Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Well, it's the holidays and that means that Laniña gets to see - and hear - a lot more of me. I´ve been off work for about two weeks now and have noticed two fascinating, yet probably quite obvious things:

First week off and I was away on my own, minus partner and sproglet. When I returned I noticed that Laniña´s ENGLISH had improved tremendously. Interesting. Her English is within normal parameters of development, yet my partner and I both feel that Laniña is slightly behind some of her contemporaries. This may or may not have been caused by my speaking Spanish to her, and now it seems that that is indeed the case, since without Spanish her English leaps ahead. This is perhaps kinda worrying, yet also reassuring since it also suggests that her English can catch up pretty easily should I ever decide to stop with the Spanish (and at this stage, I don´t think she´ll let me - nor do I feel inclined to!).

This week, however, I´ve been hanging out with Laniña loads. And guess what? That´s right! Her Spanish has improved tremendously! What a surprise. She has started replying to me in Spanish again, where she had started basically mostly talking to me in English, and has been attempting longer sentences. So, the stunning conclusion of all this is that the more input in a language my child gets, and the more opportunities to speak, the better she gets at it! Hardly a world-shaking revelation, I´m sure you´ll agree, but nevertheless I find it both reassuring and encouraging!

Monday, 14 July 2008

A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism

So, I sometimes get uncomfortable about the fact that we're really just making a lot of our bilingual-metholodogy (so to speak) up as we go along. There are several good sources of advice, including multilingual munchkins (which is a yahoo email newsgroup or something) and a couple of friends who are doing similar things. But at the same time, all kids are different, and all our situations are different, so it's difficult to make direct comparisons.

Therefore it's nice to find a book which pretty much answers, at length and with considerable academic clout, most of the questions which a person might have about issues surrounding bilingualism. I recommend it highly. Colin Baker himself is not only an academic studying issues around bilingualism, but has a bilingual family of his own in North Wales, so you can sense both points of view, academic and personal, throughout the book.

The only thing is that there isn't much about folks in my situation who are bringing up a child through a non-native second language, but nevertheless it was well worth the cover price!