infan011: October 2011 Archives


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As a bilingual and biliterate student, I found this passage particularly interesting. There are parts that I do and do not agree with. The authors state that "the best predictor of whether we'll become fluent is the age of acquisition: All things being equal, the earlier, the better(Johnson & Newport, 1989)" I completely agree with this statement. I began to learn Spanish when I was five years old. I attended a dual-immersion school, in which the curriculum was taught in both English and Spanish. We began our schooling on a 90-10 model. This means that for the first two years of schooling (kindergarten and 1st grade) I was taught 90% in Spanish and 10% in English. With every year, English curriculum increased by 10% and Spanish curriculum decreased by 10%, so that by the fifth grade we were taught on a 50-50 model. This method of schooling provided even amounts of both language curriculum for both native English and Spanish speakers. Native English speakers like myself developed rich Spanish accents by the third grade, and Native Spanish speakers developed clear English accents by the third grade. (I can demonstrate for you if you'd like) If you were to put myself and one of my native Spanish speaking friends behind a curtain and had us both speak in each language, you would not be able to decipher who was the native English speaker and who was the native Spanish speaker.
The book asks the question "How do bilingual persons fluent in two languages keep them straight, and how are these languages organized in their brains?" My answer to this is that we never even have to think about it, it basically just like a light switch. You can flip to whichever language you want to use, without any thought to it. I can hear or read something in Spanish and immediately start thinking and speaking in Spanish. Honestly I dream in Spanish, my Mom and friends have caught me sleep talking in Spanish multiple times. For bilingual individuals, we can read a book in Spanish, but then have a discussion about it in English. There have been multiple times where I have had to read a book in Spanish and write a book report on it in English, it truly is no struggle for us.
Another topic that the book discusses is delays in language, specifically with syntax. Although there is research to back it, I personally do not believe it to be true. I would like to know how exactly being bilingual would impare you to form sentences. In my view, we are able to form sentences in two languages and have a very wide vocabulary, therefore it is easier for us to form sentences. Again, this is my personal belief and if anyone has any specific information towards this, please let me know! I do agree, however, that with being bilingual comes a variety of long-term benefits and heightened mentalinguistic insight.
All in all, I believe that being bilingual will provide you with many benefits and opportunities in life. I highly advocate early learning dual-immersion programs and the teaching methods that go along with it.


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An estimated 9 to 15 percent of people report severe or longstanding problems with insomnia. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, waking up throughout the night and having trouble going back to sleep,waking up too early and feeling tired upon waking. There are two types of insomnia. The first, priamry insomnia, is in which a persons sleep problems are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem. Secondary insomnia means that a persons sleep problems are due to health conditions such as asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer or heartburn. Also pain, medication, or substance usage(alcohol). Brief insomnia is often due to stress and relationship prblems, medications and illness, long work hours, caffeine or napping during the day. Insomnia can be recurent if we become fristrated or anxious when we cant fall asleep at first. The most recommended treatment for insomnia is regular sleep patterns. Other recommended treatments include hiding clocks, sleeping in a cool room and avoiding caffeine, napping, reading, watching tv or surfing the web before going to sleep. Over the counter sleeping pills have undesired side effects and lose their effectiveness over time. Research has shown that brief psychotherapy is a more effective treatment than sleeping pills. The biggest question that I have about insomnia is how many of the reported cases of insomnia are legitimate, and how many are just people who dont have a regular sleep pattern?

In chapter three we learned the importance that adoption studies have in the Nature and Nurture debate. Through adoption studies one is able to observe whether a trait is biologically or environmentally influenced. If the characteristic is similar to that of the child's biological parent it is deemed "biologiaclly influenced". If the characteristic is similar to the adopted parents and not to the biological parents then it is deemed "environmentally influenced". One major confound in Adoption studies is selective placement, this is where the child is placed in a home similar to that of their biological parents. This has lead investigators to deem characteristics as biologically influenced, when they are truly environmentally influenced. In the mid 60's one man came up with the perfect study, he would seperate identical twins at infancy and observe their behavior as they grew. This is now known as the Neubauer Study. In this specific experiment, the twins were put into families where the two sets of parents looked very much alike, along with the son. Both of these families had adopted a son from the same agency. The boys looked very similar. Now looking back, there were some very noticeable similarities between the twins. Both girls had the same haircut at ages 7 and 11, they were both the editor in chief of their school newspaper and they both went to school studying film. After the twins had met and shared life stories, they stated that they share the same interest in books and music and that they share the same personality.The documented results for this experiment will not be available until 2066, because Neubauer has put them in an Archive at Yale University because he feels that the public would view his study as unethical. The twins on the other have published a book entitled "Identical Strangers". In their book they narrate their life stories ,along with the multiple behavioral and physical similarities they have shared throughout their lives apart.Their personal belief is that atleast 50% of one's personality is due to genetic makeup. Viola Bernard, a child psychologist for this experiment stated that twins should be raised in seperate homes, because they are often dressed the same and treated the same and she feels that it interferes with their independent psychological development. This set of twins in particular, seemed(for the most part) to have developed fairly similar while being raised in two seperate homes. This adoption study provided evidence proving that even when raised in different homes, identical twins grow up very similarly due to their genetic makeup.

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