Monday, March 31, 2008

Aaron's Tongue

Aaron has started talking a lot. Plenty of words and these days, short sentences as well. We have been fairly successful at sticking to the plan of Richard speaking Mandarin to Aaron while I speak English. Since I spend most time with him, English comes more naturally than Mandarin. Thats not surprising.

What is surprising is that we've noticed that it is the Indonesian sounds that he most likes to make. He doesn't spend that much time interacting with people who speak Indonesian but the language is floating about him all day long. And these days, he seems to actively look for opportunities to speak Indonesian.

Even though his Indonesian vocabulary isn't as broad (yet), I think he even asks more questions in Indonesian than in English. Who is that? What is that? Where is it? What is this? Have you eaten? With the local accent that he's acquiring, he's going to be better than me in no time.

Yesterday, when Aaron was talking to himself in Indonesian, my mother said to me "Its so strange. Thats not even his mother tongue".

He says, "No. Aaron's tongue." And sticks his tongue out.

This little guy always has his ears pricked up and listening to the conversations around him. Its no wonder he's absorbing so much language. I wish there was some way that I could surround him with more languages. It seems so effortless to him at the moment but I'm sure this sub conscious absorption will fade with age.


Bilbo said...

You are, of course, right. Aaron is at the golden age for language acquisition...he will pick up as many languages as he's exposed to, AND will be able to keep them sorted out in his head, AND will keep all the proper accents. This is a well-known aspect of child development that has received a lot of study...but, unfortunately, mostly concerning the acquisition of English as a mother tongue. I read a fascinating study when I was in college on the acquisition of Russian by children in that country, but wasn't able to find much else on childrens' acquisition of other languages. I think it would be fascinating to watch Aaron sort out languages as radically different as Chinese and English, not to mention seeing him add Indonesian to the mix. The whole issue of how children acquire languages is, of course, of huge importance to the teaching profession and the language instruction business (Berlitz, Inlingua, etc)...if we knew what makes children so good at acquiring languages, and why this ability declines rapidly with age in most people, it would be a huge boon for the world of education...not to mention the world at large. What a great time to be watching Aaron grow up!

Kellan said...

Oh, It is so wonderful for Aaron to be learning both languages - it is amazing, isn't it! I would love to hear him speak them both!

Hope you are well AManda - I have missed you. Take care and I'll see you soon. Kellan

CC said...

That is just so awesome! My kids were first exposed to Korean. When we adopted them at 6 and 7 months we couldn't help them keep their Korean but did only play Korean music in the car (for 4 years!). They do not understand the language, but I hope that one day they will have better language skills from this early language exposure...