Posts Tagged bilingualism

Bilingual Symposium

On Monday, we will have three guest speakers: Ellen Bialystok, Karen Emmorey, and Claude Goldenberg at our Bilingual Symposium here at UT hosted by the Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, UT Austin. I know that you all can’t drop everything and come to Austin on Monday morning, but you can watch it livestream. Isn’t technology great!? I think this is a real advantage of being at the Moody College of Communication. Hope you can join us.

Update: you can view the 3 sessions on the HABLA lab youtube channel.

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Bilingualism and Autism

This is autism awareness month and so I thought it would be a good thing to write a post about autism. I’ve been meaning to do this all month and I’m running out of time! A question that people often ask me is whether bilingualism is an added burden for children with language impairment. We demonstrated through a large study of about 1200 preschool kids that no, bilingualism doesn’t increase risk for language impairment. Okay, but what about more severe impairments? What about children with autism who by definition have particular difficulty with social interaction–wouldn’t bilingualism be a source of additional impairment? Given what I know about language impairment I think the answer is no. And, I wonder too if bilingualism would provide children with these kinds of interaction difficulties additional practice at trying to see other’s perspectives. Because language is learned through social interaction—perhaps bilingualism, by learning TWO sets of social interaction rules would HELP children with autism. Okay, maybe that’s going a little beyond what we currently know, but there are some researchers who are starting to tackle the question of bilingualism and autism and it’s really exciting to see this.

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SXSW

This week was SXSW in Austin. I usually try to go see as many movies as possible. It was a lot of fun running from one independent movie to another, but I did have to get some work done so my time was somewhat divided. One of the films I really enjoyed was “Sound City” directed by David Grohl. The movie is about the history of a recording studio in Van Nuys, CA. Nirvana recorded their breakthrough album, Nevermind, at Sound City, along with many rock and roll greats including, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, and many others. I enjoyed listening to the clips of music (and there were a lot) as well as their stories from their years at the studio. The people who recorded there and the folks who ran the studio obviously had a lot of good memories and high regard for each other. 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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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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Gregynog

I’m at a bilingual workshop this week in Wales at Gregynog Hall. The location is fantastic and you don’t really get a sense of the scale of it until you’re here. The focus of the conference is on assessment of bilinguals. It was organized and sponsored by ESRC Centre for Research on Bilingualism in Theory and Practices. There have been a number of interesting talks and exciting discussion. What’s fun about this kind of workshop is that everyone is studying bilingualism albeit in different populations (children and adults for example) and different languages in any number of combinations (including Welsh, Irish, Spanish, Basque, Dutch, and English) and for different purposes (proficiency, ability, dominance). So, I’ll be posting over the next day or so (and probably once I get back) on what I’ve learned here.

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Compensation for Bilingual Skills?

The city of Houston is considering doing away with a $75.00 monthly stipend for bilingual employees in an effort to save money.  Apparently, not paying this stipend could save the city about one million dollars per year. So, should they get these additional skills at no additional cost?   Read the rest of this entry »

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