Where did I read that? A wrap up of bilingual stories online

Expats Since Birth: Bilingual Siblings and Their Language Preferences, Expats Since Birth

You can’t choose whether your child will like Mozart or Madonna – and you can’t choose which language your child will prefer to speak. Each child develops his or her own preference for language at his or her own pace. And in a family of multi-lingual siblings, children will make choices. Parents can choose to support that process.

For example, Uta is a multi-lingual parent of multi-lingual children living in the Netherlands. She recently wrote about an experience with her toddler who refused to speak Italian as a reaction to moving to the Netherlands.

"In my experience, you sometimes have to adapt your language situation within your family to the individual needs of your children," Uta wrote on her blog, Expats Since Birth.

Uta shared some support she’s received on the topic in a book, Bilingual Siblings: Language Use in Families by Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert.

In Defense of the Bilingual Child, On Raising Bilingual Children

If you’re in the process of raising a bilingual child, you might discover a range of reactions from loved ones, educators, even friends. Research continues to support the long-term benefits of a bilingual education for children, showing improved brain functions, problem-solving skills, and language acquisition. Regardless, it’s still a new concept for many people. This blog post helps parents be prepared for some of those surprised reactions.

The Psycholinguistics of Bilingualism, Psychology Today

As interest grows in bilingual research studies, new areas of interest are being discovered, such as the Psycholinguistics of Bilingualism. In Psychology Today, psychoanalytics professor Francois Grosjean, Ph.D. talks about a new book on the topic. Grosjean and co-author Professor Ping Li explore how many languages might be involved in the language process of listening or talking; how learning a second language might actually affect behavior; and what happens when a word is literally "lost in translation."

Bed Time? And do lullabies really work?

Bed time?!

“What are you doing? You’re supposed to be going to sleep.”

It’s late at night, and your baby needs to go to sleep. Everything’s been taken care of – clean diaper, quiet house, feeding, burping … so what’s with all that squirming? Maybe all that’s missing is a lullaby.

All research points to yes — lullabies are scientifically proven to lull babies to sleep, stimulate language and cognitive development, as well as strengthen the emotional bond between a parent and child.

This bond is communicated without words. Since your baby can’t yet understand words and language, a lullaby can communicate that everything in the house is taken care of, there is no danger, and so much love that a voice is literally lifted into song.

See (or sing) for yourself

Many thanks to Kindermusik parent, Janice Müller, who filmed this video of herself singing her baby to sleep with a lullaby in the Zulu language. Janice is enrolled in Brandy Butler’s Kindermusik class in Switzerland.

You can watch the video and hear Janice sing here: Click the Oct. 1 blog post.

Janice writes:

“If you want to hear the legendary Miriam Makeba do it justice: click here. The words and translation:”

Tula Baba | Traditional Zulu lullaby

Thula thul, thula baba, thula sana,
Tul’ubab ‘uzobuya ekuseni
Thula thul, thula baba, thula sana,
Tul’ubab ‘uzobuya ekuseni

Kukh’in khan-yezi, zi-holel’ u baba,
Zim-khan yi-sela indlel’e ziyak-haya,
Sobe sik hona xa bonke be-shoyo,
Be-thi bu-yela u-bu-ye le khaya,

Thula thula thula baba,
Thula thula thula sana,
Thula thula thula baba,
Thula thula thula san.

English Translation

Hush, little man, hush, child of mine
Daddy is coming in the morning
Hush, my child, hush, my son
Hush, Daddy is coming from the mountains

We will be here, as the saying goes
They were saying; come back home
We will be here, as the saying goes
I say come back, my child, come to your home

Hush, hush, my son
Hush, hush, my little man
Hush, hush, my child
Hush, hush, my little man

Keep quiet my child
Keep quiet my baby
Be quiet, daddy will be home by dawn

There’s a star that will lead him home
The star will brighten his way home

The hills and stones are still the same my love
My life has changed, yes my life has changed

We’re working to celebrate the diversity of languages around the world, as well as to preserve the lullabies from disappearing languages, and we’d love your help. Do you have a favorite lullaby in your mother tongue? Let us know, and check out “The Mother Tongue Lullaby Project,” a special effort from ABC English & Me.

The benefits of steady beat

Boom, boom, boom. Clap, clap, clap. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4.

Steady beat is the most fundamental concept in music. It’s the ongoing, steady, repetitive pulse that occurs in songs, chants, rhymes, and music. It’s the part that makes you want to tap your toes, clap your hands, or jump up and dance like no one is watching.

Even newborn babies respond to the steady beat of music, and that’s no surprise when you consider they have been listening to the steady beat of their mother’s heart from inside the womb. Most children learn to keep a steady beat while swaying, clapping, moving their arms, and beating a loud, booming drum. This skill will help a child prepare to later use scissors, a hammer, a saw, a whisk, and all kinds of other tools. Not to mention, it’s absolutely essential to learning a musical instrument.

Through musical exploration in the Kindermusik classroom, your child may develop steady beat competency in the legs and feet as well. This lower body competency is necessary for playing sports, like dribbling and shooting a basketball, as well as for dancing, skipping, running and even walking easily.

Total body beat competency even emerges in the ability to speak and read with a smooth cadence, thereby enhancing communication abilities. Studies also show that ability to keep a steady beat is connected with fluency in reading. A study by Phyllis Weikert showed that being “able to keep a steady beat helps a person to feel the cadence (rhythm) of language” and can also affect their sense of equilibrium (www.earlychildhoodnews.com).

Steady beat is an fundamental as it gets, and equally as important!

Excerpts taken from Kindermusik Notes by Kindermusik educator Andrea King.