Why do some children who grow up hearing two languages only use one? Our guest, Dr. Annick De Houwer, has been researching this question for years. De Houwer is a professor of language acquisition and multilingualism at the University of Erfurt in Germany and the founder of the Harmonious Bilingualism Network (HaBilNet). We spoke to her about her work, bilingual language development, and what she calls harmonious bilingualism.
De Houwer has conducted extensive research in the field of bilingual acquisition and language development. Her 1990 book “The acquisition of two languages from birth” is considered pioneering work in bilingual acquisition. In addition to her linguistic research, she also examines the socio-emotional aspects of early bilingualism. De Houwer introduced the concept of harmonious bilingual development in 2006.
In this episode, we spoke to Dr. Jackie Relyea, assistant professor of Literacy Education at North Carolina State University. Her research looked at English reading growth in Spanish-speaking bilinguals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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-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.