Esther's bilingual child recordings speaking English.
This child is Spanish by nationality and lives in Spain. The child's parents are both Spanish but her mother, Esther, who is following the conversations on this bilingual child forum, speaks English to her child continuously at home. Except for TV programmes that her child watches in English when possible, there is no other regular English input. Follow the child's progress over the next months.
27 September 2016
Mike says: Here, we are obviously talking about a competent user of the language. The language is delivered with fluency and with a large range of accurate and relevant vocabulary with very little evidence of L1 transfer. Caroline must be about 4 years and five months.
Caroline: Today we have a bag full of toys that I found up there so we are going to open it we have another box here so with lots of pieces so we are going to open this we are going to open first this. This is a puzzle when you find the two .... (something) two .... they are the same thing (It's a puzzle game where the pieces fit in pairs.) So we have, we can, we are going to open it. Wow! Look at this! ... There's lots of pieces and there's un puzzle and there's lots of pieces so we just need them to put them here and then we are going to do this puzzle ..... Another one! Where's the other one, mummy? And another one mummy?
Esther: I don't know, missing...
29th April 2016
Esther says: Just before her fourth birthday, Carolina was telling a story to her dollies. In fact, although she has a book in front of her, she's making up the story as she goes along. I was delighted with her!
Mike says: stories bring out the richest vocabulary from children - they're an invaluable resource and so attractive to children.
Caroline: "Once upon a time, there was one, one little piggy, doing her house, and the .... to house to the little piggies, with straw, the firs little piggie was doing a straw house, and the first little piggie, he was doing a straw house, and the first little piggie is making a very house house, and the next one, he was making a big big straw house.
And suddenly, the wolf come(s) out, and he was he was running and blow the house down (huff and puff) and the wolf running away, running away, and the wolf running.
And the third little piggie building the block (brick) house, he was, the wolf come(s) out, he was blowing so fast (huff and puff) and running away, and running away, and reach to the next house little pig, running away, running away, and blow, and blow (huff and puff). and then running away, running away, and the wolf (the pig) putting water, and the wolf had the bum very hot, and the story the end."
22nd March 2015
Esther says: Tell me whatever you want I said to Caroline... (and I switched on the tape recorder and she told me this lovely story about friendship...)
Caroline: The pencil is always sad because it's not good to play with her friends and he says (said) you, you, you, you can! You always have your friends and Milly and Yoshi is of the friends of Sisi (Silly)! The end.
(Just to add that I prompted her in no way at all and she just told me the first idea that came to her head - the names being totally invented - I have no idea where she got them from...)
10th June 2015.
Self-directed speech in children.
The psycholinguist Laura Berk claimed that 20 to 60 percent of utterances made by children under ten are self-directed - talking to themselves. Why do children do this? Vygotsky claimed that this has cognitive benefits for the child; helping them to organize thoughts and language, which in later years will be internalised in silent thought. In fact, Berk took the importance of "private speech" further identifying several types and reasons for its use. One of these is "fantasy play" where the child role-plays stories and situations with toys and even creates sound effects for them. We can hear this happening here with Esther's daughter. However, what is fascinating is that the self-directed speech is being expressed in English! Her daughter has internalised English to such an extent, it surfaces in her vocalised thoughts. This must be a major battle won in encouraging a child's bilingualism.
Esther says: I recorded this while she was telling her teddy bears a story. She's not reading anything or following any prompts just turning the pages of an alphabet book. It's difficult to understand what she is saying but you can pick out some things; they're disjointed phrases with little meaning for anyone else except herself.
... and once upon a time there was a little rabbit 'cause' [called] Jorge! and says happa happa happy.....
Here, the story continues...
... happy adventure... I'm going to the farm
This Old Man (song)
This old man, he [played] two
he [played] knick knack on my foot [shoe]
this old man came rolling home
This old man, he [played] two
he [played] knick knack on my shoe
this old man came rolling home
14th March 2015.
"This was the first time we opened this book, as I've said before, Caroline doesn't like reading neither does she like being read to but I continue trying because I feel it's very important and it's useful input for her. However, there's no way; she won't let me read to her. The best I can do is talk about the pictures, and she tires almost immediately. What she likes is opening books, turning the pages and then closing them."
Me: What? Let's see What's that? Yes? We have that?
10th December 2014.
For me, this is the most rewarding stage in our child's bilingual learning; when authentic communication takes place at a sentence level. This is indeed a milestone when this happens and a strong indication that the learning curve is ascending constantly upwards.
Carolina, where is yaya?
-Carolina, where is yaya?
Where are you going to go tomorrow?
Here, the mother helps her daughter switch to L2 by translating Carolina's Spanish utterance. A useful technique.
-Tell me Carolina, where are you going to go tomorrow?
28th October 2014.
Esther's child increases her repertoire of English songs.
Personally speaking, I detect an advance in clarity of pronunciation compared to her previous songs.
Father finger, father finger, where are you? here I am, here I am, How do you do?
The weather song.
Before we started, the mother said "Can you sing 'head shoulder knees and toes?" but when she pushed the record button, her daughter replied:
"No, I want the cloud."
How's the weather? How's the weather? It's sunny! How's the weather? It's sunny! How's the weather? It's sunny! How's the weather today?
12th September 2014.
More songs in English from this little diva.
Little monkeys song.
Two little monkeys jumping on the bed.
There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-O
28th July 2014.
A, B C, D, E, F, G,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star song.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
If you would like to comment on this or talk about your own experiences, upload your child's recordings speaking in English (or Spanish in the reverse situation), you can through our bilingual child forum in English or Spanish...
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