This is a review of the articles, Tweets, Facebook posts and more which went out this week in and around our Multilingual Living universe. Thank you everyone for sharing your tips, tweets, emails and more with me! Were it not for you, this post wouldn’t even be here!
Was Chomsky Wrong?
The media was ablaze this week with reports about a new study published in Nature which argues against the idea of Noam Chomsky’s generative grammar (which says that the brain has hard and fast ordering rules for language).
As published in the Los Angeles Times article, Culture trumps biology in language development, study argues: “For decades, linguists have studied the diverse structures of languages with the idea that there are underlying principles all languages follow — principles that many presumed were programmed into our brains.”
Based on this most recent research (which used biological tools to construct evolutionary trees for four language families), this may not be the case. Below are more media stories on this fascinating new research:
- Language universality idea tested with biology method
- Evolution of Language Takes Unexpected Turn
- Are languages shaped by culture or cognition?
- Evolutionary analysis shows languages obey few ordering rules
- Historical context guides language development
The New American Reality
This video is from Univision so it is targeting Spanish-English speakers. However, the message is true for all bilinguals everywhere, no matter what your language and culture mixtures are. Embrace your unique (yet very universal) multilingual/multicultural identity!
Raising Bilingual Children in Dubai
It should be easy to raise children to speak Arabic in an Arabic speaking country, wouldn’t you think? It must at least be easier than in the United States, right? This is what Holly thought when she and her husband moved from Seattle to Dubai.
However, things didn’t go as planned: Arabic became a hated language for the children – one child only spoke it if prompted and another refused to speak it at all. But in the end, things took a turn for the better after Holly and her husband made some key decisions for their family. Don’t miss this wonderful three-part series:
- Raising Arabic-Speaking Children in our Free Time (Part 1)
- Raising Arabic-speaking Children in Dubai (Part 2)
- Raising Arabic-Speaking Children (Part 3)
When Do Multilinguals Learn Their Languages?
This past week, multilinguals everywhere told Multilingual Living how old they were when they learned their languages. Visit the Multilingual Living Facebook post for to read the inspiring answers! Here are just a few highlights:
- Karina: “I heard the words to Jack & Jill for the first time at 3 and was fascinated by the rhyme. Started learning English at 5 yo. French at 13.”
- Lisa: “First four years of my life, I learned and spoke Portuguese, even with my family members. I started learning both english and Japanese at age 4, then spanish at age 11. Been interested in learning other languages since then ”
- Denisa: “I grew up bilingual( Hungarian and Slovak). Learned English and Russian starting in 5th grade, then German in High School. In college it was French.”
- Sigita: “I am stil learning ) started at 7, 10, 27, 30, 35, …”
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