On 19 Nov, Mark J. Reed wrote: > On 11/19/06, Benct Philip Jonsson <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >> I wonder if there has been any >> research on the difference between children learning a >> language being immersed in a community, or only from a few >> adults in an immigrant milieu? > > Only lots. :) Most of it is driven by either (1) the desire to > improve the language skills of children raised bilingually with > limited exposure to the minority language, or (2) the desire to > measure the impact of the above on majority language skills. The > results of the former which I've encountered are what one might > expect: the more exposure the better, Don't I know it! (For those who don't know me or don't remember me, I am a speech-language-pathologist, working in Israel.) I keep getting kids referred to me in First Grade with the complaint of: "serious deficiency in vocabulary" and "non-existent language use in any area". We're not talking about unfortunates with brain damage or other problems. We're talking about perfectly normal kids who were born and raised right here in Israel, and who for their first 6 years have never heard or seen a single word of Hebrew, the language of the society that surrounds them. (Forget about what the parents speak --- with cable TV, they never have to watch Hebrew-language programming; they have tons of books, newpapers,CDs, DVDs, all of which are in their parents' L1, none of which are in Hebrew; the neighborhood kids, though mostly bilingual, will usually speak the kids' non-Hebrew L1 to them upon request, and so on and so forth --- you get the idea!) And since they are native-born Israelis, the Powers-That-Be assume that they all speak Hebrew and refuse to provide them with classes for learning the lang! So they get referred to me for "speech therapy"! In fact, recently I saw just such a kid --- but one whose exposure is even *less* due to the fact that the school itself conducts classes in the language spoken in the home! (But the kids are somehow expected to pick up enough Hebrew (from *where*???) to do the homework and pass the tests, all of which are given in Hebrew! (Huh???) Somehow, most of the kids manage to do this, (Double Huh???) except for this kid who was having problems learning a lang with practically zero exposure to it! So I got an offer I couldn't refuse and now I am attempting to teach this kid Hebrew! ( I'm a therapist, Jim, not a miracle-worker! ;-) ) > but even one daily interlocutor > is sufficient for the child to gain fluency in the language. The most > important thing is consistency. Reminds me of a family I knew here in Israel. The kid spoke 4 langs fluently: French with his mother, English with his father, Hebrew with the neighborhood kids and with guests (although with me, he obviously could have spoken English), and Hungarian with his grandparents! That kid was very well organized! > > In the second case, there have been conflicting results as to whether > or not the minority language learning is harmful to progress in the > majority language, but the consensus seems to be that it isn't. It'd > be nice if more professionals (educators, speech therapists, etc) were > familiar with such research. I don't know about educators etc., but for American speech-language-pathologists, at least, there should be no excuse! The main professional association in the US is very interested in the problems of therapy in situations where more than one lang is spoken and where English is not the L1, and where more than one culture is involved. There is even a division of the association devoted entirely to (as its name suggests) "Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations". I receive their newsletter! (In fact, the latest issue is sitting on my (real live wooden) desktop, staring at me and begging to be read! But, of course, there are priorities in life: conlang first, *then* professional literature! ;-) ) At least in the US, it's very common for > parents raising bilingual children to encounter resistance or > hostility from professionals who are far too ready to lay any problems > at the feet of the bilingual environment. Although I am the *last* person to discourage bi-(or multi-)lingualism, (let alone "creative lingualism" ;-) ), I have to add that I *have* seen disastrous outcomes of parents trying to raise bilingual children --- usually when they try to push too hard and attempt to ram it down the kids' throats. (But then again, trying to ram *anything* a kid doesn't want down his/her throat can end up messy! Ever try to force-feed a baby mashed vegetables? It ain't pretty! ;-) ) It's also true , though, that a bilingual kid who has not completely separated out his langs can have cross-linguistic interference. For example, putting adjectives before nouns in Hebrew (they generally come after the noun) because his other lang puts them before nouns. IME, sometimes the bilingual environment is part of the problem; sometimes it isn't. You just have to judge each case on its own merits. Dan Sulani ------------------------------------------------ likehsna rtem zuv tikuhnuh auag inuvuz vaka'a. A word is an awesome thing.