My name is Falisha or Fee-li-cii-ahh?
Have you ever tried learning a new language as an adult? Did you grow up speaking more than one language? Did you learn the second language as a child? I did. I was 11 years old soon to be 12 when I first landed through the gates of JFK airport in NYC. All the words I now know in the English language are because I have stored them in my lexicon. Lexicon is a person knowledge of the meanings, sounds of words and how we use them. I have been learning English words since 11 years of age until now. I learned the Spanish words from birth to 11 years of age. Am i a dominant in English or Spanish?
Language is defined as a system of communication which uses symbols and sounds that let us express our ideas, feelings, experiences and thoughts. (Cognitive Psychology Pg.294). As I started a new school. Learning a new language was not easy. I was accustomed to speaking Spanish and learning in Spanish.
I remember my first day of school at I.S 90, an uptown Washington heights school. I remember my English teacher and how he pronounced my first name. I had to look twice to see who he was calling. Then I noticed it was me whom he was calling. He was calling me by my first name. I was used to been called Felicia with a Spanish sound to it. When my English teacher said my name, it had a whole different tone to it. The phonemes which are the short segment of speeches, seems to have changed the sounding of my first name.
Although, I believe myself to be bilingual and not a late second language learner. My idea of a late second language learner would be 18 year of age and older. An online article has me questioning myself or my children bilingualism. An article called (Study Shows How Bilinguals Switch Between Languages by Kalim Gonzales), describe how we switch from one language to the other and how some people perceive bilinguals as being more proficient on one language more than the other. The article also states, that the reason why some late second language learner have an accent is because they are dominant on the first language and not the second.
My questions are; are my kids going to know one language more than the other? Are they going to be more proficient in English than Spanish because they will be taught all their classes in English instead of Spanish? What if they learn to read, write and speak Spanish as well as English? Will that still make them dominant in English and not Spanish? My conclusion is that, being proficient or dominant in one language has a lot to do with how often the language is spoken.
Goldstein, E. Bruce. (2011). Cognitive psychology connecting mind, research, and everyday experience (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Study Shows How Bilinguals Switch Between Languages, Kalim Gonzales, Retrieved on 11/19/2016 from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/exploring-how-bilinguals-switch-between-languages.html#.WDJm4PkrLIU.