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Language Learning

February 21st, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

It is not obvious, but English is technically my second language.  For the first two years of my life, the language I heard was the Filipino dialect, Tagalog. Then we moved to Canada just after 2 years and I started to hear more English.  In this video Patricia Kuhl speaks about the linguistic genius of babies and their findings really make sense of how I remember experiencing the world with two languages.

By the time I was 4 years old our parents were speaking less Tagalog at home because my older brother and I would make our half of the conversation in English.  I think we realized in our new environment that English was the preferred and most widely used.  Because the tagalog language is a collage of different European and Asian language sounds, learning French in high school and beginning Spanish in adulthood had a very natural feeling, as if my brain has been waiting for me to engage those sounds.

Recently, I have become more and more keen to learn Mandarin.  I enjoy traveling and hearing other languages so I feel frustrated with my linguistic limitations, especially when I was in Taiwan in 2007.  My interest in Mandarin is a bit surprising because 4 years ago when I was immersed in it, my interest in learning the language was very little.  I didn’t think it sounded nice, but now I’m associating people to the sounds of Mandarin, just by living in Vancouver and having friends who speak it.  I like to think that if I am ever to raise a child, I would expose them to other languages as much as possible within the first 7 years while the brain is wide open for possibilities.

I am working on reading and listening to Spanish, but I think what would really be effective is to go to warm, sunny Mexico for a few weeks had have the immersion experience!

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