Posts Tagged second language

From Two to Three

Is it easier to learn another language if you already know two? I’ve always suspected this was the case. First, in my own experience learning French in high school some things just seemed to come easier. I remember I used a reflexive one day and my teacher wanted to know where I had learned that since we hadn’t gotten to reflexive yet. To me, it “sounded” right. Probably because Spanish uses pretty much the same structure in this case. Of course I could have had an advantage for French learning because I knew Spanish and not because of bilingualism. But, I feel like I can throw Spanish at my bilingual friends even if their other language isn’t Spanish. I sensed that they “got it” in a way that monolinguals didn’t. So, it’s a question I’ve sometimes wondered about. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bilingual Literacy

This article in the Santa Rosa Democrat brought to mind the notion of bilingual literacy. What is bilingual literacy?  Bilingual literacy or biliteracy is the notion of going beyond being orally proficient in two language to becoming highly fluent in speaking, reading, and writing and learning about other cultures. It also emphasizes strong skills in both the majority language– English and a foreign language. In the context of the “bilingual path” that the Windsor schools are going to recognize it’s about cultural, spoken, and written knowledge in two (or more) languages.

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My Son Wants to Learn Spanish

He’s 12. He wanted to use up his savings to buy Rosetta Stone. But, really his monolingualism isn’t anything that an immersion experience couldn’t fix to a certain extent. In the end he settled on taking accelerated Spanish next year in the 7th grade.

At the same time, he WAS bilingual. I remember that his receptive Spanish was pretty good when he was about 5 and he was putting sentences together (even though some were somewhat ungrammatical). I ran across his test scores from when he participated in the norming study on the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment. His scores in syntax and semantics were much better in English (a good 20% higher), but his Spanish scores were well within the expected range for his age for Spanish speakers. So, what happened?? Read the rest of this entry »

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Cognate Advantage

This article caught my eye today. It’s published in Psych Science and looks at the effects of L2 on L1. Often, studies of sequential bilinguals look at the effects of L1 on L2, but here the investigators examined reading effects of L2 on L1. Specifically, participants were young adults (college students) who were native speakers of Dutch. They spoke (and read) English as a second language. They were asked to read passages in Dutch while investigators tracked their eye movements. What’s really cool about eye-tracking studies is that they offer a “window” into how a person is processing information. If they allocate a lot of attention to something it might be because they need extra time to decode or process. If they spend less time on something it’s likely because they were able to assimilate that information quickly. Read the rest of this entry »

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