Posted by scooby on Friday, December 11, 2009 at 10:28pm.
Mario’s parents were fluent in both English and Spanish. The family lived in rural Vermont
but spoke Spanish almost exclusively at home, in part because Mario’s mother found English
harsh and unpleasant to the ear. Most of Mario’s early exposure to English was in the Englishspeaking
child care centers and preschools he attended off and on from the time he was 2.
When Mario was 5, his dominant language was Spanish, but he was proficient in English
as well. After his first 2 months in kindergarten, his teacher wrote the following in a
report to Mario’s parents:
[Mario is] extremely sociable. He gets along fine with all the children, and enjoys school.
He is quite vocal. He does not seem at all conscious of his speech. His slight accent has had
no effect on his relations with the others. Whenever I ask the class a question, he is always
one of the ones with his hand up.
His greatest problem seems to be in the give and take of conversation. Since he always has
something to say, he often finds it difficult to wait his turn when others are talking. When he
talks, there are moments when you can see his little mind thinking through language—for
he sometimes has to stop to recall a certain word in English which he might not have at his
finger tips. (Fantini, 1985, p. 28)
The following school year, a speech therapist misperceived Mario’s accent to be an articulation
problem and so recommended him for speech therapy (Mario’s parents refused
to give their consent). By the time Mario was 8, any trace of an accent had disappeared from
his speech, and his third-grade teacher was quite surprised to learn that he spoke a language
other than English at home.
Standardized tests administered over the years attested to Mario’s proficiency in English.
Before he began kindergarten, his score on a standardized vocabulary test was at the 29th
percentile, reflecting performance that, though a little on the low side, was well within an
average range. Later, when he took the California Achievement Test in the fourth, sixth,
and eighth grades, he obtained scores at the 80th percentile or higher (and mostly above
the 90th percentile) on the reading, writing, and spelling subtests. When Mario spent a semester
of fifth grade at a Spanish-speaking school in Bolivia, he earned high marks in Spanish
as well, with grades of 5 on a 7-point scale in reading, writing, and language usage.
As Mario grew older, however, his vocabulary and written language skills developed
more rapidly in English than in Spanish, in large part because his school instruction took
place almost exclusively in English. His father described the situation this way:
[B]y about fifth grade (age ten), he had entered into realms of experience for which he had
no counterpart in Spanish. A clear example was an attempt to prepare for a fifth grade test on
the topic of “The Industrial Revolution in England and France.” It soon became clear that it
was an impossibility to try to constrain the child to review materials read and discussed at
school—in English—through Spanish. With this incident, [use of English at home] became a
fairly well established procedure when discussing other school topics, including science,mathematics, and the like. (Fantini, 1985, p. 73)
Learning a language is a remarkable accomplishment. At a minimum, it includes acquiring
(a) an understanding of what various words mean (and most adults understand
many tens of thousands of them), (b) oral-motor skills that enable precise
pronunciation, (c) knowledge of innumerable rules for putting words together into meaningful
sequences, and (d) awareness of how to speak with others in ways that are considered
polite and socially acceptable. Mario’s language development was all the more
remarkable because he mastered two languages instead of one.
In this chapter, we often revisit Mario as we explore the multifaceted nature of human
language and its development. We begin our discussion by looking at several theoretical
perspectives on how children acquire their first language—that is, their native language.
the question is = *Identify the components of language development in terms of Mario’s progress through school in 200 to 300 words.
this is what i said.
Well we first noticed Mario develops a stronger understanding of English as he tries to "match" words with Spanish as a child. Mario starts out being totally fluent in Spanish but as he goes along in school and at home he slowly begins to learn and understand English. Mario’s slight accent does not prevent him from making friends. There are some kids sometimes that can be cruel because they are “different” from them. Mario retained his Spanish on that trip to Bolivia. He spent a semester of fifth grade at a Spanish-speaking school in Bolivia,
anything else i am still shy of words
- child development(am i correct) - Ms. Sue, Friday, December 11, 2009 at 10:29pm
Please see my last response.
- child development(am i correct) - bobpursley, Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 11:58am
Your first two sentences start to answer the question, everything after that has little to do with the question.
Is Mario thinking in English, or Spanish? That makes a difference. I remember an exchange student from Spain, I had her in chemistry, during the sixth week she burst out crying in class, I asked, and she said: I am thinking in English, and I am afraid I wont be able to talk with Mama when I get home.
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