Posts Tagged ‘immigrant baby’

Language Learning

February 21st, 2011 No 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!