15 Months In and Not a Word Too Soon

mothernbabyFifteen months is an exciting time for parents and their little ones. In our house, we watch as our son has started to understand simple commands: “Can you throw this in the garbage?” “Can you put your toy back in here?” – and still debate over whether he has actually repeated words back to us in each respective language. This month, there’s three languages at play: English, Turkish, and Korean.

While for the past six months, his predominant language heard at home as been Turkish, this has changed for the last three weeks. Normally, he gets English only when I am home in the morning, evening and weekends, while his caretaker speaks only Turkish and his multimedia viewing is also only in Turkish. My mother has stepped in to watch him for one month, and thus, he has been inundated with more English and some sprinkling of Korean. Continue reading “15 Months In and Not a Word Too Soon”

Great Expectations: Setting the Environment for Multilingualism


How old will my son be before he speaks? Will his multilingual upbringing delay his speech production?

These are the worries of a multilingual household.

As my son approaches the 1-year-mark, I am increasingly more aware of the multilingual setting we are providing him at home. Our first child, we watch with bated breath when it seems he’s muttered a word.

Did he say ‘Baba’ (Dad)? Did he say ‘Mama’? Did he just say ‘hi’? Did he just say ‘gel’ (Come)?

No. He did not. Not yet. Continue reading “Great Expectations: Setting the Environment for Multilingualism”

Love of Reading, Love of Language

20140323-100207.jpgOne of the gifts I had received during my baby shower was “The Read-Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease. It was a gift from my aunt, she didn’t make a big deal out of it, just gave me the book and a package of sticky page-markers.

I didn’t start reading it until this month, and I wish I had started it sooner. It really ties together all of the theories and anecdotes I’ve seen about language development in articles, books, radio and TV stories. Reading aloud to children is critical to a child’s interest in reading and later academic success, but it is also an enormous influence in a child’s language acquisition.

Ever heard of the “language gap” or “word gap” in children from different socioeconomic backgrounds? There’s quite a lot that can be said by it. Continue reading “Love of Reading, Love of Language”

Residual Acquisition from ‘Motherly’ Love

ImageGrandmothers & Mother Tongues

I felt so accomplished last week.

Prior to the birth of my son in October, I was studying Korean (my mother’s native language), and Turkish (my husband’s native language). I made some progress in both areas, but I was admittedly taking on a bit more than I could chew by studying both at the same time while also working, teaching English, and growing a human in my belly.

After my son came, I didn’t have time for classes or to study on my own. However, my mother came to stay with me for just about two months. She, who always speaks English to me, was singing and speaking to my son in Korean. We also spent HOURS watching K-dramas at the end of my pregnancy, and in the wee-morning hours after he arrived. Suddenly, I was moderately immersed in Korean. Continue reading “Residual Acquisition from ‘Motherly’ Love”

Passion and Personalization of Language

‘Anne’ vs. ‘Mommy’Mom-baby-silhouette

My son, almost three months old, is about to embark on an amazing linguistic journey. He is half-Turkish, one-quarter Korean, and one-quarter American Caucasian.  He has an influx of words and tones being thrown at him, and for now, he’s content to listen and smile. When he starts to make sense of the words and develop language…well that is something that I am anxiously awaiting. Let me give you some context. Continue reading “Passion and Personalization of Language”