What I learned about language development during the COVID-19 lockdown – Part III: Bilingualism is what you make of it

Oh, the lockdowns… Thankfully the last one was more than a year ago (at the time of writing), and although it was challenging being at home so much, it also allowed me to spend much more time with my daughter. In my last two posts, I told you about how my then-one-and-a-half-year-old was starting to understand and produce her first sentences. Now a feisty three-year-old, she is talking nonstop and switching between two languages.

Aphasia – what now?

As we saw in part one of the article on the topic of aphasia, even though different types of communication disorders exist, some symptoms tend to overlap. In part two, we will examine how clinicians diagnose speech and communication disorders and which factors influence the recovery for diagnosed patients. Here the focus lies on patients who have been admitted to hospital with some kind of neurological damage, such as stroke. In these cases, the language impairments are only a side effect of the actual medical diagnosis and not the reason for seeing a neurologist. In these situations, patients’ language difficulties can be easily overlooked during treatment.

Reviving long-forgotten knowledge

For most of us, the languages that we are — primarily or exclusively —exposed to as a child, becomes our native languages as an adult. This, of course, does not come as a surprise, nor as breaking news. It is almost always the case that, from the moment children are born until they start school, they are raised in a natural environment where they are constantly in interaction with the languages of their parents, and, if different, the languages of their society. Thus, their birth languages as infants become their dominant languages as adults. However, for some children, namely adoptees, this is not the case.

Diagnosis: Aphasia – what?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to say something, but simply could not find the words you were looking for? This might happen when speaking a foreign language, in which you are not (yet) very proficient. However, this can also happen in your native language, for example when you are distracted or tired. Most of us have probably already experienced such or similar situations with temporary communication difficulties. Luckily, these are usually just short-lasting moments, and we manage to find the right words eventually.