Dr. Yim's radio appearance: Real Mom Real Talk(TBS)

January 12, 2020

Dr. Yim appeared on the radio show again to answer some common questions that mothers may have about bilingual child's language development.  ​

Summary of talk

Major external and internal factors that impact bilingual children

Five external factors

1. Age, timing, and developmental state of the child when the second language is introduced
- the difference in learning the second language: when the child is exposed to a first and second language at the same time vs. when the child is exposed to the second language after the first language is introduced

2. Input contexts and opportunities
- first language exposed by society and family vs. only family (mother)

3. Social status of the language
- social status of the language: power that language holds in the society
- children naturally choose to speak the language with higher social status

4. L1 and L2 typology
-  depends on how two languages are similar (cognate) or different, language learning can be easier or more difficult

5. Language purpose
-  language usage will develop differently depends on the language purpose  
- ex) academic vs. daily life language usage

One internal factor

1. System integrity (brain activation and underlying learning mechanism) and preferences
- They both influence language development.
ex) Some children like to learn the language, and some don’t. Some children don’t care about making mistakes.  

Can bilingual children be perfectly balanced in both languages?

- No!
- Language serves the purpose of communication.
- Every setting of communication is different.
- Different amount of language is exposed and used in different settings.  

Can we be fluent (proficient) in both languages?

- Yes!
- But you cannot be perfectly balanced in both languages in every communication setting.  

Red flags for bilingual children parents to look out for their children

- Children with health, developmental, and educational factors.
- Children with other speech and language-related issues; voice, chewing, hearing, motor skills disorders.
- Getting an assessment is critical!
- You don’t want to miss the golden time for the evaluation.
- Researchers have found that parents are very accurate in evaluating their children.
- If you have any family concerns, go for instinct and follow up with the evaluation.  

How can parents support bilingual children?

- Interact with the child by using the mother tongue
- Follow the child’s lead
- Be salient and specific when speaking with children
- Have fun
- Stay tuned

If the parents are proficient in both languages, which one they must use?

- Based on the understanding that their children also know both languages, parents can speak both languages to their children but importantly, stick to your mother tongue!  

Research regarding Language and moms

- 'Health Service Needs using Big Data Analysis to Improve Multicultural Family Life's Service' Results show Mothers from multicultural family are having a challenging time due to the language usage between mother and child because family force the mother to learn and speak Korean to their children.
- Due to this issue, the child has a higher probability of having their language development delayed.
- Mothers think it is their fault due to communication difficulties.
- We cannot make them monolingual by forcing them to speak the social language.
- We need to respect their language and culture.
- Language coveys so many things: share feelings, beliefs as children get older.
- Bilingualism is not a choice but just a natural description of their life.