My poor brain has been through the wringer this past month - I speak English in my day-to-day, with scattered Chichewa and Swahili words thrown in, have conversations in French with certain refugees, and now just spent a week speaking German to my relatives! And as much as I love learning new languages, trying to pick up the bits of Chichewa or Swahili that I hear is difficult! I am not immersed in it - actually, most refugees want to work on their English and prefer to converse in it, or in French.
I recently read an article about bilingual babies compared to monolingual babies, and the differences that learning multiple languages at a young age can make in brain development. The findings are fascinating, and I am so thankful that I was around multiple languages as a baby and young child, as I have definitely noticed throughout my life that language acquisition is often easier for me than for friends who didn't have a second language spoken in the home.
Here are some key quotes from the article:
“What the study demonstrates is that the variability in bilingual babies’ experience keeps them open,” said Dr. Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington and one of the authors of the study. “They do not show the perceptual narrowing as soon as monolingual babies do. It’s another piece of evidence that what you experience shapes the brain.”
"In a study of older infants shown silent videotapes of adults speaking, 4-month-olds could distinguish different languages visually by watching mouth and facial motions and responded with interest when the language changed. By 8 months, though, the monolingual infants were no longer responding to the difference in languages in these silent movies, while the bilingual infants continued to be engaged."
If you'd like to read more, check out the article here.
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Welcome! My name is Katiana and I am a development professional pursuing my dream to live out Isaiah 1:17 to the best of my abilities. I am passionate about teaching and working with vulnerable families and children to improve their lives sustainably.
This blog is composed of my personal opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of institutions or organizations that I may be or have been affiliated with.