Multilingual Living’s Week in Review – June 12

by Corey · 0 comments

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!

Early Bilingualism: Myths & Realities
I am a big, big fan of Prof. Fred Genesee and am delighted to say that when I met him in person a few years back, he was as kind, knowledgeable and engaging as I had expected he would be. In fact, I still include one of the articles that he wrote for Multilingual Living Magazine in my Raising Bilingual Children seminar handouts.

This week a set of PDF slides from Prof. Genesee came my way via @Morsmal on Twitter which I highly recommend that you check out! It is titled Early Bilingualism: Myths & Realities. Unfortunately, we are not able to hear what Prof. Genesee has to say about each of the slides. However, I believe you will be able to get a general understanding of his key points. You may also want to consider purchasing Dual Language Development & Disorders – a fantastic book that he co-authored!

International Symposium on Bilingualism
The 8th International Symposium on Bilingualism starts on June 15th at the University of Oslo. You can learn more about the symposium at the main ISB8 page and make sure to check out the full conference program. Let us know if you are attending and what you think of it! Wish I could be there!!! Below is a sample of the amazing music that will open the conference:

Is Accent or Grammar/Vocabulary More Important?
This week on the Multilingual Living Facebook page, you answered the question:

“What do you think is more important to have in a non-native language: (1) a good accent or (2) good vocabulary and grammar?”

Below are just a few of your fantastic answers:

The conversation continued after Barbara brought up the distinction between accent and pronunciation:

These are just a portion of the thoughtful and engaging comments that were posted. If you are on Facebook, you can view the whole list of conversations at the Multilingual Living Facebook wall post or just go to the main Multilingual Living Facebook page and scroll down until you find the conversation.

Please add your own thoughts! And while there, make sure to click the LIKE button at the top to keep in the loop on these fascinating conversations!

Seeing Languages Differently
How does our language influence how we see the world around us? You might answer “a lot!” But how, exactly? What are the elements that change our perceptions? In an article from 2010 titled Seeing Languages Differently, Dr. Michael Shaughnessy, a German professor who specializes in computer assisted language learning and visual representations of culture at Washington & Jefferson College, shows us how two areas have a great influence on our perception of our world: color and space. Check out the article, it is worth reading!

Why Bialystok Thinks We Should Learn Languages
As you all know, I love hearing about the benefits of bilingualism but I worry if people strive for bilingualism solely for the cognitive benefits that is purports. There is so much that goes into keeping our brains robust – eating healthy foods should be at the top of the list! In an article about Bialystok’s research that came out today, Bilingual brains are more healthy, Bialystok gave the following reason why we should learn languages in school (and I totally agree!):

Language should be a central part of the curriculum but not because bilingualism postpones the onset of dementia: any intellectually engaged activity requiring intense involvement will keep your brain healthy. Learning other languages is important because it helps you understand other people, other cultures, other ways of thinking. Even if it didn’t change your brain, there are just so many benefits.

In the Forum
Here are some latest posts in the Multilingual Living Forum that you might want to check out:

News, Stories, and More…
The following are news reports, research, stories and more that came my way via Twitter this week:

  • Learning to Be French in Brooklyn: “French dual-language programs, which didn’t exist in New York City public schools five years ago, are booming across the city, spurred by lobbying efforts from the French community.”
  • 30 Myths about Bilingualism: Check out this list of bilingualism myths and help translate them into your language!
  • Creative Learning Academy teachers bringing language to life: “By the time students finish eighth-grade Spanish, they are writing 500- to 800-word essays and giving oral presentations.”
  • Ellen Bialystok: «El bilingüismo protege contra el Alzheimer»: The same Bialystok interview that we mentioned in our June 5th Week in Review post is translated into Spanish.
  • No spin please, we′re German: “To understand why social media spin programs don’t work in Germany, it’s necessary to look at the mainstream media. In stark contrast to the clearly-stated political allegiance of news outlets in other countries (prominent examples being Fox News in the US, the Sun and the Mirror in the UK), German media is largely focused on reporting and analyzing the facts – without adding the political bias.”
  • The story of a boy who learned 11 languages: “The boy in the story was born in the Gujarat region of India. Gujarati was the language he spoke at home with his parents. When he went to school he learned English and Sanskrit. These languages were mandatory there. The boy was shy and often afraid. He was a mediocre student during his years in primary school. His father did not have any formal education beyond high school.” The story continues on the Early Languages blog.
  • There are many ways to slice a carrot…: “This post is not about soup.  No, it’s not about carrots either.  It’s about a privilege to discover who you truly are, and acting on it.  It is also about the connection between expats and creativity, and more on that will be in the concluding thoughts of my post.”
  • Accent attitudes: “Better Half often complains that while he was treated like a god (the god of what, I don’t know) when he first went to live and work in the US in the early 1990s, nowadays he’s ‘nothing special’ when we go to the States.”
  • Be It Numbers or Words, the Structure of Our Language Remains the Same: “It is one of the wonders of language: We cannot possibly anticipate or memorize every potential word, phrase, or sentence. Yet we have no trouble constructing and understanding myriads of novel utterances every day. How do we do it? Linguists say we naturally and unconsciously employ abstract rules — syntax.”

Final Thought

Here is a quote @ExpatCoachMegan sent out this week:

The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes.
–Marcel Proust

Do you have any tips, suggestions or information that you would like to share with us at Multilingual Living? Join me on Twitter, get into the conversation on the Multilingual Living Facebook page, and send me an email whenever you’d like to connect. I always enjoy connecting with other bilingual and multilingual families!

Corey Heller is the founder of Multilingual Living and the Editor-In-Chief/Publisher of Multilingual Living Magazine. Multilingual Living is the place where she shares her knowledge about raising multilingual and multicultural children. Corey, an American, and her German husband live in Seattle where they raise and homeschool their three children, ages 15, 14 and 12, in German and English.

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