Creating bilingual minds | Naja Ferjan Ramirez | TEDxLjubljana



Dr. Naja Ferjan Ramirez is a researcher studying the brain processing of language in infants and young children. In her talk, she showcases the latest …

20 Comments

  1. We are Indonesian and mostly we are bilingual. We have around 700 local languages and we speak Indonesian language as national language. 😊 I am grateful as a bilingual.

  2. What is the point of the speech? You know six principles how to make babies learn foreign languages. Ok. Why don't you share these principles?
    Chart on 6:40 is a nonsense. Why these points are connected with lines?

  3. Bilingual learning doesn’t slow down the learning process. I live in Malaysia and I know children who at the age of 4-5 are able to switch between 3 or 4 languages (malay – thai – english – arabic). It’s amazing the capacity of learning that some children have developed in this part of the world thanks to anything but geographical location. You can find this phenomena all throughout Southeast Asia.

    Based on my personal experience, I can assure you that we do are able to learn more than one language simultaneously. I’m a native spanish speaker from México, I also speak english, arabic fusha and malay; I started learning these last two about 3 years ago (when I moved to Asia), and I never felt my brain this agile when learning a language. I’ve even improved considerably my understanding of english and spanish grammar during the last years.

    As she explained, confusion is not a real issue while learning more than one language at the time. Mixing languages requires advance knowledge in grammar. I do mix languages all the time with my partner, who is a malay native speaker and also knows english, spanish and arabic. And it’s not about translating some words from your speech into other language only. It’s about replacing/using/adding different grammar elements such as possessives, affixes, suffixes, adverbs; in such a way that makes total sense. And that’s not all, you need to be able to understand the general mindset of the native speaker of each language in order to transmit the concepts, ideas and emotions successfully, since the way we think is highly influenced by our language.

    The must of the time it’s like a game between my partner and I, in some cases is a vocabulary resource when you don’t know a word in certain language. At the end, I think the objective of it is simplify the communication. However, when in public I normally prefer to switch to the language that is less probable for people around me to understand. You know, we like to keep our conversation in private.

    So you will find me saying things such as:

    “Habibiku sudah arrive ke mall?”…

    Which is a sentence that contents arabic, malay and english elements that translated into a single language doesn’t really trasmite what I want in the way I want.

    “Have you arrived to the mall my beloved?”

    I think it sounds pretty cheesy and unnatural for an average english conversation. However, for us who are able to understand each single word and its own natural connotation, the communication happens to be effective.

    It’s kinda funny…

  4. Look, in Ukraine we are bilingual just from our birth, so that we can speak ukrainian as well as russian fluently, for us learning one more language is not a problem. We are often moving abroad and living there making one addional language as native, i think people from Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and other bilingual countries are the same.

  5. What really bothered me in this talk is how Dr. Ramirez, though very knowledgeable, uses the outdated, retrograde term "native speaker". According to David Crystal, being a native speaker is a geographical, not a linguistic concept and it is prejudicial as well. Why do the parents speaking different languages at home have to be native speakers? Can children or anyone, despite how well they speak a foreingn language become a native speaker (since this has to do with the place of birth and not with the language ability). I am happy to be a non-native English Speaker raising 3 Portuguese-English bilingual children.

  6. Im spanish poken, my english is a horror history but understoond tha she said is very intereting. I note that she is nervous and I apreciate that cause for me is when you prepare something a lot for a long time and is the moment. give to me a huge effort that she did.

  7. Does anyone have a link or info about the European centers she mentions for creating bilingual children? If the model they create is successful in naturally allowing children to acquire a 2nd language, then it should be replicated in countries like Korea where millions of dollars are thrown at teaching English over a tortuous 8 to 10 years in which not much of a bang is created for the buck. In other words how much more efficient could it be for Korea to set up thousands of infant play centers in which throughout the language developing years, infants are naturally introduced to and acquire English painlessly. So my question would be: what are the hours needed daily to help an infant aquire bilingual ability?

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