Thursday, December 15, 2011

Language Development

I think I’ve mentioned this before or at least told a fun story or two in the past. The language development has fascinated me. Not only because the kids are constantly absorbing information like a sponge but also because we are doing two languages at the same time.

I read that after the age of six, our minds start closing language doors. By then the mind is set onto which language it is learning and focuses on that. Before that everything is just sounds that the brain filters a meaning for and can associate many different meanings too.

It is not only easier to learn a second language in the years 1-6 but also props these doors open for further ease of cognitive development/language learning in the future.

I have been fascinated over the past 3.5 years how Stella has developed. Obviously German is her first language but it has only been a rare occasion where she hasn’t understood me. And that is usually when I have been pushing the complexity limit, seeing how far I can push the limits of understanding.

She has constantly amazed me though on her level of understanding, comprehending statements I didn’t expect her to.

And as any child does as they learn a language they mix things up every once and a while. I wanted to share two of our favorite circumstances. One a simple word mix up but the other a testament of understanding and comprehension between two languages.

1. Egg dirt – Stella saw a present wrapped in the form of a triangle. She said,”Wow, sieht aus wie Ei dreck, uh?” what she meant to say was „Dreieck“ a triangle. Loosely translated she said instead egg dirt. It doesn’t seem so funny now that I explain it but it was at that moment.

2. Her new favorite book is “The little engine that could” (thanks Malek family). The last page of the book has a picture of the scene, the broken down engine, the mean engines going to the round house and the Little Blue Engine coming into the picture. When we reach this page I would ask which train is which. The first couple of times she pointed to the Freight train and said this is the “angst” train. I didn’t catch it at first but after questioning her a couple times she said, “yeah daddy, the afraid train”. I guess I was speaking so fast that she understood “a freight” as “afraid” understood it in German “Angst” and was still able to clarify to me what she meant. Wow!

Stella comprehends practically all English that is thrown at her. She has favorite words that she will mix in to a German sentence. She also can say small English sentences when prodded. I think soon she will be able to switch between the two without a problem.

AND now we get to get Emmett in on the fun.

1 comment:

  1. Emmett is ADORABLE! and stella too obviously, but emmett looks like he has grown so much since i last saw pictures! bring them to me!!!