How I Lost My Ear Books by Adam Beck

Books for Parents

What books are helpful for parents to read in their quest to raise children with good bilingual ability? See these posts for suggestions!

It's Quiz Time!

I have another quiz for you about raising bilingual kids! (This is the third quiz at Bilingual Monkeys. Try the first quiz and the second quiz, too.)

For this new quiz, I’ve created questions based on information found in Annick De Houwer’s book Bilingual First Language Acquisition. To read my impressions of the book, see Recommended Resources: Books on Bilingual Acquisition by Prominent Researcher Annick De Houwer. That post also features an insightful interview with the author.

Ready for the quiz? Good luck!

1. BFLA stands for Bilingual First Language Acquisition and, in Dr. De Houwer’s words, refers to “the development of language in young children who hear two languages spoken to them from birth.” On the other hand, when monolingual children begin to acquire a second language on top of their first language, not from birth but from a young age, as in day care or preschool, what is this process called?
a. ESLA, which stands for Early Second Language Acquisition
b. ESLA, which stands for Early Successive Language Acquisition
c. BSLA, which stands for Bilingual Second Language Acquisition
d. BSLA, which stands for Bilingual Successive Language Acquisition

To check your answer, open this box by clicking the plus sign!
a. ESLA, which stands for Early Second Language Acquisition (Along with BFLA and ESLA, the other main language learning context is MFLA, or Monolingual First Language Acquisition, where “children learn to understand and speak only one language.”)

2. Jules Ronjat, a French linguist, wrote the first book about BFLA, a case study of his son growing up with two languages from birth. When was this book published?
a. 1853
b. 1883
c. 1913
d. 1943

The world’s interest in children's bilingual development has grown profoundly since that time!
c. 1913 (In his book, Ronjat describes the bilingual development of his son, Louis, who acquired both German and French.)

3. What is the term used to describe the exaggerated way of speaking, marked by a higher pitch, that adults tend to use when talking to babies?
a. canonical babbling
b. infant soundscape
c. infant-directed speech
d. floating utterances

Isn’t it remarkable how adults will automatically switch to this special way of speaking when interacting with babies?
c. infant-directed speech (IDS) (This instinctive way of speaking by caregivers attracts the attention of young children and heightens early language input. Dr. De Houwer adds: “As babies grow older and appear to understand more, parents will use less and less of the typical characteristics of IDS.” After all, it would be quite funny if we spoke to our children at the age of 10 the same way we spoke to them at 10 months!)

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Books on bilingual acquisition by Annick De Houwer

Want to learn more about the science behind your child’s bilingual development? You won’t find a more knowledgeable guide than Annick De Houwer.

Dr. De Houwer, a professor of language acquisition and multilingualism at the University of Erfurt in Germany, is a leading scholar and researcher in the field of early child bilingualism and has written two excellent textbooks on the subject. Her work, in fact, has greatly enriched my own thinking and writing when it comes to the practical challenge of raising bilingual children and her illuminating efforts to understand the mechanisms of bilingual acquisition will continue to benefit multilingual families worldwide.

In this post, I’m very pleased to feature Dr. De Houwer and her work. I’ll offer my compact impressions of her books then step back to share an insightful interview we pursued via email. After that, you’ll have a chance to win the book of your choice in a special giveaway.

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My Favorite Metaphor for Raising Bilingual Children

Note: Today’s post is from the preface to my book Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability: Ideas and inspiration for even greater success and joy raising bilingual kids, available worldwide at Amazon and other retailers.

Not far from my house in Hiroshima, Japan are several wide rice paddies nestled among apartment buildings and homes. In the autumn these fields are thick with tall, green stalks, nodding their heavy loads of rice.

Growing a good crop of rice isn’t easy. Rice farmers spend long hours preparing the land, managing the water level, planting and fertilizing and weeding. And the farmers who do all these things a little more effectively, a little more diligently, day by day, end up harvesting a larger crop.

Their yield is bigger.

I can think of no better metaphor for raising bilingual children. The truth is, if we, too, pursue the range of daily efforts for nurturing language development a little more effectively, a little more diligently, our children’s bilingual ability will grow better, stronger, over the years of childhood.

By providing ideas and inspiration to help you become more effective and more diligent in your efforts, this book will serve to strengthen your children’s language development and maximize their bilingual ability.

The question is: What actions can a busy parent take to optimize the growth of a child’s bilingual ability? At the same time, how can this be done in fun, child-friendly ways?

I’ve spent 20 years seeking answers to this question. This book holds the fruits of what I’ve found.

Get the book at Amazon.

Learn more about it.

Raising a Bilingual Child? Raise the Odds of Success!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. —Nido Quebein

Think of it this way: Raising a child to be bilingual is about odds and each family’s odds of success will be higher or lower depending on their particular circumstances and how proactive they are about shaping these conditions in effective ways.

My experience as a teacher at Hiroshima International School demonstrates that the odds of a Japanese child successfully becoming bilingual are extremely high when that child acquires Japanese from the family and community, and English from the school environment. Of course, the degree of that ability in English will depend on such variables as the age at which the child enters the school and how long that attendance lasts. Still, I think it’s safe to say that, generally speaking, strong bilingual success for children who are exposed to the majority language at home and the minority language at school is virtually assured.

A different scenario

Many families, though, face a very different scenario, with circumstances that inherently make the challenge of fostering active ability in the minority language far more difficult. In other words, such circumstances, instead of working in the family’s favor—as in the example above—work against their success.

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BREAKING NEWS: Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability is now also available in paperback at Amazon sites in Europe and Canada.

The new book by Adam Beck, founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, can be obtained as a paperback or e-book at, Amazon UK, Amazon Spain, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Italy, and Amazon Canada.

The e-book edition (and possibly the paperback, too, if in stock) is available at Amazon Japan, Amazon The Netherlands, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Mexico, and Amazon India.

45 Key Questions Every Parent Raising a Bilingual Child Should Ask

Note: These important questions are from the Reader’s Guide to the book Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability and are tied to the “Perspectives” and “Principles” found in this book. Ask and address the questions in this comprehensive “checklist” to strengthen your efforts and your success at raising bilingual children.

Below you will also find the link to a PDF file with these questions, which can be freely downloaded and shared, and a video reading of the full text.

1. What are the benefits, to your mind, in raising a bilingual child? For the child? For you? For your family, near and far? For others? For the world? (Perspective 2 and Perspective 30)

2. How strongly do you believe that your actions each day—even your small actions—make an important difference to the larger success of your bilingual quest? (Perspective 3)

3. Which of your current circumstances are favorable for your success? Which circumstances are less favorable? How will you address these less favorable conditions to raise the odds of success? (Perspective 5)

4. How do you stay mindful of your bilingual aim? Does this include writing about your experience in some form? (Perspective 7)

5. In what ways are you proactive in your efforts? Could you be more proactive in some way? (Perspective 8)

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Friends, it’s finally here! And it’s available worldwide, in paperback and as an e-book!

This is the front cover…

Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability (front cover)

Get it now at Amazon.

And here’s the back cover…

Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability (back cover)

Learn more about it.

Adam Beck with the final manuscript

UPDATE FOR APRIL 2016: Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability is now available worldwide, as both a paperback and e-book. Just click on the image below to get your copy.

Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability

As many of you know, I’ve been working on a book about raising bilingual children to bring together the best of my experience over the past 20 years as a teacher and parent of bilingual kids. In fact, it’s taken a lot longer to write this book than I had anticipated—well over three years. From time to time I would mention my progress (or lack of progress :mrgreen: ) at this blog and many people said they were curious to read it…but I could only ask them to wait.

Meanwhile, I’ve done my best to stay active at Bilingual Monkeys and at The Bilingual Zoo, offering a range of information and ideas that I hope have been of some support to your bilingual journey. I also released a shorter e-book, titled Instant Inspiration for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids, which can now be downloaded freely.

Finally, last fall, I felt ready to share a “preview edition” of Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability with early readers, to receive feedback. When I made this appeal, I was so heartened by the response: more people wanted to read the book than I could realistically accept. In the end, I received feedback from 26 people—parents of bilingual kids all over the world—and their frank and helpful impressions enabled me to pursue another three months of targeted writing and make the content of the book even stronger. I’m very grateful to them all. (See their positive reactions to the “preview edition.”)

Early access to the final manuscript

I had planned to release the first edition of the book this spring, in both print and digital versions—and that’s still basically my plan—but I’ve decided to add another stage to this release…beginning today. Because I’ve kept people waiting so long, and then couldn’t even accommodate all those who wanted to preview it last fall, I don’t want to continue putting interested readers off—especially at the start of a new year when our motivation is at its highest and the book could be most helpful!

So here’s what I’ll do: I’ll offer early access to the final manuscript of the book in a PDF file that you can download right now. The final manuscript is simply the typewritten text (the published first edition will naturally look more “fancy”), but it contains all the content, over 77,000 words of it, intended for the first edition. At the same time (if you like), you can also order a copy of the printed book and I’ll send it directly to your home, anywhere in the world, once it’s ready, in roughly April or May. (For a limited number of people, my kids and I can sign your book, too!)

In this way, whether or not you also order a printed book, you won’t have to wait any longer—you can start reading the book today.

Thank you for your interest in my work. I’m thrilled to finally share this book with you and be able to do even more to support the success of your family’s bilingual journey.

Click now for full details on getting early access to the final manuscript to get my book.

Early Praise for the New Book “Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability”

Update: Click the image below to get your copy of the book!

Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability

You may recall that one of my resolutions for 2015 was “Finish and share my book Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability.” Frankly, this book consumed much of my energy this year—and has been in the making for years before that—but I’m happy to report that I’ve nearly achieved my aim.

Over the past few months I’ve been finalizing the manuscript, and a key part of this process has involved receiving feedback from early readers. Around 30 people kindly agreed to read a preview edition and offer me their impressions and suggestions. Not only have their good suggestions helped me to strengthen the book further, the positive impressions they shared have given me a big boost of encouragement. I’m really grateful to them all.

Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability will be available in early 2016 and I hope, like my blog and forum, it will provide ideas and inspiration for realizing even greater success on your bilingual journey. I’ve described the book in more detail before, but some of the impressions from early readers may help convey the content and spirit of the book even better.

Click to see impressions from early readers →

Instant Inspiration for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids

In spring 2014, I released the e-book Instant Inspiration for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids. The response to this unique resource was very positive and I’m so thankful to all those who made a contribution, in exchange for the e-book, to help support my work at Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo. As promised, 100% of these funds have gone toward maintaining and enhancing these two websites.

Meanwhile, I’ve also heard from some parents who wanted a copy of the e-book but weren’t able, for one reason or another, to make a donation online. (So I imagine there are others, too, who haven’t contacted me.) In fact, I’ve felt badly about this, because my main purpose in creating this resource was to lend support to other parents. Of course, the funds I’ve received have been really helpful, but I basically viewed this project as a nonprofit effort.

And so, I’ve decided to make the e-book available to all, entirely for free. At the same time, if Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo are of value to you, and you’re able to give something back by making a small contribution, this is still possible, too, and I would be grateful for your support. But it’s completely up to you: download the e-book for free or for an amount of your choice.

Get Instant Inspiration for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids

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Note: Below my review of Family Language Learning is an interview with the author, Christine Jernigan, who offered frank and insightful responses to the questions I asked via email.

Family Languge LearningThrough my interactions at this blog and at The Bilingual Zoo, it’s clear that there are many, many parents who are not native speakers of a certain language but want to nurture ability in that language in their children. In some cases, the parent already has some proficiency in the target language; in other cases, the parent doesn’t speak the language but hopes that the family can learn it together.

In both cases, here’s a new book I wholeheartedly recommend: Family Language Learning: Learn Another Language, Raise Bilingual Children by Christine Jernigan. Although I think any parent raising a bilingual child would find it worthwhile reading, the book’s special focus on providing encouragement and support to non-native parents makes this a unique and valuable resource for parents who aren’t native speakers of the target language.

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