|Has Achieved Nirvana|
|Has Achieved Nirvana|
*bump* for SK
|(self-titled) semi-posting lurker|
That's a great article, thanks for the bump, since I'd missed this!
Japanese reading/writing is such an interesting case because of the combination of phonological and lexical markers, and characters. For example...
ね is hiragana and is read "ne" but has no inherent meaning.
ネ is katakana and is read "ne" but has no inherent meaning.
値 is a kanji that can be read ne or chi and has a core meaning ("money/price/value") which comes into play when it's combined with other kanji and contributes to the meaning of the new compound kanji (like 価値 kachi, value or merit)
根 is a kanji that can be read ne or kon and has a core meaning ("root") which comes into play when it's combined with other kanji and contributes to the meaning of the new compound (like 根本 konpon, basis or origin)
If you know the individual kanji, you don't necessarily even have to know how to pronounce (read) a kanji compound to get its meaning. Or, OTOH, if you know the word (i.e., you could say it out loud in a discussion), and you come across its written form, your lexical knowledge (and the kanji's lexical meaning conveyed pictorially) can trigger the reading of the word, rather than needing to rely on phonological awareness.
On the other, other hand, kanji often carry phonetic markers, 未 is pronounced "mi," and this kanji 魅 which has 未 on the right, is also pronounced "mi." There are tons of examples like this, and these markers act as helpers in learning how to pronounce new kanji, new compounds, and also help learners recognize the written forms of words they already know.
Anyway, now I'm just rambling....
but the point is, Japanese has this reputation as being very challenging to read and write, but that reputation doesn't take into account all the embedded helpers and hints that exist in written Japanese, which just aren't there in written English.
I too am fascinated in such effects of learning two or more languages from childhood, including bilingualism (although I strongly differentiate between types of bilingualism).
For example I see nothing surprising about the between the difference observed in the English (home) speaking children who study in Japanese in school.
Unless I'm missing something there's no indication that the "native English speaking" (meaning they speaking English with their families) children are deliberately brought up reading and writing in English with their parents - and literate English speaking parents.
The list of various other languages which are vastly more phonetically written than English are also different in numerous ways in how the children have learned and been exposed to both English.
There are various kinds of bilingualism (and/or trilingualism and even greater polyglottism). Comparisons and studies of such individuals need to distinguish in much more specific ways how they are exposed to their different languages.
It takes a great deal of complex effort on the part of the parents to raise a child to be equally bilingual in both languages to which they are profoundly exposed (and the ages at which they are exposed).
I'm fascinated by that brilliant Chinese American athlete, model and scholar Eileen Gu (presently attending Stanford University). She is a rare instance of an apparently perfectly bilingual young adult whose Chinese mother is somewhat of a mystery herself (What is her relationship to Eileen's biological father? He is most often reported to be American, but there is unanswered speculation about how Eileen was conceived. Did her mother conceived Eileen via sperm donation?).
Neither Eileen nor her mother, responds to any questions about her father and whether they have even met.
To learn Chinese, besides speaking Chinese with her mother, she also spent every summer in China totally immersed in Mandarin. (She has also mastered several Winter sports to the Olympic - I wonder what her linguistic neurological plasticity may have contributed to her ability to gain mastery of numerous athletic skills, even with relatively minimal exposure.) Eileen is reputedly so completely bilingual (including writing and speaking) and being accent-free in both languages that she is capable of presenting herself to both the American and Chinese public with perfect mastery winning acceptance to both audiences. That ability reflects not only blending linguistically but equally importantly, culturally.
I doubt testing a child like Eileen would reflect any linguistic weakness in reading or writing in either language compared to her age peers although I haven't found any description of just just how she was exposed to both languages compared to the Japanese-English bilingual children described in this link.
However, it sounds in any case, like her mother devoted herself to raising her daughter to her extraordinary level of bilingual perfection. (Interesting too that she is so fully accepted in both countries, that extraordinarily, China, accepted her participation in the Olympics on behalf of China - actually, in contradiction to the laws of both countries.) Eileen refuses to say whether she identifies more or less with either of her nationalities/ethnicities/cultures and she is a fabulously famous and admired celebrity in China.
Perhaps the description of this individual seems tangential, but I think her story provides an exceptional example of bilingualism/biculturalism which illustrates the weakness of the study this thread leads with. That she is straddling English and Mandarin Chinese is especially unusual. (My closest friend has been unable to teach her grandchildren - with whom she spends much time - to master Mandarin. Instead, as is so often the case, they reply in English to being spoken to in Chinese by their grandmother. Of course, there are complex social/assimilation aspects to their willingness to learn Chinese in depth.)
I wonder how Eileen might score in personality testing. One of my favorite aspects of the study of bilingualism concerns how equally bilingual individuals score different personality traits depending on which language they are tested in!
|(self-titled) semi-posting lurker|
Or maybe the reverse.... Or maybe her skills, whether athletic or linguistic, are all the result of the same kind of cognitive competence, since all those skills are essentially cognitive learning tasks.
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