Sunday, May 11, 2008

future bilingual bibliophile

Griffin seems to show interest in reading at a very young age, just like his cousin did.

(By the way, it's my very first Mother's Day!
I'm one very lucky maman.)


  1. Your baby is gorgeous! :)

    Happy Mothers Day!!!!

  2. Whoa ... smart boy! Happy 1st Mothers Day!

  3. Happy Mother's Day!
    I just found your blog on a google search and haven't had a chance to read much, so forgive me if you've already talked about this as nauseam. I work as a nanny for a family with 11 mo twins and they speak Hebrew and English with the babies. I speak English with them and their extended family also speak both languages to them. I'm interested in working with baby sign language to help them express themselves (we're going through the fussies) and I wonder if you know of any specific bilingual baby sign information. We're all talking about it, but the parents are afraid it might slow down the babies language (since it might count as a third language).
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks so much and Congrats on the little cutie you have there!

  4. Thanks!

    Did y'all notice that the book Griffin's "reading" is trilingual?

    Kathryn--Welcome! I haven't researched bilingualism and signing, but a speech therapist friend assures me that teaching babies sign language will not delay the onset of oral language. It seems to me that the signs would actually help improve the kids' comprehension, because they would function as a bridge between the two languages. This helps the children learn that words are arbitrary representatives of objects and ideas, that there are many different ways to name any one thing.

    It also takes the speakers out of "translation" mode and sends them directly to the source. Instead of telling them "cat" is X in Hebrew, you and the parents can use the sign for cat regardless of which language you're speaking. That way, the kids associate both words with the concept of "cat" without the mindset of "this word in English equals this word in Hebrew," which is often an oversimplification of the nuances and cultural constructs that exist within lexical items.

    (Yikes, I'm going all linguistic lingo on you--sometimes I miss all the research and writing I did in grad school!)

    Ed and I are planning to use sign language with Griffin.

    Kathryn, do you think the family would allow me to profile them on my blog? If you or they are interested, please send me an email and I'll reply with the questionnaire. (You can see previous profiles by clicking on the links in the right-hand margin.) My address is babybilingual (at) gmail (dot) com.