Habláme Bebé: A Chat with Dr. Melissa Baralt

We know that giving bilingual children exposure in the minority language is crucial for their language development, but for some parents speaking their heritage language to their children in an English-dominant society is challenging. In this episode, we speak to Dr. Melissa Baralt, an associate professor of applied psycholinguistics at Florida International University, and the creator of Háblame Bebé, an app aimed at helping Hispanic families foster language development in their children.

Dr. Melissa Baralt

Through the app and her research work, Dr. Baralt has focused on empowering parents to pass on their heritage language to their children and to develop a positive socio-linguistic identity.

Mentioned in this Episode


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What Kind of Spanish Do You Speak? Language and Social Perceptions

Our perceptions about what kind of bilingual we want our kids to be are rooted in what we feel is acceptable Spanish. But where do these ideas of what is “correct” or “incorrect” come from?

In this episode, we speak to Salvatore Callesano, a sociolinguistic researcher and instructor at The University of Texas at Austin, about the relationship between linguistics and social perceptions and the effect these can have on bilingual children and youth in the US.

Salvatore Callesano

Mentioned in this episode

Additional reading


Join the Entre Dos Facebook community to share your experiences, questions, and discoveries with us and other parents raising bilingual kids.

The Bilingual Advantage: A Research Update

Is being bilingual/multilingual an advantage for cognitive development? The answer is not straightforward. You’ve likely heard about the bilingual advantage, this idea that people who have two or more languages develop cognitive advantages, particularly within the realm of executive function which is responsible for things like attention and task-switching. Research to date has yielded conflicting findings and, according to some researchers, the debate over whether there’s a bilingual advantage or not has reached a stalemate.

Dr. Anthony Dick

In this episode, we talked to Dr. Anthony Dick, an associate professor of developmental science and cognitive neuroscience at Florida International University. He published a study that found no evidence of advantages in executive function in 9- and 10-year-old bilingual children.

Continue reading “The Bilingual Advantage: A Research Update”

Bilingualism and Speech Delays: Dispelling Myths

A common misconception or myth about bilingualism is that it causes speech language delays. In this episode, Claudia Serrano Johnson, a speech language pathologist (SLP) and founder of Laleo Therapy in Virginia breaks down these misconceptions and shares red flags parents should look out for in their child’s speech language development. You’ll also hear the experience of Zayra Marrero Burgos, an SLP who has a son with developmental delays.

Claudia Johnson (left); Zayra Marrero Burgos (right)

Mentioned in this episode

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) – this professional, scientific and credentialing association has a directory of certified professionals.

Additional Reading

Learning Two Languages, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

How do you know when it’s a language delay versus a disorder?, Leader Live, April 14, 2015

Does Bilingualism Cause a Language Delay?, Multilingual Living, May 31, 2010

On Heritage, Language and Identity

Are your motivations for raising bilingual children emotional or pragmatic? Maybe a little bit of both? We had an interesting conversation with Sabine Little, Lecturer in Languages Education and Researcher at the University of Sheffield, where her research explores the ties between heritage languages and identity.

Continue reading “On Heritage, Language and Identity”

A Matter of Exposure

If you’re raising bilingual children, you’ve likely heard the word exposure over and over again. We need to give our kids exposure to the target language, right? But what is exposure? How is it defined in the context of bilingualism? And more importantly, how much is enough? Does quality matter more than quantity?

Continue reading “A Matter of Exposure”

Music and Bilingualism

Music is one of the easiest ways to start building a connection to language. Even if you’re not a musical person, there’s a universality to music that makes it an effective tool for transferring knowledge. We’ve seen it in our homes.

In this episode, we spoke to Dr. Susanne Reiterer, associate professor at the Faculty of Philology and Cultural Studies and the Center for Teacher Education in the University of Vienna, and to Will Stroet, an award-winning multilingual children’s music singer-songwriter and educator based in Vancouver.

 

You’ll hear about the connection between musicality and language learning and how music can be an effective tool to teach languages.

In preparation for this episode, we asked our listeners to share their favorite music and artists to listen to in their target language. See the full list of bilingual music recommendations. It’s a good one!

 

Family Dynamics and Bilingualism

What does your bilingual family look like? Do you speak only the minority language at home? Do you speak both English and the target language? Do you speak English-only? In this episode, we explore how these family dynamics influence outcomes in bilingualism.

Joining us to discuss this is Dr. Anny Castilla-Earls from the University of Houston, and a group of parents raising bilingual children.

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Annick De Houwer

ADDITIONAL READING

The Languages You Speak To Your Bilingual ChildPsychology Today, Oct. 24, 2014

One-Person, One-Language and Your Bilingual ChildPsychology Today, April 1, 2015

Decoding the Bilingual Brain: Part II

What goes on in our brains when we speak more than one language? Dr. Arturo Hernandez, a professor of psychology and Director of the Laboratory for the Neural Bases of Bilingualism at the University of Houston, has spent 15 years investigating bilingual language processing and acquisition.

This week, in the second part of our interview, we discuss how second-language literacy can aid in cementing a language, the role of age in language acquisition and what expected language development looks like (hint: it’s not linear). Arturo also shares what he’s working on now.

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

The Bilingual Brain by Arturo E. Hernandez, Oxford University Press

Age of Acquisition

Biliteracy

The Bilingual Brain, Coursera

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Decoding the Bilingual Brain: Part I

What goes on in our brains when we speak more than one language? Dr. Arturo Hernandez, a professor of psychology and Director of the Laboratory for the Neural Bases of Bilingualism at the University of Houston, has spent 15 years investigating bilingual language processing and acquisition.

This week, in the first part of our two-part interview, he discusses how the brain is able to process multiple languages, code-switching and his own experience as a multilingual and a parent of bilingual children.

Continue reading “Decoding the Bilingual Brain: Part I”

Frambuesa or Raspberry? Expert Anny Castilla-Earls tells us what we can expect from an emergent bilingual mind

Mami, quiero raspberries. Statements like these may make you worry about your child’s grasp of the language you’re working so hard to teach him or her, but much of what worries us as parents of bilingual children is typical of their development. What is expected bilingual development? And what can we as parents do to help our kids maintain the language?

Anny Castilla-EarlsAnny Castilla-Earls is an associate professor and researcher at the department of communication disorders and sciences at the University of Houston. Her research focuses on language development, assessment, and disorders in monolingual and bilingual children. She’s also mom to six-year-old bilingual twins and a passionate advocate for bilingualism.

Aside from telling us about her bilingual family, Anny shared her expertise on raising bilingual children.

Continue reading “Frambuesa or Raspberry? Expert Anny Castilla-Earls tells us what we can expect from an emergent bilingual mind”