Experimenting with Sound

2

April 8, 2013 by empraise

An amazing thing happened this week while we were on vacation.  Little M began pronouncing a sound that is a “Spanish Only” sound…the “j” as in “jugo”.  There is no sound quite like this in English, and I’ve always been intrigued by the thought that my son could grow up pronouncing and recognizing this sound as “native” and not “foreign”.

DSC_1102

We were spending our vacation in Bali with our German/English bilingual friends.  We were excited for Little M to get some more native German exposure, at a time in his life when his verbal skills seem to be taking off.  Naturally, he did pick up some new German words auge (eye) and tschüss (bye bye), for example.  But he also drank a lot of juice 🙂  So I was saying this word, jugo frequently.  One day, his little lips puckered up and made this perfectly Spanish sound, between his throat and the roof of his mouth…j…jug…jugo.  Well, it may not have been perfectly clear, but I certainly knew what he was saying!

Image

We saw so many fish Little M also started saying pez.  It is so precious to hear his little words forming and so bizarre to here these “foreign” languages coming out of his mouth!

Image

There were also many opportunities for us (or at least me!) to feel inadequate…visiting bird parks and the Singapore Zoo full of exotic animals whose names I barely knew in English, much less Spanish, left me at a loss for words with Little M.  I have also been unimpressed with the resources available on YouTube or apps to teach some of the more “interesting” animals in Spanish.  Maybe I’ll have to come up with something myself!

Image

We had many great late-night discussions with our bilingual friends.  They are technically non-native English speakers, though both have been in immersion environments most of their adult lives and speak incredibly fluently.  I asked them what they thought about our endeavor to raise Little M with three languages–two of them non-native and “non-shared”.  The one main concern that surfaced was one they had felt themselves…that we would not be able to express or show our true selves in the non-native language.  As a parent, this can be extremely disconcerting, and it is something I have been contemplating a lot lately.

How about you?  Have you faced this concern raising a child with a non-native language?  If so, how have you confronted it?

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Experimenting with Sound

  1. Jose Luis B. says:

    Hello, this is a very interesting concern you have regarding language acquisition and your child. I have written a reply to this concern in my blog, please take a look at it at your convenience and let me know what you think (in my blog look for: “Expressing the True-Self in a Non-Native Language”).
    Thank you and have a great day.

    • empraise says:

      Wow, thank you so much for your thorough and interesting response Jose! I have never heard of the innatist perspective on language development, but it is intriguing. Appreciate the encouragement and like your blog very much. Keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to keep up with our posts!

Join 769 other followers

Life y Lenguaje

Adventures of Non-Native Speakers Raising a Multi-Lingual Child

City Slickers

From High Rise-Living to Log-Home Building: Texas Style!

Byron & Anita Vaughn

Planting Hispanic Churches - Plantando Iglesias Hispanas

%d bloggers like this: