Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Bilingual Babies: 9-12 months

I´ve been meaning to update you on Chloe´s progess sooner but seeing as there isn´t really much to report,plus I´ve been really busy, I´m finally getting round to it now!Chloe´s understanding of both Spanish and English is really taking off now as well as the phrases I mentioned in this post, she waves when we say bye,bye and adiós, shakes her head when we say "No" and gives us things when we say "Give it to Daddy", "Dale a máma". I´ve also started to include phrases like "How big is Chloe?" and moving her arms out wide and "How tall is Chloe?" and stretching her arms up high above her head and her Daddy has been doing the same in Spanish so she is starting to put her hands up high when she hears the Spanish phrase...I need to work more on the English phrases!!

I´ve been trying to teach her parts of the body so I´ve been touching parts of my face with her hand and saying the word and singing "Head, Shoulders,Knees and Toes" to her and just recently she is starting to touch her head when I say head.I´ve also been singing and doing Round and Round the Garden and This Little Piggy with her a lot.I´ve also been singing and doing the actions to Incy Wincy Spider a lot too and I have also discovered that there is a Spanish version of this nursery rhyme so she´s listened to that a couple of times too.Our cleaner sings her the Spanish nursery rhyme Pica, pica Pollito.

As far as speaking goes, she´s still not saying much.She babbles and sings loads and there´s a lot of "da-dada-da"ing and there was the proud moment,when she first said "ma-ma-ma"...however I don´t think she calls us mama or dada indistinctly. She definitely says "da-da-da" more than "ma-ma-ma" and sometimes when she says "ma-ma-ma", it´s when she´s eating so I´m not sure if that´s what she´s saying or she´s actually going "yum,yum,yum!"She´s also starting to say "pa-pa-pa" too and some of her babbling noises sound like words like "aqua" or "daddy". I´m hoping our trip to England this summer will really improve her speaking,particularly in English!

I have discovered a couple of new resources that you might find interesting. The first is Mantralinga, a publishing house based in the UK, which sells bilingual books and other resources such as posters, Talking Pens and Talking Labels in 52 languages. I haven´t bought anything from their website yet but I think their products sound very useful. Another website is Multilingual Children´s Association, which gives you tips and advice on bringing up children bilingually or multilingually, from starting your own bilingual playgroup,immersion programmes, learning tips to resources and it also reccommends books to help you on the way. You can also read and comment on issues that concern you in the forums and download a directory with classifieds, favourite resources etc.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Bilingual Family: A Handbook for Parents: A Review

I wanted to do more research into bringing up a child bilingually and after reading the reviews of books about bilingualism on Amazon, I wasn´t really persuaded into purchasing any particular books. I had the brainwave of seeing if my local library stocked any books about bilingualism, which it surprizingly did, so I borrowed The Bilingual Family: A Handbook For Parents by Edith Harding-Esch and Philip Riley(2nd edition).However, this meant the added complication of reading it in Spanish!

Although this book is fairly simple to read, it does read more like a textbook so therefore I found it a bit dry and boring in places. The book gives examples of different types of bilingualism and language acquisition,which although is interesting for me as a teacher, is not really relative or important for me as the mother of a bilingual child.  I was looking for a book that would give me more ideas and suggestions about how to raise a bilingual child not a book that delves more into the linguistic elements of being bilingual.

The best thing about the book is the case studies of various families and the methods they used to bring up their children bilingually and their experiences. The authors also include examples from their own experiences of bringing up children.

I also find this book a little dated as it tries to debunk the myths or preconceptions people had in the past about bilingualism, which I think hardly exist now. It also talks about resources such as sending emails on the Internet and videos but doesn´t mention more modern resources such as iPhones and apps, videocalls on the Internet and YouTube videos, DVD´s, audiobooks etc.

All in all, I have to agree with the more negative reviews of this book on Amazon which you can read here. This book is good if you are interested in bilingualism but is not so useful if are looking for a manuel on how-to approaches of bringing up a child bilingually. I´m glad I did not buy this book and I´d reccomend borrowing it from your local library if you decide you want to read it!