Korean + English = Konglish Baby

Before baby comes...
...learning Korean and researching Korean-language resources in order to raise baby as a bilingual.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blogshare: Teaching Children to Read and Write in More Than One Orthography: Tips for Parent

Multilingual Living blog recently posted an article called: Teaching Children to Read and Write in More than One Orthography: Tips for Parents.  It's an excellent, academic yet practical article.  I'll probably continue to refer to the post and the author for more information about multi-lingual development, but I'm taking away 3 points for now:

1.     Our child can learn the Korean alphabet at the same time as the English alphabet..."There are no rules with regard to how many writing systems a child can learn at once.  Human learning capacity is highly adaptable. In general, children certainly have the capacity to learn more than one writing system..."
2.     There's lots more to think about..."practically you may want to mull over several factors that will affect your children’s multiliteracy progress: For example, your own literacy competence, your availability, your support, and your children’s developmental characteristics."
3.     Come up with a plan and revise as necessary..."All in all, some sort of planning and decision need to be made before you begin your home literacy teaching. The experiences of many parents suggest that the crucial step in teaching heritage literacy successfully at home is that you have to have a plan in place before you start, although you can change or modify your plan any time if it does not work.”

Reading articles like this get me excited, because it leads me to believe, “by golly, maybe we CAN be somewhat successful in developing some fluency in our children in multiple languages besides English!” 

The plan for now is that I continue to develop my own literacy and fluency in Korean (reading children’s books, increasing my vocabulary, practicing conversational Korean, studying grammar, and gaining confidence).  So, when baby comes, I can try to speak 100% Korean and begin teaching the Korean writing system.  Since Husband and I speak English to each other and English is all around us, it will come naturally.  Immersing our children in Korean will require intentional and planned efforts, which starts now…before baby comes. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Korean Kids Song Sunday: Sprouting Love 싹트네

I really love this Korean Kids Song and after you watch this video, you will see why:
So fun right? Catchy tune, there's actually only 4 lines of lyrics (3 of them repeating), and it's about love that sprouts from the heart!!
Youtube videos:
Cute kiddo
Girl sings greetings to her grammas (할머니) and grandpas (할아버지). If you don't think that you can follow the dance moves to the 1st you-tube video: these motions are pretty fun and simple...as the sprouts get bigger and bigger.

싹트네 율동영상 from 우리미디어 on Vimeo.

Lyrics in Korean 싹트네 싹터요 내 마음에 사랑이
싹트네 싹터요 내 마음에 사랑이
 밀려오는 파도처럼 내 마음에 사랑이
싹트네 싹터요 내 마음에 사랑이
2nd time: 기쁨이 3rd time: 감사가
Transliteration/Romanization: ssak-teu-neh ssak-tuh-yoh neh mah-eum-eh sah-rahng-ee ssak-teu-neh ssak-tuh-yoh neh mah-eum-eh sah-rahng-ee meel-yuh-oh-neun pah-doh-chuh-rum neh mah-eum-eh sah-rahng-ee ssak-teu-neh ssak-tuh-yoh neh mah-eum-eh sah-rahng-ee Conversion into English It's sprouting, It's sprouted in my heart is love [the sprout that sprouts from my heart is love] It's sprouting, It's sprouted in my heart is love pushing through like a wave in my heart is love It's sprouting, It's sprouted in my heart is love

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hangul Charts - Great learning tool

I found these great colorful hangul charts that show all the combinations of the Korean alphabet:

  • 14 consonants
  • 5 double consonants 
  • 10 vowels
  • 11 compound vowels. 
 The greyed out characters indicate low usage.  They are in A4 size which is the typical papersize in Asia. But you can save the jpg and print it out "scale to fit."

I would love to see a version without romanization/transliteration since I just don't read "guh" when I see "거" romanized as  "geo."  Anyone else?

Anyway, I think its a great practice tool.  However, when I tried using it with my husband he kept cheating by looking at the English.  For kids, I would definitely invest in those brightly colored wall posters, but they usually don't cover the double consonants and compound vowels.

The designer is Byeong Cho.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

ArirangTV: Let's Speak Korean

Recently, Husband and I discovered Arirang TV, which is Korean TV in English (or subtitled), which shows on channel 44-5 on digital TV (over the air) in our area. (Our recent cancellation of netflix may have had something to do with this discovery).  In addition to news, programs about cooking and food, Korean culture, and a Kdrama, one of their regular programs currently airing their 3rd Season is "Let's Speak Korean."  From the website:
Arirang's "Let's Speak Korean" offers viewers a televised 10-minute supplement to their other Korean-language studies.  Viewers can also learn more about the Korean culture in the process.  

Lisa Kelley, the female host of “Let's Speak Korean” plays a kind teacher…a “good cop” role, while the male host, Kim Young plays a rather strict teacher or “bad cop” role. The beginner-level student Blake is hilarious, amusing and makes the program more interesting to viewers who may sympathize.
I actually came across you-tube videos of earlier seasons of the program when I googled "learning Korean through Korean Dramas."  I'm not sure what season this is from, but their segments went through scenes of Kdramas and explained the terms, the euphemisms, and nuances of Korean language.

ArirangTVs website does have VideoOnDemand feature but you need to get a log-in.  After the 3rd try, I gave up...those darn security character things.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Recent Article: Pants-wearing sponge blamed for kids' poor attention spans

 I've mentioned a few times here my concern about relying too heavily on language TV or DVD programs as a source of language immersion for kids . This msn article highlights a research study that shows that the rapid pace of cartoons like SpongeBob are too much for pre-schoolers whether it be for educational (language) purpose or simply for enjoyment.
Kids who watched a cartoon of SpongeBob had worse attention spans than those who watched a PBS cartoon for the same amount of time, a new study shows.
 These are the few take-home tidbits I got from the article:

  • Fast paced cartoons like SpongeBob affected preschoolers (4yr olds) attention span while realistic educational programs like PBS' cartoons did not. 
  • American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids under 2 should not watch TV.  Older kids should be limited to 1-2 hours per day of educational programs.
  • The quality of the programs that children watch are just as important as the quantity
  • Age-appropriate! SpongeBob is actually targeted toward kids 6+. So, 4 yr old kids should be watching things like Dora the Explorer.  But parents complained it was too slow paced (for who!?).

I'm not sure how ubiquitous (am I using the word correctly?) SpongeBob is, but Pororo is EVERYWHERE. I met a young Korean mother of a 4 year old boy, who answered in English at his mother's questions.  Although it has been difficult to get him practice and learn Korean, she said that due to Pororo, he is willing to learn more Korean.  Can't get away from that penguin.

  So I wonder how 4 year olds attention span would do on this research study after watching Pororo?  Perhaps its not as fast paced.  Well, it does say about Pororo:
A Korean educational TV program suitable for children aged 4 to 7, Pororo the Little Penguin helps kids to learn the values and knowledge shared by children and parents alike - not only in Korea but all over the world! Dialogue is minimal and visuals play an important role in educating children, through amusing short stories in 3D CGI animation
 So Pororo is for 4 to 7 year old, but if dialogue is limited then would it provide the Korean language exposure I want? But you can't forget that Pororo = fun; Pororo = Korean; therefore, Korean = fun.  Would that logic motivate a 4-year olds Korean-American to find the Korean language appealing?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New language learning DVD for kids: Dino Lingo

Today, I came across a language-learning DVD series specificaly for babies and kids called Dino Lingo.  It appears to be a relatively new program with Korean version recently released this summer among its 19 other language formats. I'm intrigued by the "science" and research behind how they developed the program as I would never have thought about things like animism, high-pitched femal voices and neonate faces as being helpful elements in engaging babies in learning language. "Dino Lingo helps kids build confidence in target language by simplifying the process. The program uses only the top 200 words for babies and top 500 words for kids."
I think multimedia DVDs, movies, shows etc. are a great tool for learning, but comes with concerns about too much screen time in our heavily saturated tech world. The parents guide address this concern with practical tips for parents on interacting with their child as they watch the DVD. In addition, their blog discusses the question: Can DVDs teach kids languages?
From the website:
The Science behind Dino Lingo Method

1 - Full Immersion All of the instructions in Dino Lingo are presented in target language. The children naturally learn foreign languages from Dino Lingo videos because they hear common phrases and vocabulary hundreds of times without any interruption.

2 - Contextual Variation Each word in Dino Lingo programs is presented in at least 4 different contexts. Additionally, unlike other programs, Dino Lingo repeats words intermittently, not consecutively.

3 - High-Pitched Female Voices Scientific studies show that babies and small children prefer female and high-pitched voices, thus we used only these type of voices in our videos.

4 - Vocabulary Songs Each Dino Lingo program contains 12 specially produced vocabulary songs that are loved by small children.

5 - Dinosaurs Dino Lingo features 6 adorable and colorful dinosaurs to make target languages more likeable.

6 - Gradual Interval Recall All words in Dino Lingo are presented in different intervals (E.g. the word car being presented in the 5th minute, 10th minute, and 60th minute).

7 - Optimum Combination of 3D/2D Animation Recent studies have shown that children prefer to watch animations over real-life footage. 80% of Dino Lingo videos are either 3d or 2d animations.

8 - Native Speakers All of the phrases in Dino Lingo are voiced by native speakers only, necessary for the children who are sensitive to detect subtle changes in accents.

9 - Neonate Characters Dino Lingo uses animated characters that have baby-like faces. There are no monstrous, scary or wild characters in Dino Lingo products.

10 - Animism Research shows that small children tend to believe all objects are alive (e.g. talking and dancing cars). Dino Lingo features many lively objects that capture the children's attention.

11 - Subtitles in Both Foreign Characters and English Alphabet At Dino Lingo, we know that most parents want to be able to read the captions in both the local characters of target language as well as the English (Latin) alphabet.

12 - Sudden Surprises To capture the little ones' attention, Dino Lingo uses some scientific techniques such as sudden appearance and disappearances, sudden pans, zoom-ins and unfamiliar sounds.

English Animals Song for Children Kids ESL from dinolingo on Vimeo.

I haven't purchased the program, but if they wanted to give me a free copy of it to review it, I'd be more than happy to oblige! If you've tried it, let me know!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Korean Kids Song Sunday: Daily Bread Song 날마다 우리에게 양식을 주시는 하나님

In thinking about how best to teach Korean to our future kids, I'll probably want to incorporate Korean as much as possible in our daily routines and songs. One daily routine that I hope to instill early on is mealtime prayers, thanking God for the food and all His blessings. And singing the prayer makes this routine all the more fun!

Here's a home video of Korean kiddo following as his parents sing the Daily Bread Song:

(Mom keeps interrupting the song to tell her son to close his eyes.)

Other you-tube finds:
This little boy's rendition of the mealtime prayer song in Kabble (Korean-babble) just slays me.

Lyrics in Korean: 
날마다 우리에게 양식을 주시는
은혜로우신 하나님 참 감사합니다.

Transliteration or Romanization: 
nahl-mah-dah oo-ree eh-geh yang-shik-eul joo-shi-neun
eun-heh-ro oo-shin hah-nah-neem jeul gam-sah-hahb-nee-dah

Translation in English: 
For the meal that you provide for us daily [literally: everyday, for us food giving}
We joyfully thank our Gracious God. [gracious God joyful thanks]

Here's another version that I found: 날마다 우리에게 양식을 주시는 하나님 아버지 참 감사합니다

Friday, September 2, 2011

Top 3 Languages

Conversation after dinner today:

Me: Last night, I started a new blog to catalog our efforts to teach our children to be bilingual.
Husband: Bilingual?!  Our kids are going to be Quadlingual!  Mandarin, English, Spanish and Korean
Me: What about your Cantonese? What will your mom speak to our kid when she comes over (3 times a week)?  Aren't you sad that we won't be passing on your Cantonese to our children?
Husband: (Out comes the iphone). Let's see what's more useful: googling....language...speaker...world.  Wikipedia says:
Mandarin: 1025 million!!!
Spanish: 400 million
Korean: 78 million
Cantonese: 71 million 
Our kid is going to tap into that potential of reaching 1025 million people...
Me: I guess I better change my blog name to Konglisharin.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Raising Bilingual Children

Recently, Ohdeedoh (a much-loved site about all things kids) posted 5 "easy" ways in fostering bilingualism in your baby.

I thought I should take stock of how "easy" these would be for our family:

1. One Language Per Parent: This technique works well if you are already bilingual or trilingual. You make a house rule out of it. Your child will have to speak a different language to each parent.

Husband and I are both semi-trilingual.  I speak English very well, and Korean/Spanish not so well.  Husband speaks English and Cantonese/Spanish.  However, as beloved as his home language of Cantonese is...it's not as universal as Mandarin.  He hasn't taken any formal training in Mandarin, but finds the similarities of the 2 comforting.  We decided that I would be responsible for teaching Korean and Spanish.  Husband would speak English and Mandarin.  But we've got a lot of learning to do to make that happen.

2. One Language Per Room or Per Floor: When you use this learning tip, make it a house rule that in one room, everyone must speak the same language while in another room, they must change it. Keep the languages the same for a determined period of time, 4 to 12 months.
I think whatever the set-up, speaking in a second (non-dominant) language takes practice, commitment and consistency.
3. Movies & Media: It's easy to stock up on movies and DVDs that will allow your child to develop another language. Most DVDs now come with a few different language tracks, which will allow you child to watch a movie in another language.  
 Korean movies, TV shows, music, and educational programming is probably the easiest effort.  Kids love screen time on the computer, TV or iphone and ipad....and maybe even videogames.  So, all screen time could possibly be language time!

4. Classes & Tutors: Finding a tutor or introductory classes can also be an option for some children. Classes that include a lot of games (flash-card based) and some media will make learning another language a lot easier than just sitting on a chair for a whole hour.  
The same Korean School that I went to when I was in elementary school is still running in my parent's city 30 minutes away.  I hated Korean School!  Would I do that to my child?  I guess so, if I want my child to learn Korean.  Since we live in a highly-Korean populated area, I'll also look into Korean pre-schools or daycares.
5. Immersion: There's no replacement for full immersion. This can be done in a school in your city or if you move to another country.
By the time our child(ren) are of school age, I hope an immersion program in Korean or Spanish will be available near us.  I have heard they are trying to implement a Korean immersion program in the school district I grew up in.

I hope my internet search will yield more tools and research of things that we can do in the home on a daily basis.