Hi thank you for joining us for our very last office hours here in the bilingual brain course we're here with Dr. Hernandez, and we're going to ask you some of the very last questions that came up in the forums.l So let's just get started and we wanted to ask you, when you should start teaching your child a writing system of the second language? Isn,t it better to do it while they're learning how to write in one language? Or is it better to kind of wait, and do it in a sequential way, so that they first learn how to write in one language, and then learn how to write in the second language? >> I think again, you know, parents have to think about what's best for their children to monitor how they're doing, obviously you don't want to do anything that upsets a child, or makes, turns them off to writing, because that's probably going to have a more negative impact than starting a year or two, early or later. Most important thing is that, you know, somehow they find it rewarding in some way. As much as children can find writing rewarding but I think the question really comes down to and we could think of a parallel in. And you know, should you teach a child two languages early, or should you wait until a language is, you know, a spoken language is present and then teach second language. And the answer's always, is it depends on what outcome you want. The outcome will be different, if you teach them in sequential order as opposed to simultaneous. In terms of language, we know that a child who learns two languages at a relatively young age, will get some representational what you might call flexibility. So for example, a bilingual child is more likely, or younger at least, has been reported that they'll call they'll say, okay, I can call the sun spaghetti, because spaghetti is just a word and the sun is the sun and I know that I have two labels for sun, so I can add a third. Right, so the, the word itself doesn't represent the thing where as a monolingual is less likely to do that as young, because they'll say spaghetti is spaghetti and sun is sun, so I can't call the sun spaghetti, because that's spaghetti. So, that's just an example, I think with the script it's the same type of idea. Right? So, if you teach them simultaneously then what's going to happen is that the child's going to realize that, it's a way to represent sounds in an abstract manner. >> Mm-hm. >> And so, yes, of course, they might start to realize that some sounds are represented with different orthographic combinations or different letters, if you want to use that word, orthographic symbols. And even though they may be similar sounds, they have different orthographic symbols. And sounds that are different may have, definitely different orthographic symbols. And so, you know, again, that sorting out process will happen over time. In some ways if the scripts are different, it's somewhat clear that these are different languages. You might argue that it's maybe more confusing when the languages are use the same script, because than sounds might be slightly different. And so the point I'm trying to make is that, you know, at the end of this sorting out process. Children would know that there are these two different scripts, that represent sounds. And so they'll have in some sense a more abstract idea, of what language is. >> Mm-hm. >> Than if they just used one script. And to me that's actually kind of interesting. But again, it is a drawn out process it doesn't happen immediately, but kids are pretty adaptable and they can learn that pretty quickly. And they just learn that it's written one way in one language, another way in another language. But they also have two different languages, so they, they may already know that they're differences, so it may not be as traumatic. >> Mm-hm. >> Maybe as people think it is so again I, I don't worry too much about that, I think the writing, reading process is pretty drawn out anyway. And I know that in China for example, they've actually a colleague of mine that came to visit some, some years ago, told me that they've actually developed a second orthographic kind of Phonetic script that's in between, you know, Chinese, it's called Pinyin,. In between the local graphic script, and the spoken language, to get them to map in an easy way orthog, orthography to phonology that is, script to sound, to get them then to transition to logographic, and that you can actually write words in two different ways, so they may be learning two different scripts. And they do that by force, because it's a way to sort of get them into the system faster. So, you know, you could even argue if you learn a very transparent language, and a more opaque language, one that doesn't map drawn so closely to the sounds. That one would happen faster than the other anyway, because it's a, a more direct mapping. And over time, that would get sorted out. >> Mm-hm. >> Will it be different than learning just one? Yes, it will, but that's going to happen eventually, whether it's at, you know, eight or 15 or, or, or, you know, 20, it's going to happen. Probably easier to do younger because those mappings occur earlier and therefore become more automatic and then you can build from there. But again, I think it's up to the parents which direction they want to take and how they want to work through it, and also monitor the child to see how the child is feeling about. >> Mm-hm. >> And would you expect some confusion? Would you expect them to kind of borrow this letter, from that language as they're writing if it's a representation of the same sound? >> I would I mean I'm thinking of an example that my colleague friend Christoph Hammond and I spoke about German and I kept telling him words like [INAUDIBLE] which is like, you know, girl. And so, you know, [FOREIGN], and I would tell them but, you know, it's the [NOISE], right? And, and you know, it's because it's not, it would be, I guess it's [FOREIGN] is, they're different dialectal versions, too, of it. Of course, with my own accent on top of it, so but in any case. To me the that has a Y in it, and I would tell him, there's a y at the end of that huh. Right? And he goes there's no Y, it's [INAUDIBLE]. So he would do it, and tell me that it was an extension of the Then he says, there's no Y and I'd say, no there's a y in there, it's [INAUDIBLE]. All right, so I've inserted some why in there, now, maybe that's just my own interpretation, maybe that's not correct, beacuse I'll have to ask him again we'll have to go through this again. His dad was a German professor, so he's willing to sit there and like argue about the rules of German with anyone, you know, and how it should be spoken, correctly. >> I'm sure there's some German speakers in- >> Probably. >> Registered in the class, so you can comment in the discussion section. >> That's probably true. >> Sorry, I'm sorry if I mangled German really bad but anyway, to me there's a y in there. And so, but it, there's no y when you write it. Right? It's c-h-e-n so somehow I representationally stuck a letter in there to pre-present a sound. Right? And maybe there is really no why, and, and I've just some, but somehow I have to represent what that is, how it's different than, you know, 10? Which it would be in English and so somehow I have to represent that differently, and so I have to think of it as, I don't know what I think of it as, like some kind of trilled, rolled R, but like a [NOISE], like a guttural rolled R with a why in it? So now you can see what's happened, is I've kind of re-represented the sound. And I've somehow inserted some orthography to help me along the way, you know, unconsciously I don't do that every time I speak, but it just kind of happens naturally. >> Mm-hm. Right So moving onto the second discussion, that seem to get some attention. This is a poster who spoke Japanese at home, until she was about five, and then she went to school. In which they were only allowed to speak English. And so her Japanese was very kind of put on the back-burner, she didn't have very good vocabulary in it. And she didn't actually really learn to write until later on in life. Now would you consider Japanese, still to be her first language? >> Yes. First is first it means first.I mean, if it's a year, or two years, or five years, I suppose if it were like at a month that you heard the, then you could argue is that really my first language. If I heard it for a month and then I never heard it again, probably you would say well yeah, you know, because we could always talk about prenatal environment too and exposure to language prenatally through, basically through the mom so yeah. Okay, but first is first. >> Mm-mm. >> So five? Yes, that's the first language, and that's the native language. >> Mm-hm. >> And what do you think her brain activity might look like? >> For a Japanese? >> For a Japanese and for English. >> I would expect that for Japanese, you would see a lot more activity for, from well I mean, it's kind of interesting. It could be reduced activity, because there's less gotten out of the signal. So if she were to understand speech but not so well or not as well as, as, you know, really comprehending everything, you might actually see reduced activity, because there's not much gotten, as much gotten out of the signal as English. >> Mm-hm. >> So you could see more activity for English. But if you asked her to produce something in Japanese, then you would probably see more activity for Japanese, because she's having to really pull stuff out and really consciously work on producing it. Whereas in English, you might see reduced activity, because it's more automatic and easier. >> Mm. >> So it would depend on what you do. But clearly would be different than. Than English. >> Uh-huh. >> So- >> That, that's true that, I would expect. >> I, I was just going to say that this posting is really great because it kind of illustrates age of acquisition, proficiency and control all in kind of one story that we had here. >> Right. >> So- >> Right, and, and again, I think the other thing that we have to think about that people don't, really think about when they think about these two, and I tried to communicate that in the course. is, is this idea that I would call trajectory. Right? That, that if you think about how somebody develops, there's and you think about exposure to a language, there's probably what we call a frequency type of trajectory that, that's actually an idea that's used for words. Some words you hear often when they're young, and then they may increase in teenage and then they may drop off, you know, so if I think of something like I don't know, gnarly. >> [LAUGH]. >> It's a very California type of word that I heard in high school all the time, I probably didn't hear it all in northern California when I was a little kid, and then somehow it became really popular, you know, in the 80s, and so everybody was you know, gnarly and rad and dude. And so those words got really frequent, and now if you go around, I don't go around and say, oh that's really gnarly all the time. [LAUGH] I don't use that word that often, so the frequency is dropped off. So, it kind of has this peak some time you know, in teenage and then it really dropped off, really dropped off and now it's kind of like you know, archaic to speak that way. I, I haven't been back to coastal California for a while, but you know, maybe there are some people who still speak that way all the time, but not here in Houston. >> Mm-hm. >> So again, you can think of the trajectory of that word. Right? Very high in teenage, and then dropping off. There may be other words that are higher in. You know, childhood, like dragon, have very high frequencies in childhood, and then they drop off because we don't talk about dragons. Maybe until we have kids a little bit, but then they, kids also grow up so it kind of drops again, and then as we get older we just don't use the word dragon that often I mean a little bit, now there's some movies and that. >> Yeah, if you're in a Game of Thrones and [LAUGH]. >> Yeah, a little bit. Then you know, but again it's you know, unless you live in the video game. Right? You don't use Dragon that often, as much as maybe when you were younger. >> Mm-hm. >> So there's sort of this frequency trajectories. And we can think of language trajectories, by how much we hear a language at certain points in time. And so, this would a, this would be yes, high language exposure, with high frequency at a young age but then a drop off. >> Mm-hm. >> You know, somewhere else and then maybe an increase. Right? So if we think about that trajectory of the different languages, then we start to see a, a whole picture of how this language develops over time and, and what becomes clear is that, the trajectory of frequency or language frequency for bilingual. Is different than the trajectory of language frequency for modeling, because that will always build up, although you do have these words that, like narny that kind of come and go, but it's the same language. Right? In this case you have the languages that are varying, so you may have periods where you use a language a lot, I was in Brazil for two years you know, I used portuguese, first year, you know, over time, you know, initially maybe 50% of the time. Then as time went on, more and more and more, and so by the end it was almost all Portuguese, you know, all the time and every day, including reading, you know, newspapers, books, watching, everything, right, was in Portuguese. So at very high, you know, frequency for those two years, and then much more diminished after that time. So if you think about languages that way, then you, for this person you would see, very high frequency earlier, and then a drop. And of course that, you know, age, interacts with the age when you get the frequency. Because at different ages we learn different parts of language. >> Mm-hm. And I think everybody at home, is probably thinking about their own trajectory. >> [LAUGH] >> I know I am right now so [LAUGH] >> Yeah I mean, if you could just draw that out for each person you would, you would start to see a very different kind of pathway as opposed to oh, well I learned it when I was three. Well you know, how long did you use it and in what capacity, did you go to school, how, what, what percentage of the day did you use it? All those things would play a factor, and so you would see like this sort of graph. >> Mm-hm. >> Across time and that would explain a lot of, this sort of question about is it a native language? Well, yeah, if it's native but if, if it, the frequency drops off, the use drops off, then it going to be a different pattern of and of acquisition and I would argue that in bilinguals, certainly in multilinguals, the pattern of acquisition is very different. >> Mm-hm. >> And we have to sort of think about it, in a very different kind of way. And probably the path to multilingualism, and certainly to bilingualism. But to multilingualism, would be a longer drawn out path. >> Mm. >> Because you're sort of getting different pieces at different points in time. And it could be that, you know, I don't know, I, well I mean I, I know next year I'll be in Germany for a year, so for the last, you know, five years my German's been a little bit spotty, I haven't used it that much. But I know that, you know, when I get to Germany, and then after about three months, you know, probably just a frequency and exposure, will just bring it up to a whole other level. And, and over time, you get these waves of exposure, and so every wave you kind of go up a little higher. And then you drop off, but the drop off is not quite as much. So it's kind of a very different pattern, then when you speak one language where you feel like oh, well I just continually get better, I mean there's the aging process, but I just keep getting more vocabulary, I keep expanding the same thing it's, it's a different process. >> Mm. All right, so I think we have just very little time for our very last question which is about polyglots. So this poster writes that, many people believe that everyone's a blank slate. That even an adult person can learn a second language, be native like in their proficiency and even in their pronunciation, if they use the correct technique, and get enoug input. What are your opinions on that? >> I mean okay, so let's go back to the trajectory question I mean, you know, and, and I think I can just bounce, just segue from the statement I made before. Right? That, that if you learn more than lang, than one language your, your pathway of language development will be different. So, I think to expect in some ways for someone who learns more than one language, to look just like someone who learns one language doesn't make any sense. And it doesn't make any sense, because you've learned more than one thing. I mean it's as if you thought about, we can take another example, sports, someone who only played soccer their entire lives. Right? And then you said okay, can they learn to throw a baseball like someone who played baseball their entire lives? And you could say, can you get someone who throws a baseball to kick a ball like a soccer player, who only played soccer. Well you would say no, of course the soccer player will kick the ball differently, than a baseball player, and a baseball player will throw the ball differently than a soccer player. Right? Now t?here may be things in common in their foot work that they use, in moving and shuffling and running and all those types of things that are in common, and those would appear similar, but I don't think anybody would argue that if someone who learned how to play baseball at 20 and never thrown a ball before I mean maybe, you know, a kid, not a lot they played soccer. Right? So we got you know, someone who's a great soccer player to come and throw balls. And then someone who's a great baseball player, to come and kick soccer balls, there would be a kicking or a throwing accent. >> Mm-hm. >> They would not throw the. The same way, because they had not worked on that skill across time and developed and refined it. So, if we think of language in a similar way. Right? Someone who's 20, 22, 25 and wants to now go and learn another language. Their pattern of development will be different, because they already have knowledge and they have brain systems that have been influenced and molded by what they learned at, across time, up until that age. So it will never be the same as someone who starts at zero and we could say, well, you know, could they learn it without an accent? And they've done studies with people that have imperceptible non-na. Nativeness basically the, the work by Hyltenstam and Abrahamsson has looked at you know, people who sound like natives. Most of them are multilinguals, most of them speak or, a lot of them are bilinguals or trilinguals that learn a third or fourth language. And they come to the point where if you talk to them on the phone you can't tell, that they're a non-native speaker. But if you give them 15 tests, they'll get 12 of them at native levels, and three they won't. Now, you know, if I can fool everybody in, in another language, you know, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. Even though I may not, you know, you can give me a test where I'll flunk, Right? >> Mm-hm. >> And I won't be a native. If, if I can fool people on 12 to, you know on 12 out of 15 tests, and fool most people, I'm feeling pretty good, because, you know, that's, that's actually quite an accomplishment. You know, it's like one time my German teacher asked me, you know, she, she was, we were at a German school, I went to German school with my kids for many years, and. So we were having sandwiches, and she was telling everybody to make a sandwich, and so everybody got one piece of bread and put all the stuff on top, and they were eating their sandwich. Right? And you know, my wife's not German we're not a German family and so, I didn't have any kind of kind of cultural pressure to try to be German, at that point, at 35, 36 that's like I was who I was, you know, german was just for fun. And so, I just took my sandwich and put another piece of bread on it and I started eating it. And my German teacher said as soon as you make your sandwich that way, they're going to know that you're not German, and I said as soon as I open my mouth they'll know I'm not German. >> [LAUGH]. >> So why should I make a sandwich, in the way it's like well I just make a sandwich the way I make it you know, that's life. Right. In any case that's what I was told by my German teacher, if that's a regional thing in German I've seen sandwiches all different kinds of ways. >> [LAUGH]. >> in Germany but the point was, right when you have a different pattern of acquisition you will have a different outcome. And the expectation that a polyglot will be just like a native speaker I think is, is not really part of the literature. And even hyper-polyglots talk about having four base languages, that they always have available. And then they have surge languages, languages that they have to practice and study to get up to native like levels and then you know, they can speak them in ways that are remarkable, but they don't have them available all the time. So even for those who speak 11 or more, they have four that are always there. They're kind of their base, and then the other ones they have to practice and get up to speed kind of warm up. So I think that would show you sort of answer that question which is that, you know, we're always shaped by what happened before us and that's also true even at birth, because we know that fetuses move before birth, that they hear sounds in the environment through water. And they're muffled sounds, but they hear them, and those sounds influence them they already have a bias towards, native language sounds at birth. Now we can say that's genetic. Right? They have some like I don't know, you know, some English gene or a Chinese gene or a Russian gene, or a Spanish gene or something and then it's like genetically coded and they're born with it. But I think a much more reasonable hypothesis, is that whatever they hear before they're born, influences what they perceive when they're born. So, now imagine adding 20 years of that experience. Right? So no, we're not a blank slate, does that mean that the environment doesn't, you know, that it's all genetic? No, the environment plays a role in shaping us a profound role. But by age 20, we're clearly have had lots and lots of exposure. And there's one [COUGH] sorry, one person right now who's trying to teach himself golf. With the idea that he'll spend 10,000 hours learning golf and become a professional golfer and he's older he's in his 30s. And so far apparently he says that when he practices, he's just as, he's like within the more pro you know, or maybe golf college level golf playing. But when he goes to a tournament, his performance drops entirely and he just plays really badly. Is he over estimating his abilities, you know, is it the pressure what is it? But clearly he's not like a professional golfer. So to me I think you know, when you started an, an older. Their age that there is, the, the idea of a blank slate would mean that everything is plastic, everything can be changed at any time and again there are some counter examples. Pallier's study with the adoptees, right, suggests that there may be lots of plasticity at a young age and that you can lose, access to a first language if you have no, exposure to it. But again, you know, the fact that the, we know that language deprivation, although it's difficult to establish that, that if there's complete language deprivation, then language acquisition does not proceed. So even though they may have heard Korean, for the first eight years or four or six years of their lives. The fact that they had Korean allowed them to learn French. >> Mm-hm. >> Had they had nothing, they would have had a very difficult time learning French. So it's sort of an interesting thing that, that even that is suggesting that experience plays a role, and shapes, you know, later learning. And it turns out that, I think in Paliere's study and other studies they found that there seems to be some sensitivity, to those sounds that are specific to the first language. That monolinguals of another language right, in this case a second language don't have. >> Mm-hm. >> So there's something that's preserved that's held on, to the sound ability. But again you know, experience always, always plays a role. And so we're never a blank slate you can't completely wipe everything out. If you did it would be, you couldn't then learn anything new. >> Mm. >> It's always based on what you know. New learning is always based on, the things that you know at the time. And as an adult you will know more things, and that's going to bias what, how you learn what you learn. >> Okay. Well that's all the time that we have for today, and this is our very last office hour so I want to thank you for- >> Thank you. >> Coming here for eight weeks now and answering these questions and thanks to you guys for posting these great questions on the discussion forums, and we hope you enjoyed the course.