As many of you know, I've been researching while I write this blog and take care of my baby nephew. Reading about the history of bilingualism, theories of second language acquisition in children, and anecdotes about bilingual kids is definitely interesting, but right now I'm more interested in finding out what works well so I can start applying it right away with Carl. Specifically, I've been wondering about music lately: I've found lots of music in French for children, and I play it almost constantly when I'm watching him, and I leave some for his parents to play on the other days. Here's what I want to know:
• Does playing music in French help at all when he's only six months old?
• Should we be reinforcing it some or all of the time, like showing him pictures of items that appear in the song and saying the words and/or using gestures to mimic the actions of the songs, or singing along with the songs, or translating the gist of the song into English? Or using baby sign language to illustrate the song?
• What's the best frequency? Should we play one CD--or even one song--over and over for a day or a week or more so that he gets very familiar with it? Or should we expose him to as much as possible?
• Will he be confused when his parents and grand-parents, who speak exclusively in English with him, play music in French? (My research has indicated that even infants can recognize different languages and have expectations about who is "supposed" to speak what.)
• And finally, how does his age factor into it? (He can't very well be encouraged to sing along yet, and we're just barely starting to use sign language with him.)
Okay. Any advice or ideas are much appreciated!