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Why the Spanish Dialogue in 'Spider-Verse' Doesn't Have Subtitles
"While watching the new animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – featuring Miles Morales’ big screen debut as the arachnid superhero – it’s reassuring to notice the subtle, yet transcendent details through which the creators ensured both parts of his cultural identity are present.

Miles (voiced by Shameik Moore), an Afro-Latino teen who lives in Brooklyn and first appeared in Marvel’s comics back in 2011, is the son of a Puerto Rican mother and an African-American father. The protagonist’s significance – when it comes to representation – cannot be overstated, making the fact that he and his mother (Rio Morales who’s voiced by Nuyorican actress Luna Lauren Velez) speak Spanish throughout the action-packed narrative truly momentous.

Although brief, the Spanish phrases and words we hear connote the genuine colloquialisms that arise in bilingual homes as opposed to the artificiality that sometimes peppers US-produced movies and feels like the result of lines being fed through Google Translate. It might come as a surprise for some that Phil Lord, known for writing and directing The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street with his close collaborator Christopher Miller, was not only one of the main scribes and a producer on Spider-Verse, but also the person in charge of the Spanish-language dialogue.

“I grew up in a bilingual household in the bilingual city of Miami where you hear Spanish all over the place, and it’s not particularly remarkable,” he told Remezcla at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles. Lord’s mother is from Cuba and his father is from the States. As part of a Cuban-American family, the filmmaker empathized with Miles’ duality: “I certainly understand what it’s like to feel like you’re half one thing and half something else,” he noted.


Despite the massive success of Pixar’s Coco, including Spanish-language dialogue in a major studio’s animated release is still rare – doing so without adding subtitles, even for some of the longer lines, is outright daring. “It was important for us to hear Spanish and not necessarily have it subtitled,” said Lord. “It’s just part of the fabric of Miles’ community and family life.”

For Luna Lauren Velez, whose character speaks mostly in Spanish to Miles, Lord and the directors’ decision to not translate her text in any way helped validate the Latino experience on screen. “That was really bold, because if you use subtitles all of a sudden we are outside, and we are not part of this world anymore. It was brilliant that they just allowed for it to exist,” she told Remezcla. Her role as Rio Morales also benefited from the production’s adherence to specificity in the source material, she is not portrayed as just generically Latina but as a Puerto Rican woman from Brooklyn.

With the help of a dialect coach, Velez and Lord were also partially responsible for getting Shameik Moore (who has roots in Jamaica) to learn the handful of Spanish-language expressions Miles uses during the opening sequence were he walks around his neighborhood. “[Luna] has been getting on me! I need to go to Puerto Rico, and really learn Spanish for real,” Moore candidly told Remezcla on the red carpet.

Aside from Rio and Miles, the only other Spanish-speaking character is a villain named Scorpion. The insect-like bad guy who speaks only in Spanish is voiced by famed Mexican performer Joaquín Cosio. “He is an actor from Mexico City who was using slang that we had to look up because we didn’t understand it! I had never heard some of the words he used,” explained Lord.

[video: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - "Gotta Go" Clip" ]

For Lord, having different Spanish accents represented is one of the parts of Into the Spider-Verse he’s the most proud of. He wanted to make sure Miles and Rio didn’t sound alike to indicate how language changes through different generations. Being himself the child of a Cuban immigrant, the parallels were very direct. “Miles is second-generation, so he speaks different than his mother.”

Velez, who like Miles is born in New York, identifies with what it’s like to communicate in both tongues. “Growing my parents spoke to us in Spanish and we responded in English. Now this happens with my nieces and nephews,” she said. “You want to make sure kids remember their culture and where they come from.” In playing Rio, she thought of her mother who instilled in her not only the language but appreciation for her Latinidad.

Clearly, casting Velez was essential to upholding the diversity and authenticity embedded into Miles Morales’ heroic adventure since not doing so would have been a disservice to an iteration of an iconic figure that is so meaningful for many. “If Spider-Man’s Puerto Rican mom had been played by somebody who isn’t Latino I’d have a problem with that,” Velez stated emphatically."
language  translation  spanish  español  bilingualism  bilingual  srg  edg  glvo  carlosaguilar  2018  spider-verse  spiderman  miami  losangeles  nyc  coco  subtitles  specificity  puertorico  cuba  immigration  via:tealtan  accents  change  adaptation  latinidad 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Between Two Languages: An Interview with Yoko Tawada
"Among the finest of Tawada’s works are short stories about adapting to new cultures, both physically and linguistically. The daughter of a nonfiction translator and academic bookseller, Tawada learned to read in over five languages; she speaks English, but doesn’t write it. “I feel in between two languages, and that’s big enough,” she told me. Her stories often turn on feeling outside the culture, as an immigrant, as a citizen witnessing great national change, or even as a tourist."

"I look like a person who cannot think when I wake up, because I’m still quite between the sleep and the dream and the waking, and that’s the best time for business."

"Being multilingual is tricky. I feel more as though I am between two languages, and that feels like enough. To study that in-between space has given me so much poetry. I don’t feel like one of those international people who juggles many tongues."
yokotawada  language  languages  bilingualism  2018  interviews  japan  japanese  howwewrite  dreams  sleep  liminality  betweenness  littoralzone  liminalspaces  multilingualism  dualism  srg 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Craig Mod en Instagram: “Today a shop worker spoke to me in Japanese from behind and I had the distinct sensation of being not myself. They spoke with a confidence…”
"Today a shop worker spoke to me in Japanese from behind and I had the distinct sensation of being not myself. They spoke with a confidence that rarely presents itself to you as a non-Japanese. They spoke Japanese as if they knew me and knew I would understand. The out of body feeling was a momentary blip, a spliced-in frame of me as no longer the other. I knew it wasn’t true — I knew I was still the me always and forever not looking the part. Regardless, it was nice to luxuriate in mutual deception if just for a moment."
japan  bilingualism  craigmod  cv  japanese  dualism  language  acceptance  infiltration  deception 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Speaking in Tongues
"At a time when 31 states have passed “English Only” laws, four pioneering families put their children in public schools where, from the first day of kindergarten, their teachers speak mostly in a foreign language. Speaking in Tongues follows four diverse kids on a journey to become bilingual. This charming story will challenge you to rethink the skills that Americans need to succeed in the 21st century."

[See also: ]
culture  globalization  film  documentary  languages  sanfrancisco  education  schools  bilingualism 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Is bilingual better? | Public Radio International
"The benefits of speaking two languages were barely researched until the 1960s. Now, hardly a month goes by without the publication of a new inquiry into the bilingual brain. One of the most influential of these studies found that bilinguals were more adept at staving off memory loss and other effects of the ageing brain. Researchers have also found other evidence of cognitive improvements among speakers of more than one language.

There has been pushback from scholars who don't trust the methodology of these studies, or have been unable to reproduce the results, resulting in a nasty academic standoff.

There is also the occasional study that claims that speaking more than one language may actually be a disadvantage.

So in the podcast, we checked out some opinion, both informed and uninformed. We also report from a couple of bilingual frontlines: places where there is both support for and resistance to bilingualism in their communities.

Podcast Contents

00:00 In Dunstable, UK, a long-time resident views the influx of bilingual immigrants as an economic threat to monolingual locals.

4:30 Ari Daniel tells Patrick about the connection between what's going on in the womb of a pregnant woman and the Australian soap opera, "Neighbours."

6:00 What happens when you repeatedly play a soundfile that says "Tatata tatatata tatata" in the presence of a pregnant mother in her third trimester.

8:45 "By the time a baby is born, they are not an inexperienced listener."

9:30 A study out of Vancouver, BC, seeks to discover whether babies at birth can differentiate between languages.

11:10 The parents realize "their babies' interest in the world around them and is interested in learning from the first moments in life." Read more about the Ari Daniel's reporting on in utero language acquisition studies here.

12:10 Should Patrick award himself a gold star because he is raising his daughter to be bilingual? Does she have a bilingual edge?

13:25 Patrick and Nina talk bilingualism across continents and 11 time zones.

15:00 Patrick talks about the trilingual schools of Friesland in the Netherlands.

16:15 Nina notices the Hawaiian language all over Hawaii, but how many fluent speakers are there?

18:15 Patrick is a celebrity in Friesland.

19:00 Nina is mesmerized by the ocean. Will she ever come back?"
bilingualism  languages  2016 
april 2016 by robertogreco
The Superior Social Skills of Bilinguals - The New York Times
"We found that bilingual children were better than monolingual children at this task. If you think about it, this makes intuitive sense. Interpreting someone’s utterance often requires attending not just to its content, but also to the surrounding context. What does a speaker know or not know? What did she intend to convey? Children in multilingual environments have social experiences that provide routine practice in considering the perspectives of others: They have to think about who speaks which language to whom, who understands which content, and the times and places in which different languages are spoken."

"Multilingual exposure, it seems, facilitates the basic skills of interpersonal understanding. Of course, becoming fully bilingual or multilingual is not always easy or possible for everyone. But the social advantage we have identified appears to emerge from merely being raised in an environment in which multiple languages are experienced, not from being bilingual per se. This is potentially good news for parents who are not bilingual themselves, yet who want their children to enjoy some of the benefits of multilingualism."
bilingualism  bilingual  languages  empathy  perspective  2016  psychology  communication  katherinekinzler  boazkeysar  zoeliberman  samanthafan  interpersonal  understanding  multilingual  multilingualism 
march 2016 by robertogreco
The Costs of English-Only Education: A Growing Movement to Teach ELL Students in Their Native Languages - The Atlantic
"In 1998, Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley millionaire and former gubernatorial candidate, set out to abolish bilingual education in California. Fueled by an anti-immigrant climate, Unz spearheaded a statewide campaign for Proposition 227, a highly controversial state initiative that required schools to teach language-minority students almost entirely in English. The ballot measure passed with 61 percent of the vote and made California the first state to prohibit bilingual programs in schools, radically altering the education of hundreds of thousands of children. Now almost 17 years later, while the political tensions remain, a reversal is underway, powered largely by findings that bilingual instruction is what’s best for English language learners.

Nationally, bilingual education has been rechristened “dual-language programs” and is gaining fresh appeal. The templates of dual-language instruction vary—some programs transition students into English-only after several years while others emphasize ongoing two-language immersion at different ratios—but the common strand is an attempt to build literacy and proficiency in more than one language. The approach is found to outperform traditional ESL, where lessons are typically taught entirely in English. Research shows two-language instruction is linked to numerous positive and long-term benefits, including stronger literacy skills, narrowing of achievement gaps, and higher graduation rates. And the academic advantages of two-language programs even carry over to an unexpected group: children who only speak English at home. A Michigan State University study of Texas elementary students in 2013 found “a substantial spillover effect”—higher math and reading scores—for children from English-only homes who were enrolled in schools with bilingual education programs.

Today, more California students are learning the three Rs in their native languages, aided by a provision that allows public schools to bypass Proposition 227 if parents sign a waiver. According to the state Department of Education, some 50,000 California children are receiving dual instruction in English and another language, including Armenian, German, Mandarin, French, and Korean. This is a small but growing segment of California’s 1.4 million English learners. The National Association for Bilingual Education estimated in 2011 there were 2,000 dual-language programs in U.S. schools, a tenfold increase over the prior decade.

Beyond the politics are parents seeking a quality education for their children and the real-life costs of English-only education. The goals of dual-language are closely related and intertwined—better teaching models for non-English speakers, fostering cross-cultural understanding, and in special settings reclaiming disappearing Native American languages—and the approach is earning praise.

With this growing momentum, schools like Camino Nuevo Charter Academy in Los Angeles are embracing the cultural and cognitive value of dual-language courses. As a charter school, Camino Nuevo is exempt from California’s requirement for exclusive English education, allowing it to offer dual-language instruction in Spanish and English from kindergarten through fifth grade. The curriculum, which emphasizes culturally relevant literature, is showing signs of success. Rachel Hazlehurst, the academy’s literacy and language specialist, sees an obvious link between celebrating children’s ethnic roots and school performance.

“Students need to see themselves in the school in order to excel academically,” she says. “If there’s a disconnect between students’ home identities … and what’s promoted by the school, students are more likely to disconnect, disinvest, and experience educational failure.” The situation is worsened, Hazlehurst stresses, when the first language isn’t taught, hindering a child’s ability to communicate. “[When] children lose their home language skills, we as educators have a serious problem … fractured communities are created when families can no longer [talk] on a deep level about issues that matter.”

While underscoring the importance of bilingual programs, Hazlehurst also acknowledges a perennial challenge: the shortage of qualified bilingual teachers. Teachers certified to lead a bilingual classroom are scarce and those with experience teaching in a bilingual program are rarer. With bilingualism’s rising popularity and myriad gains—from stronger critical thinking skills to higher lifetime earnings—many school districts around the country are finding it hard to keep pace with rising demand.

New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., looked at communities that are revamping how they serve language learners and found that even well-designed, well-resourced efforts can suffer from hiring woes. In San Antonio, Texas, one of the cities profiled, planning and executing a dual-language effort is complicated by the supply of available teachers, with the analysis concluding, “Districts seeking to shift to a dual immersion model need to begin with a human capital strategy.”

These challenges take on a special twist with Native American language-immersion programs, which blend the language, culture, and traditions of indigenous peoples in dual instruction. [continues …]"
bilingualeducation  us  education  dual-language  bilingualism  prop227  1998  esl  ron  unz  california  languages  language  bilingualinstruction  rachelhazelhurst  2015 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Johnson: Bilingualism in America: "Speak American". What about speaking something else too? | The Economist
"ARRIBA, ándale. America’s conversation about the country’s second-biggest language is as drearily predictable as the catch-phrase of Speedy Gonzalez, a cartoon mouse, is silly. The country has not quite figured how to think about the fact that it is home to millions of people who speak Spanish.

Three recent stories encapsulate the tone-deaf nature of the dialogue happening between English and Spanish in America. First is that of Vanessa Ruiz, a newscaster in Arizona. Apparently many Anglophones in her audience are annoyed by her overly Spanish pronunciation of Spanish names and place-names during her English broadcast. (One tweeted at her “You are a newscaster. Not a mariachi. Speak English.”) Ms Ruiz replied in a cheerful on-air commentary: she was “lucky” to grow up bilingual, and that she had faith that her viewers would get used to hearing the words in question pronounced “they way they are meant to be pronounced.”

This is slightly confused; there is not a single way that anything is “meant” to be pronounced: tomato, tomahto, “park the car in Harvard Yard” and “pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd.” Mexico is pronounced meks-ick-o in English, and meh-hee-ko in Mexico. What about a name like “Rodríguez”: the rhotic burr of an American "r" twice, or a trilled “r” to start the name and a quick tap for the second r, as in Spanish?

There is not a simple answer. One may not be authentically Spanish, but a Rodriguez in Cleveland may not care, or may even prefer the red-white-and-blue pronunciation. Ms Ruiz should not be criticised for her pronunciation; neither should she assume that Americans who do otherwise are doing anything wrong. If America can handle both Harvard Yard and Hahvahd Yahd, it can manage this.

But Spanish is not just another accent; it is a language. People’s confusion quickly leads to irritation when they cannot understand the speech of those around them, and many monolingual English-speakers don’t like the growth of Spanish in America. This became more than obvious when the second Spanish controversy broke recently. Jeb Bush, a contender for the Republican nomination for the presidency, is married to a Mexican-American, and occasionally addresses an impressively fluent string of Spanish to his supporters. This was too much for Donald Trump, the current Republican frontrunner, who said said that Mr Bush "should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States". Joining the chorus was Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008, who said that while it was great that Mr Bush is bilingual, Latinos in America should “speak American”.

Never mind that she corrected this to “speak English” a sentence later. After disappearing from the national stage for a time, Ms Palin’s reputation for talking entertaining nonsense was quickly revived. She is, however, on a slightly better historical footing than her critics think: the state of Illinois declared its official language to be “American” in 1923, before quietly revoking the law in 1969, and one congressman introduced a failed bill to make “American” the national language in the 1920s as well. American English is quite obviously a dialect of English, not a separate language from that spoken in England, but in quite a lot of places, two mutually intelligible varieties of speech get different names for political reasons: Serbian and Croatian, Hindi and Urdu, and so forth.

Ms Palin did her best to be generous, calling America’s Hispanic population “large and wonderful” and praising Mr Bush’s connection to Hispanics through his wife and her language. But she went on to say “I think, you know, when you’re here, let’s speak American.” The territoriality of it all seems to be at issue: foreign languages are great, so long as they’re only spoken abroad.

But the territory of the United States has never been anything resembling monolingual. It was founded on the territory of speakers of the many native American languages. It bought and conquered big territories from France, Spain and Mexico. It has received wave after wave of immigrants, and contrary to popular belief, yesterday’s waves were no faster than today’s to learn English (and in many cases, quite a lot slower). Contrary to another popular belief, Spanish is not the first language with large groups of speakers living in big sections of the country, with media and local life in their language; German-speakers made up a huge and mostly unassimilated bloc a century ago, dominating cities across the midwest like Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis.

This history is easily forgotten because America is very good at turning immigrants into monoglot English-speakers. Yes, American English is the crucial language to know in the United States. But Ms Ruiz in Arizona and Mr Bush on the campaign trail merely highlight an obvious corollary: there is nothing wrong at all—in fact, there is a lot to celebrate—in speaking a second language alongside English, whether you are an Arizonan named Ruiz or the Anglo-Saxon son and brother of former presidents named Bush. Barack Obama can chat a bit in Indonesian, Herbert Hoover was fluent in Mandarin, and Martin van Buren’s first language was Dutch. America is never going to elect someone who doesn’t speak “American”, but it should be proud, not nervous, when it picks someone who speaks more than a single language."
spanish  español  english  us  language  languages  politics  2015  bilingualism 
september 2015 by robertogreco
A conversation with President David Skorton and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz MFA '95 - CornellCast
"Each year, the Olin Lecture brings to campus an internationally prominent speaker to address a topic relevant to higher education and the current world situation. Junot Díaz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and creative writing professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)."

[Great chat with Junot Díaz (is there any other kind?) and I especially love the part towards the end in response to a prompt from the audience about social action.

“There is no more important mandate to anyone living in a society than civic engagement. Civic engagement is just what's owed. There is no person, poor or rich, who does not take more out of this country than what they put back in. No one. There is no one so afflicted that doesn't owe this nation a debt. Civic engagement is how we begin to pay the interest on that debt. And, part of civic engagement is looking for places that we think that we can improve and trying to improve it. It is just something that has been lost for a long time, something that I think isn't valued enough. I think that what you are doing is incredibly important under the most fundamental level of what it means to be alive in a civic society. To give back, to attempt to engage yourself in that way is absolutely essential.

The thing is that we live in a society that has spent the last thirty or forty years promulgating, convincing people that the only thing that matters is you and how much money you have made. A perverse neoliberal individualism that has collapsed a lot of what we would call our civic communities. People aren't just bowling alone, gang. People are also not engaged in civic society the way they used to. They've got us all mad at each other, whether we're Republican or Democrats because that is a way to convince people that this is civic engagement. Partisan politics is not civic engagement. We think it's civic engagement, but it's not. And I think the nature of civic engagement is that in a country like ours, in a moment like ours, it is going to be very hard to convince people to go against the pied piper music of individualism and neoliberal profit-making and to think more seriously about what our community requires and what is owed of all of us. And I think that the nature of this work, is that you are going to find that it is going to be difficult to engage large movements of people. And that despite this, what you do is utterly invaluable.

My sense of this is that you've got to constantly model, you've got to constantly reach out, and you've got to everything you cant that when you're home, or wherever you settle, to go to every damn school and get every teacher who is an ally and let you make a presentation. And try to get allied teachers to come and visit your project so that at least the young people are exposed and given some modeling. And it is the same thing. How many people are at home looking for things to do? And, again, I don't know what community you are in or what kind of space, but if you can sort of figure out a place where there is a lot of traffic that you could present and model your work, you can begin to slowly pull people in. Will it be a lot? No. Will it be as much as you need? Perhaps. Will it be transformational and save individual lives through that engagement and through that reaffirmation of the most important values of our civic society? Absolutely. Being an artist in some ways is no different than being someone who wants to make this country better. there is very little money in it, especially if done correctly.

You know, there is little acclaim and respect. And in fact, there is very few signs that what you're doing is working. And yet, without your presence, what remains is not worth calling a society. Nothing is more a faith-based initiative than the kind of work you're doing. But I would argue, trying to get into the schools, trying to get into the places where a lot of adults flow through who don't have that kind of training or don't have that kind of literacy, and tying to kind of increase the exposure, that is what tends to work best in this battle. And I leave you with this: whether you're someone who is trying to do the work this young sister is doing or you're a teacher trying to convince their students that reading is good, in this battle, it is hand to hand. If you can transform one life, you've given more than most of us can dream. And, that life may do the work the future needs to make the future that we all dreamed possible. And therefore you must stick with it.”

See 1:02:29 for that.]
junotdíaz  art  activism  writing  race  2015  via:javierarbona  howwewrite  whywewrite  experience  socialjustice  us  education  highered  highereducation  inclusion  inclusivity  diversity  immigrants  immigration  elitism  politics  struggle  mfas  hardship  gratitude  civics  citizenship  engagement  migration  bilingualism  language  accents  rutgers  cornell  stigma  latinos  patriarchy  capitalism  publicadministration  socialaction  society  movements  storytelling  neoliberalism  individualism  money  wealth  inequality  transformation  modeling  lcproject  openstudioproject  inlcusivity 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Why We Don't Italicize Spanish - YouTube
[See also:

""I don’t explain cultural things, with italics or with exclamation or with side bars or asides. I was aggressive about that because I had so many negative models, so many Latinos and black writers who are writing to white audiences, who are not writing to their own people. If you are not writing to your own people, I’m disturbed because of what that says to your relationship to the community you are in one way or another indebted to. You are only there to loot them of ideas, and words, and images so that you can coon them to the dominant group. That disturbs me tremendously." —Junot Díaz, with Diógenes Céspedes and Silvio Torres-Saillant (1996)

this is why we stopped using italics-to-connote-foreignness at THE STATE. junot diaz is why we do a lot of things."


"Junot Díaz once told me that he writes for his six best friends and the rest of the world. This was a few summers ago in a VONA fiction workshop in San Francisco. We had been discussing the meaty issue of how much to explain in our short stories and novels. For example, would the reader understand the meaning of chiltepe without having to look it up? How much did I gain from including details that may feel welcoming to some, alienating to others? I wondered if I should italicize certain words, and by that I meant words in Spanish.

Junot answered my questions with a question: “Who is your audience?”

My audience? Other than the folks sitting around that rectangular table, I didn’t have an audience. This was the first short story I had ever written, save for three failed attempts at stories that were really scenes in an undergraduate fiction course. It was 2006. All of us seated at the table were writers of color. All of us had confronted the barbed wire fence in our writing—italics. When was it appropriate to use them? By using italics were we signaling to readers—foreign word alert, foreign word alert? Were we pushing some readers out? Which readers? Or, was the use of italics actually helpful to all readers?

For Junot, if his six best friends understood what asqueroso meant, then there was no need to italicize the word. As for the rest of the world? Well, the rest of the world could get the word’s meaning from context, or they could look it up. He knew what he was doing. After all, if a writer from the majority culture uses specific terminology from polo or tennis, the reader is expected to look it up. He wanted to flip this and change the identity of the privileged reader. So he would never explain what a platano was, much less a morena. You’ll notice I did italicize these words in Spanish. More on that later."]
danieljoséolder  language  spanish  español  bilingualism  spanglish  formatting  italics  writing  communication  grammar  rules  junotdíaz  jenniferdeleon 
april 2015 by robertogreco
‘Bilingual Advantage’ May Not Really Be a Thing -- Science of Us
"What seems likely is that this is a case of publication bias — the tendency for scientific results that fail to find a link between two things (whatever the subject in question) to have a lot more trouble getting published than those that do find a link. In other words, all things being equal, many in the scientific community think that I'll have a lot more luck publishing a paper showing that commonly used Substance A does cause cancer instead of one saying that there's no evidence it does, even though both results are potentially important and meaningful (this is not a new notion for those who follow this stuff). So-called null results, a lot of science-watchdog types think, often get short-shrifted.

It's easy to write all this off as nerdy nitpicking, but it matters a lot. After all, once results are published in big journals, they trickle down to mainstream publications (Science of Us included), and from there, they form the general societal sense of what is and isn't true. A lot of people think the bilingual advantage exists because they've read about it in outlets they trust, and they may make certain decisions with regard to, say, raising their kids as a result. This metastudy doesn't prove the bilingual advantage is a myth, of course, but it does suggest that the popular conception of it is built on a biased set of papers.

The researchers sum all this up nicely in their paper, as quoted in its press release: "All data, not just selected data that supports a particular theory, should be shared, and this is especially true when it comes to data regarding issues that have enormous societal relevance and implications, such as bilingualism." As they say not only in English but in many other languages: Amen."
bilingualism  2014  psychology 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Why I want my children to be bilingual – Ben Faccini – Aeon
"My children are not in the eye of converging linguistic influences the way I was. I have to accept that I cannot recreate the natural intermeshing of languages necessary for long-lasting bilingualism or multilingualism. I have, disturbingly, even begun to fear that my children might not speak any language other than English.

From school to university, and then working and travelling for a UN agency for many years, I constructed myself thanks to different languages, following the roads they paved out into the unknown. I can now say with confidence that the chameleonic battles of my childhood were worth it. A knowledge of languages can foster versatility, an attentiveness to the world and an understanding of cultural difference. It can make sense of the make-up and narrative of nations, cultivating deeper and joyous communion with others. Without languages, I feel as though my children are going to be missing some vital limb, hobbling through life, cut off from their heritage and the possibilities of the world."

"In my experience, learning another language lays the foundations for greater curiosity and openness to learning processes overall. It evolves into a curiosity that can underpin life in general. As a child, no doubt because of my rural isolation too, I used to spend hours crouched in the long grass observing insects and juxtaposing words in my head, lining up meanings in different tongues, jostling alternatives and options, classifying, rearranging. I remember being particularly exercised by my father’s complaint that there wasn’t anything as expressively satisfactory as the French ‘tant pis’ in English. ‘Too bad’, ‘never mind’ or ‘oh well’ didn’t quite do it justice, and the accompanying gestures certainly weren’t the same either."

"Areas most vulnerable to the loss of biodiversity are regions where languages are dying out"
bilingualism  polyglots  language  languages  dementia  parenting  2014  banfaccini 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Bilingualism: Stephen Colbert's 'truthiness' inspires a language -
"Then the researchers had the study participants listen to Colbertian words and pick the matching image out of the choices presented. They tracked participants’ eye movements and mouse movements, to see if they veered over to the wrong choice because of interference from their native language.

For example, if the participants were presented with the word "shundoe" and asked to choose between a picture of a shovel and an acorn, the shovel (which sounds similar to "shundoe") might distract a speaker before they chose the acorn as the correct answer.

The study showed that bilinguals were much better at suppressing the native-language alternative while picking the correct Colbertian translation than the monolinguals were, neutralizing the competing language in half the time (700 milliseconds) than the monolinguals could (up to 1,400 ms).

It seems that learning a second language very well makes it easier to pick up others…"
bilingual  languages  language  interference  bilingualism 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Bilingualism | Hilery Williams
"It seems that in timed problem solving tests, the thought processes of bilingual people move rapidly from one language to another in order to retrieve information. Thus, knowing 2 words for the same concept creates flexibility and, it is claimed, freer thinking. Naturally this requires practice but this research is evidence of the extreme adaptability and plasticity of the brain."

"Other studies have shown that the cognitive benefits of bilingualism are apparent from 2 years of age. It’s not just that the 2 year olds solve problems better, but that they are less distractible than mono-linguists: they are accustomed to listening and adapting to two modes of speech."
language  bilingualism  cognition  cognitive  cognitivedisability  adaptability  plasticity  memory  flexibility  retrieval  problemsolving  information  freethinking  listening  adaptation  distraction 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Fundacion Marina Orth
"Somos una organización (501.C3) sin ánimo de lucro que sirve a las escuelas más necesitadas en Colombia. Como respuesta a una petición de la Secretaría de Educación de Medellín, estamos desarrollando un proyecto piloto en Inglés y Tecnología-Informática con los maestros y los estudiantes de la Institución Educativa Rural Marina Orth, que busca hacer de la misma, la primera Institución Educativa Pública y Rural, Bilingüe y con énfasis en Tecnología-Informática de Medellín y de Colombia. Después, la Fundación espera poder desarrollar el mismo proyecto en otras escuelas del país."
maureenorth  olpc  colombia  medellin  schools  education  bilingualism  rural  technology  medellín 
july 2010 by robertogreco
What the Media is Saying About Bilingualism « SpanglishBaby
"The El País article starts by mentioning words like “carpeta” and “rufo,” the type of sounds that make me cringe whenever I hear them, especially when they come from my daughter’s own mouth – as I’ve written about in the past. And then goes on to explain what Spanglish means, according to sociolinguist David Divita: “It’s not making up words like rufo or adapting bad translations because you don’t know the original term. More and more, the argument is getting stronger that Spanglish comes from being bilingual, from the knowledge of two languages, and not from the lack of command of one of them.”"

[via: ]
language  spanish  english  spanglish  languages  bilingualism  srg 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Ethan Zuckerman: Listening to global voices | Video on
"Sure, the web connects the globe, but most of us end up hearing mainly from people just like ourselves. Blogger and technologist Ethan Zuckerman wants to help share the stories of the whole wide world. He talks about clever strategies to open up your Twitter world and read the news in languages you don't even know."

[script here: ]
infrastructure  bilingualism  blogging  blogs  globalization  global  ted  world  curation  ethanzuckerman  filterbubble  tcsnmy  classideas  toshare  topost  news  media  language  socialmedia  translation  internet  xenophily  xenophiles  perspective  globalvoices  languages  googlechrome  nicholasnegroponte  imaginarycosmipolitans  education  learning  understanding  flocks  GDPbias  gdp  newscoverage  tedglobal  brazil  technology  globalvillage  listening  globalism  communication  knowledge  twitter  collaboration  brasil 
july 2010 by robertogreco
…My heart’s in Accra » A wider world, a wider web: my TEDGlobal 2010 talk
"world is much wider than we generally perceive it....Tools like twitter can trap us in...“filter bubbles”–internet is too big to understand, so we get picture of it that’s similar to what our friends see...wider world is click away, but we’re usually filtering it out...wasn’t how it was supposed to 1970s, 35-40% of average nightly newscast focused on international 12-15%...same phenomenon in quality US newspapers...pays far closer attention to wealthy nations than poor ones...Most media show this GDP bias...internet isn’t flattening world as Nicholas Negroponte thought it would...making us “imaginary cosmopolitans”

[video here: ]
infrastructure  bilingualism  blogging  blogs  globalization  global  ted  world  curation  ethanzuckerman  filterbubble  tcsnmy  classideas  toshare  topost  news  media  language  socialmedia  translation  internet  xenophily  xenophiles  perspective  globalvoices  languages  googlechrome  nicholasnegroponte  imaginarycosmipolitans  education  learning  understanding  flocks  GDPbias  gdp  newscoverage  tedglobal  brazil  technology  globalvillage  listening  globalism  communication  knowledge  twitter  collaboration  brasil 
july 2010 by robertogreco
More U.S. kids growing up bilingual (5:45) | PRI's The World
"Despite efforts to limit bilingualism in classrooms, more and more American parents are raising their children to speak two or more languages. And as The World's Patrick Cox reports, there's a fast-growing industry of nannies, preschools and books to support them."
parenting  trends  languages  language  bilingualism  glvo 
december 2008 by robertogreco / Arts & weekend / Books - Dislocation, dislocation, dislocation
"I suspect that being a European third-culture kid is an excellent training for modern life. As the speed of change increases, it gets harder for people to have a sense of rootedness, even if they are living in the place where they grew up."
children  thirdculture  culture  life  connectedness  roots  place  identity  global  world  technology  bilingualism  language  travel  work  education  geography 
april 2007 by robertogreco
Bilingualism delays onset of dementia - health - 12 January 2007 - New Scientist
"People who are fully bilingual and speak both languages every day for most of their lives can delay the onset of dementia by up to four years compared with those who only know one language, Canadian scientists said on Friday."
language  health  brain  science  research  bilingualism 
january 2007 by robertogreco

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