western Aphasia Battery?

2. BDAE?

3. Bilingual aphasia Test?

Does anyone have opinions of why one is better than the other? If you are responding to this post please post your references.

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Narrative Tasks in Bilingual Aphasia

Here is a conundrum:

If there are other researchers out there collecting narrative data from adult bilinguals, please provide your input.

For patients with bilingual aphasia, would  you:

(a) use narrative tasks that have been normed on adult bilingual adults or bilingual children (e.g., Frog where are you?) and try to extend them aphasia?


(b) use narrative tasks that have been normed on adult aphasic patients (e.g., Cinderella) and extend the sample to bilingual adults.

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