October 7, 2011 (6:24 pm)

Patricia Kuhl: The Linguistic Genius of Babies – Great TED Video

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

Greg and I are eager to expose Kamea to various languages and we’re starting with a spanish native speaker coming to the house… Have any of you done anything like this with your babies? If so, how did it go? How often was the exposure?


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  • Carissa

    With my kid, they will be exposed to some Hawaiian, since my husbands family is Hawaiian. I also plan on teaching them another language though. Not sure what yet. 

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    I’d like to explore Spanish, French, and Mandarin.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6DXCNRGRRYLALVLG4VTBA4IRN4 S.

    I bought my daughter Rowan, now 4, the Your Baby Can Read program when I was prego w/ #3.  It came with your choice 1 of 4 Lyric Language dvd sets. 

    She LOVED the videos and would cry when they were done!  Although she didn’t learn to speak the language, she is being exposed at a very early age–when learning language comes naturally. 

    The videos are fun.  Oh, and she learned to read w/in 3 or 4 months–before she was three.  My newest just turned a year and started reading at about 8 or 9 months and can read and sign well over 50 words now.  She also loves the videos.

    The languages are done in song format.  I can sing about a boat and beach, numbers, opposites, in Spanish and German too!!

    If anything, Dr. Titzer has some great info on how babies learn and on neuroplasticity which I found quite informative.  He seems passionate about what he does too, which is ALWAYS a big bonus in my book.

    I’ve also explored Rosetta Stone and if you have the money this a supurb option, though probably not until 3 or 4.  Do your research on them though.  There’s quite a bit of flack about them in forums and such, but also a lot of praise.

    Hope this was helpful!


  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Thx! I hear mixed reviews of Baby Can Read. Some say it’s just memorization and not learning. My mom bought it for us but I’ve yet to use it. We play with the flash cards a bit tho… Thoughts?

  • Angee

    My husband, Robby is fluent in Spanish.  He will occasionally speak to Grace (17 months) in Spanish and she always laughs.  I know a few words/phrases in Italian but I’m not fluent.  We are signing a lot with Grace and I hope to learn enough of that to enrich her.  She knows 50 signs right now.  I’d love to learn a language along with Grace.  I’ve thought of turning on Disney movies that I already have memorized in Spanish or French and at least learn them that way.  I want to learn more languages too so that we can all talk together in multiple languages.  :)

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Let’s all meet for lunch or something soon!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6DXCNRGRRYLALVLG4VTBA4IRN4 S.

    Part 1 -sorry if this got sent twice, I had to break it up :o 0

    I’d have to disagree w/ that because memorization is part of learning. As a
    clean slated babe you learn “bottle” the object the same as you learn
    “bottle” the written word. Eventually–and it doesn’t take very
    long–the babies put 2 and 2 together. The written “bottle” is every
    bit the same meaning as the object “bottle.”

    I also
    used flash cards w/ my son when he was around a year, using Titzer’s methods.
    It wasn’t as easy as putting DVDs in once or twice a day, but he had only
    written a book then.

    My son
    can now read soooo quickly and was so far ahead academically that I started
    homeschooling him last year. He’s since attended a week long college course for
    highly gifted 4th graders and is mentally advancing at such a rate that I’m
    struggling to keep up. (Think Algebra, Geometry, computer programming, college
    level physics for fun.) Learning early reading has opened SO MANY doors, and
    the ripples keep appearing larger and larger.

    your blogs, Kristen, you and Greg definitely seem the super-involved type.
    That, above anything else, will foster greater learning for Kamea.

    being said, you could try games with the flash cards–putting a toy frog on
    “frog” etc. to start. Then holding up the word frog and letting her
    get the corresponding object. Try doing this silently as well, so she’s not
    just responding to the vocal word.

    Continued . . . .

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6DXCNRGRRYLALVLG4VTBA4IRN4 S.

    Part 2, continued from pt 1

    Baby Can Read works if you’re consistent. Just using flashcards will
    work if you’re consistent. I speak from experience with both.

    I also
    think Mandarin would be and EXcellent language to expose an English speaking
    baby to, as it is a tonal language whereas English is not.

    to this link at Radio Lab for the program Musical Language. The whole episode
    is informative but the segment on Sound As Touch explores the differences and
    similarities of Mandarin and English, which i found enlightening. Made me
    explore the possibility of teaching music to babies too . . . . .

    Language podcast: http://www.radiolab.org/2007/sep/24/

    Sound as
    touch segment: http://www.radiolab.org/2007/sep/24/sound-as-touch/

    for asking LOL!

    Hope I
    didn’t overwhelm you, but early learning and how babies learn and just loving
    my three children has been a passion of mine for 10 1/2 years now!!


  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Not at all. I appreciate the time you took. Thank you!

  • http://veganza.com Renée MBM

    I’m starting to sing in French with my 2yo and I’ll teach her some basic phrases and numbers soon. I learnt French in school and independently afterwards, and I’ve had no one to practice with in a long time! We also have Japanese cousins, and we see them for a few months every couple of years. Not sure how to fit it in yet, but we’re going to have to learn! It’s easier for them to speak in English – their 2 kids – 4 and 1 – are bilingual. 2 rather tricky languages! But it’s so easy for kids to learn languages. It’s great. It makes their world a much bigger, more beautiful place. :)

  • Joanna_Steven

    So interesting! I speak French and English to Franklin (and have books in both languages too). Check with your public library, they may have readings in many languages. I think mine does, I’ll check it out and take him there. I’m taking him to Lebanon this Christmas, he’ll be hearing Armenian and Lebanese there too.

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    I agree :)

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Wow that is so exciting on many fronts! I can’t wait to hear about your travels.

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Wow that all sounds amazing. I love it!

  • Floursackmama

    When my oldest was around 8 months old, we attended a parent and child Spanish class together and it was wonderful.  It was evident that over the next few months, as we included Spanish words in our everyday activities, my daughter had learned more than she could express during those early months.  Because the learning was fun and not too intense, I think it helped introduce her to another language in the most positive way.

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    What a great experience. Can you share how you learned about the class?

  • Dulce

    I learned Spanish and English at the same time (mother only spoke Spanish, children in daycare only spoke English).  I knew to use the Spanish words with Spanish speakers and English words with English speakers.  My lanaugage skills were always excellent and advanced.  Years ago I met someone who spoke 4 languages from birth (wow!).  Her parents spoke with her exclusively in their languages of origin (Greek and Spanish), their live-in spoke with her only in German and she was in pre-school only being spoken to in English.  The mind of a child is so flexible and porous, it’s clear this is the best time to educate.  There are connections those neurons are making now fluidly and easily that just aren’t available years down the line.  Good luck.
    -Sky’s mom

  • E.

    I have a PhD in Linguistics, so I think I can share some words of wisdom ;)

    I think if you truly want Kamea to be able to communicate in two languages (spanish + english) and not simply ‘know of’ spanish, you need to expose her to spanish as often as possible. Babies don’t learn languages by memorization-neither their native (in kamea’s case, english) nor a second language (here, spanish). All human infants have the capacity to acquire a language and in order to do so exposure is key, preferably as early as possible. This might not be relevant at the moment since kamea is already over 1 year of age, but in the future, if you have other children, exposing them to another language as early as 2 months of age makes a drastic difference in language acquisition. 

    Having a native speaker stay with kamea is a good route to take–something like rosetta won’t work (it doesn’t even work with adults–it’s purely memorization and we don’t learn languages by memorizing)–having her watch kid-films is also something you can do. Whatever you choose, the key is: exposure, exposure, exposure–if you want her to be able to communicate (as in, SPEAK spanish and not just understand it or recognize it). Films, music, a native–are all options. I know many people believe that ‘memorization’ is the key to learning–but, in fact, that’s not true when it comes to language acquisition–just ask yourself this: how can an INFANT child with far less mental capability than an adult be able to acquire an entire LANGUAGE by the time they’re 4 years of age? They certainly didn’t memorize hundreds of thousands of words and sentence structures and different sounds and sound combinations–it’s a cognitive ability far more complex than a memorization task. Additionally, children produce sentences they’e never heard before (kid’s say the darndest things)–if they’ve never heard the sentence from someone, how could they have memorized it? Language is a creative and cognitive process.
    Just my ideas! Good luck with whichever route you take! :)

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Thank you!

  • Amy

    Where I live these types of classes are offered at libraries and at a toy store.

  • Cangel202803

    Hi Kristen,
    Very interesting topic! I come from Canada’s French province and so French is the main language used around the house (and everywhere, actually!). Because I think learning a second (or third, or fourth..) language is the best way to open one’s mind (and is a great asset for later in life), I have selected an English daycare for my children to attend to during the last 2-3 years before they entered school. This means that, between the age of roughly 3 and 5½, they spent 5 days a week socialising, playing, and learning in an English environment. They got to speak English just as well as they speak French, and they can go from one language to the other seamlessly. Now that my eldest is in school (primary school, grade 1), I am able to see all the advantages that learning 2 languages perfectly had on her. She has perfect scores in every fields and is progressing very well. She has an open mind and adapts well in every situation.
    I am really not sure that a child can become anywhere near bilingual with a DVD or ‘classes’.. they will learn some words, but they will forget most of what they’ll learn within 2 months if the classes stop.. A language is not oly a communication tool, it is a culture. A language doesn’t simply structure the way one speaks, it structures the way one thinks. You have to go through immersion to be ‘en-cultured’ to a new language. Classes and DVDs are better than nothing though.

  • http://openid.aol.com/purecobalt Maureen

    Visual language is the best to start with. Visual is the first language than spoken language later on. I’ve seen hearing baby (especially 3 months old) with sign language is develop faster than spoken language.  Many over-education like Phd are overlooking the visual language is the first primary to learn.