This is a review of the interesting articles, Tweets, Facebook posts and more which took place this week in and around our Multilingual Living universe. Thank you everyone for sharing your tips with me! Keep them coming!
If a Language Window Closes at Age Six…
…then a big language door must be what opens up after that!
If you viewed the same television shows/newscasts that I viewed this week (the most recent from Australia) you would have heard what I heard, which is that there is a language window that closes at age six and therefore our children really should start learning their second language before that age.
That research is old… very old… ancient! That research is decades old. I (as well as others) were surprised to hear it being passed on, in mainstream media no less! It’s all in black and white in Prof. Grosjean’s book Bilingual: Life and Reality as well as many other books listed in the Multilingual Living Amazon shop! Watch my Language Challenge 101 video where I share some very important quotes with you about this straight from Prof. Grosjean’s book.
The real question is: why are we so swayed by research?
Decades ago, research told us that raising our children bilingually would cause our children cognitive harm. Families stopped speaking their own native languages at home and started speaking the community language. Parents around the world felt great knowing that they were doing the right thing for their children.
But then more research came out, this time proving that raising bilingual children was beneficial, very beneficial. So the next generation of bilingual families went against what their parents did and started speaking their own languages again. In addition, monolingual families started taking their babies to language lessons in the hopes that their babies would reap the cognitive benefits listed in the research.
What does today’s research say? It says that the truth is somewhere in the middle: Raising a child bilingually is not harmful. (Whew!) And it seems to even have benefits. (Great!) But it isn’t necessarily going to turn our children into geniuses. (Are we surprised?) We should remember that most of the world is multilingual – which basically means that being multilingual will at least bring us to the level of average.
I really enjoyed Sonia’s and Nataša’s comments to the October 8th Multilingual Living Facebook wall post. On the one hand, we continually allow research to dictate how we should/shouldn’t raise our children rather than following our parental instincts. Yet, on the other hand, we appreciate research because it supports the parenting choices that we feel are best for our children.
Seattle’s Child Magazine
It was an honor this month to be included in an article in Seattle’s Child Magazine titled, “Raising Bilingual Children.” The author, Laura Wight, spoke with multilingual families and researchers throughout the Seattle area to formulate what I find to be an excellent article. What a delight to see photos of Multilingual Living Facebook friend Melissa Miller with her family! (The photo they included of her family in the hard copy of the magazine was much better than the online one.)
Check out the article and let me know what you think! If you live in the Seattle area and are interested in learning all about raising bilingual children, make sure to sign up for my Oct. 16th seminar. It is going to be really fun this time around (I’m working on a whole new set of slides and handouts)!
NEXT PAGE 1 2