Wednesday, June 20, 2012

6/20/12 "Hello, Julian!"

Katrina sure is enjoying her Chinese daycamp at the YMCA!

Today she asked her teacher to tell her how to say, "Hello, Julian!" and she's said it many times. She really sounds like she's speaking Chinese (well, Mandarin). She's learned various words too, but this is the first that sounds like a phrase.

It freaks me out a little to see her chat out Chinese so easily. She's still young enough that her brain has super-powers when it comes to language learning. She could be drop-shipped into Japan or Korea or Russia or Kenya or China and she'd learn the language as a native, and might even forget all her English. That's astounding considering how well-developed her English language is now, but 5-year-olds are really on the cusp of permanent language development.

Julian, at a mere 2-3/4 years older, at age 8-1/2, would probably have a much harder time learning another language, and would probably not entirely forget English. Gabriel at age 10-1/2 could be almost as lost as I would be, and would be very unlikely to lose all his English. Lots depends on the individual, but still, it's truly amazing how much language development happens in the few short crucial years before puberty (when language psychologists say major changes happen in the brain, such as the shift from bilingualism to fluency).

(This could be Proud Mom speaking, but a part of me suspects Katrina also has a talent for language arts and writing -- and regular readers know I'm quite honest about where my kids' natural talents are and aren't!)

Speaking of language development, I had a fun conversation with a coworker I just adore, a young woman who's going to have her first baby any second now. She's from Mexico and her husband is Australian, and I was telling her today how I want to learn Spanish. She of course said she'd help me practice anytime!

I also have a friend from Las Madres who's Mexican, and a neighbor from Mexico City (imagine that, a Latina in our neighborhood -- in California?!), and now this coworker -- so no shortage of Spanish speakers to practice with. I have far more schooling in French than Spanish, but it's time I caught up to Katrina in language-learning!


ok, a bientot,


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