Today I would like to share with you two links about raising bilingual babies.
Video cortesy TED.com
According to Patricia Kuhl and to her research, babies have a critical period for learning. During the first years of life, in fact, babies are like language geniuses. They learn like a sponge and demostrate a unique responsiveness to different sounds. Unfortunately, when we reach puberty our learning curve becomes insignificant.
The simple truth seems to be that babies can recognize all linguistic sounds from all parts of the world while we adults cannot.
Within the first 7 years of age, a critical period is represented by the first 6-8 months. It appears that during those months babies take statistics of the sounds they learn and behave differently according to the language that they are going to learn. They basically behave like an electronic sampler understanding the statistics of the language that they learn. Different family languages have different sound groups. So, for example, a baby exposed to English or American will not masterize those sounds more typical of the Japanese language.
But what happens to bilingual persons then? It appears that bilingual people take two sets of statistics in mind and possess the ability to switch to the statistic set that they need.
But the most stunning finding is that languages learn trough audio sets and video sets did not help babies improve the statistics of their second language at all. It takes a human being to help a baby take the statistics of a second language on!
The second video I would like to share is from Imported Mama where she speaks about two very basic methods to raise bilingual babies.
The first approach is called Home Language according to which the language spoken at home is different from the language spoken outside the home.
Parental Language, on the other hand, happens when one parents always uses one language while the other parent uses another.
Which one works best for you?