Thursday, 26 July 2012

Bilingual Babies: 13 months

I should name this Bilingual Toddlers as Chloe is now a toddler,she´s no longer a baby and is even walking but I don´t think it has the same ring to it as Bilingual Babies!!!So now she´s walking and she´s always on the go and hardly ever wants to sit still! She´s been concentrating on her new skill so much that her talking skills have been a bit put aside. However, saying that she is still babbling and chatting away to us, albeit in her own particular language, and she is also interacting as if she´s having a conversation with us.

Her understanding is increasing day by day and I´d say she probably understands at least 50% of what we say to her, if not a whole lot more. She dances when she hears music and if we say the word dancing or bailando,she´ll dance all the more!She understands the word no, dog, biscuit and many more words/sentences. One day she put her finger in her nose so I was saying "disgusting" and pulling it out but I did it in a jokey way so it encouraged her to do it all the more!! Anyway, another day I said to my husband something was disgusting or I was telling him what she did later the same day (in English!) and she put her finger up her nose so she obviously recognised the word and associated it with putting her finger up her nose!!

The only words she definitely says are Mama(and she calls everyone Mama lately even my husband...I think she also says it if she wants something), Papa...or Dada occasionally and ma, ma when she´s eating, which sounds a lot like más (more in Spanish but without the "s")but she also says this when she wants something. She also says words that sound like "yasta" which is like I´ve finished or all gone or I´m ready in English. We´ve been reading Where´s Spot?, a lift-the-flap book, and Dear Zoo, another lift-the-flap book and also The Bedtime Bear, yet another lift-the-flap book, all of which have animales including a lion and a snake and we´ve been doing the animal noises with her. All these books are in English but my husband does the books with her in Spanish but luckily a lion and a snake make more or less the same noise in both languages and she´s been repeating the lion roaring and the snake hissing. It´s so cute! If fact for a short time, if you asked her "What does the lion say?" she´d do her little roar but then for some reason, she stopped doing it and only does it now and again when we look at the books and see the lion. She would only ever answer this question in English even though my husband spent many a time trying to answer the same question but in Spanish! It´s all very interesting to see how she´s picking up and processing both languages.

I´ve also been singing all the usual nursery rhymes and songs I´ve mentioned in other posts as well as Row, Row, Row Your Boat, we do this song sat on the floor and bend backwards and forwards as if we are rowing and she loves it! As we trying to encourage her to do the animal noises, I´ve also been singing Old McDonald Had A Farm, Baa Baa Black Sheep and How much is that Doggie In the Window?. I´ve found a Spanish version of Old McDonald too on You Tube but have yet to play it to Chloe, here´s the link: En la granja de mi tío. I´ve also been pointing out all the cuddly toys or ornaments we have which are animals and saying "This is a dog. A dog says/goes "woof,woof"What does a dog say?" "Can you say woof,woof?" to try and encourage her to say them. I got this idea from the book "Quick & Fun Learning Activities for 1 Year Olds" which I borrowed from the public library in Spanish. Dog is a hard one as it makes different sounds in English and Spanish, in English a dog goes "woof-woof" whereas in Spanish it says "guau, guau"!Sometimes she does try and say them but not always!

Here are some other resources I´ve also found that could be of help to other bilingual or multilingual families. The website Bilingualism-Matters is an organisation formed by a group of researchers at theUniversity of Edinburgh and their website offers advice and links to other resources aimed at bilingual or multilingual families.Here is a link to the webpage Infanaj Kantoj, which has a selection of songs and nursery rhymes for children in German, English, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Russian and Welsh.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Square Eyes: A Guide to English Language Kids Programmes

As Chloe grows older, her interest in TV programmes and cartoons grows too. At the moment, she doesn´t really watch too much TV and I´d like to keep it that way as I don´t want her to end up with square eyes! However, I think that TV programmes and DVD´s can be a great way to provide bilingual kids with extra language input but can also be used for any child that is learning a language so I thought I´d take a look at some kids cartoons particularly those of English language origin and those that are shown on Spanish TV.

With DTT many programmes can be switched to the original language and many of the children´s TV programmes on Spanish satellite and cable are of American origin. One channel I really like is BabyTV, which is great for toddlers as it has many short cartoons and animated songs etc and it is really the only channel that seems to catch Chloe´s attention for now.If you click on the link provided, you can find online games, colouring pages to print out and much more. Then there are Dora the Explorer and Go,Diego, Go cartoons, which are aimed at teaching children Spanish phrases or English phrases if you watch the Spanish version. I´m not sure if I think that they really will help kids learn another language and I also find them a little irritating after watching them a couple of times.

Peppa Pig is a British cartoon so is complete with British accents, which are fairly clear and easy to understand. It is a big hit in England and seems to be pretty popular here in Spain...we like it too, even though we are adults!It was being shown on Clan but doesn´t appear to be on for the time being. Clan is a Spanish children´s channel with many popular kids cartoons,if you click on the link you can watch some of your favourite kids cartoons in Spanish or English. Clan is also showing an all-time British kids TV programme classic, Postman Pat, which I loved watching as a child so I´m glad that I will be able to share this with my daughter. However, I think that this is a new, more modern version. The voices of Postman Pat and company seem to have Lancashire or Yorkshire accents, which is also a big plus as this way my daughter and other children can get accustomed to various regional accents.

Fifi and the Flowertots is another British animated cartoon about some flower characters and their adventures so again features British accents including the Lancashire accent, which is excellent for me as I´m a Lancashire lass but haven´t got the accent so at least Chloe will hear it and get accustomed to it!It is shown on NickJr.

For now, that´s all the British cartoons that I´ve found which appear on Spanish TV and Spanish satellite but there are also a couple of Australian programmes that are also shown on Spanish satellite. These cartoons a great way to expose children to other different accents and different vocabulary. Bananas in Pyjamas  is about two bananas,B1 and B2, and their friends and the adventures they have. It is shown on Cartoonito.
Another Aussie cartoon is The Koala Brothers, about...yes, you´ve guessed it!!... two koala brothers who love helping out their friends, also shown on Clan.So these are just some of the kids cartoons I´ve found on Spanish TV and have been watching with Chloe (but I think I´m doing more of the watching than she is!!)and which I hope she´ll enjoy as she grows older. I also hope it´s helped you to find some good cartoons in the English language to watch with your kids!I haven´t looked at American cartoons as the majority of cartoons shown on Spanish TV are American so you have a wide variety to choose from!I´d love to hear Spanish cartoon reccommendations ( that they haven´t been dubbed or translated from another country!)