August 18, 2010

Upscale bilingual education

Here's an article "Looking for Baby Sitters: Foreign Language a Must" by Jenny Anderson in the NYT that starts off as the usual Bogus Trend story and goes off in an interesting direction:
Parents cite different reasons for hiring baby sitters and nannies to speak a second language with their children. Some struggled to pick up foreign languages and want to make life easier for their children. Some believe it makes them smarter. And naturally, this being the melting pot that is New York, many parents have a connection to another language and want to reinforce it...

One other reason is to discriminate against African-Americans when advertising for a nanny. Putting in a foreign language requirement is a legal way to state No African-Americans Need Apply.
Indeed, not long ago, many parents insisted that their foreign-language-speaking nannies refrain from using their native tongue and speak only English with their children, for fear that another language might muddle their English-language development....

In fact, research shows that learning a second language makes it easier to learn additional languages.

In recent years, a number of neuroscientists and psychologists have tried to untangle the impact of bilingualism on brain development. “It doesn’t make kids smarter,” said Ellen Bialystok, a professor of psychology at York University in Toronto and the author of “Bilingualism in Development: Language, Literacy and Cognition.”

“There are documented cognitive developments,” she said, “but whatever smarter means, it isn’t true.”

Ms. Bialystok’s research shows that bilingual children tend to have smaller vocabularies in English than their monolingual counterparts, and that the limited vocabulary tends to be words used at home (spatula and squash) rather than words used at school (astronaut, rectangle). The measurement of vocabulary is always in one language: a bilingual child’s collective vocabulary from both languages will probably be larger.

“Bilingualism carries a cost, and the cost is rapid access to words,” Ms. Bialystok said. In other words, children have to work harder to access the right word in the right language, which can slow them down — by milliseconds, but slower nonetheless.

At the same time, bilingual children do better at complex tasks like isolating information presented in confusing ways. In one test researchers frequently use, words like “red” and “green” flash across a screen, but the words actually appear in purple and yellow.

Bilingual children are faster at identifying what color the word is written in, a fact researchers attribute to a more developed prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for executive decision-making, like which language to use with certain people)....

One arena in which being bilingual does not seem to help is the highly competitive kindergarten admission process.

“It doesn’t give you a leg up on the admissions process,” said Victoria Goldman, author of the sixth edition of “The Manhattan Family Guide to Private Schools.” It is one piece of the bigger puzzle, which includes tests scores, interviews and the ability of a child to follow directions. “Speaking another language is indicative that you are verbal, but you have to be behaved.”

George P. Davison, head of school at Grace Church School, a competitive downtown school, said that bilingualism tended to suppress verbal and reading comprehension test scores by 20 to 30 percent for children younger than 12. “If anything, it can have a negative effect on admissions,” he said.

I love how politically incorrect the NYT is when it comes to providing Reader Service about the single most burning issue for NYT subscribers: getting your kid into an exclusive private kindergarten.

I researched this topic a decade ago for an article on Canada's experience with bilingualism. Being Anglo-French bilingual gives you huge advantages in getting to the top of the Canadian civil service pyramid (and Canadians love civil service jobs). Public schools that conduct half their classes in French and half their classes in English were very fashionable. One problem, though, was that boys often struggled, and wound up dropping out. But upper middle class girls tended to thrive in a dual immersion system.

And the extra cognitive demands of Anglo-French bilingualism tended to keep the working class kids out of these public schools, so that was all to the good from a Stuff White Canadian People Like perspective.

So, if you have a bright, highly chatty little girl, slowing her talking down a few milliseconds by having her learn a foreign language probably is a tradeoff worth taking. On the other hand, if you have a little boy who can't talk like Robert Downey Jr., well, it's something to watch out for.

In general, however, this whole discussion, which I remember having in 1972 with my parents when we had to choose a foreign language for me to study, seems to be getting less and less important for Americans. Americans speak English and English is ever more the world-dominant language. I don't know if that's such a great thing for the world, but it does make life more convenient for native English-speakers.

114 comments:

Anonymous said...

'I have a huge privilege. Let's not talk about it too deeply.'

Anonymous said...

less and less important for Americans. Americans speak English

Quite a lot of Americans speak Spanish. And the number is growing. If you're from California or Texas, you're already living in a bilingual nation. Just like Canada.

Now that 15% of the US population prefers Spanish at home, you really can't claim to be living the American experience or to know your fellow Americans unless you speak fluent Spanish. English-only is just a partisan ethnic group in this nation now.

Anonymous said...

The expert just trots out old, tired BS about bilinguals. Bilingual people are just as fast and smart as anyone else. And knowing another language doesn't make you noticeably smarter, aside from cognate vocabulary advantages.

Bilingualism is just a skill like gunsmithing or car repair. It doesn't make you smarter to have learned a second language; it just means there is one more thing you can do with your brain. Your "g" remains the same.

You can get plenty of bogus data from studies that don't take into account the native intelligence of bilingual demographics in the USA. A group made up of top Chinese scientists, Indian engineers, illiterate Guatemalan peasants, and Puerto Rican citizens can be balanced to bias the results any way you want.

Truth said...

"One other reason is to discriminate against African-Americans when advertising for a nanny. Putting in a foreign language requirement is a legal way to state No African-Americans Need Apply."

Steven, Come on now, didn't you just write a post about 'projection'?

Henry Canaday said...

Michel de Montaigne’s father insisted that his son be raised from infancy by caretakers who spoke only Latin. He reasoned that almost all the important literature in his mid-16th Century world was still written in Latin and Greek, and he didn’t want his son to waste time in later life learning these languages before he could begin to read serious literature.

Truth said...

BTW Steve, I don't know if I've posted this before, but it looks like you've officially arrived.

Anonymous said...

I have always been suspicious of claims that multilingualism is good for kids. My kid will ultimately be judged by exams administered in English, not Spanish, French, or Chinese. On the other hand, Latin is supposed to facilitate precise thinking, so maybe we should leave dead languages out of the discussion. My experience with ABC Chinese is that their spoken English is excellent, but limited in vocabulary, and their English writing is poor and disorganized. If nothing else, time drawing Chinese characters and learning Pinyin is time not spent reading Life on the Mississippi and writing to pen pals in Iowa.

David said...

>Putting in a foreign language requirement is a legal way to state No African-Americans Need Apply<

Yes but how do you state that and make sure no bilingual SWPLs apply, either?

anony-mouse said...

Anybody opposed to people learning computer languages (early or later on)?

In many ways it makes less sense learning a computer language,because they can really disappear (Fortran? COBOL?)

DCThrowback said...

@Truth:
sailersucks : ydiot :: yugo : ferrari.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with comment #3. There's no way this research on bilinguals can be the result of randomized controlled trials. I can only be pretty skeptical of the findings.

I looked one paper by Bialystock:

"In each age group, half the participants were monolingual English speakers living in Canada, and the other half were Tamil–English bilinguals living in India."

Whatever is found here could easily be racial differences, or whatever.

Anonymous said...

Very impressive.

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Nanonymous said...

Putting in a foreign language requirement is a legal way to state No African-Americans Need Apply.

Actually, it is a legal way of stating Only Foreigners Need Apply. A very small percentage of USA-born Americans speaks second language fluently. Majority of that population is not looking for a babysitter jobs, too.

Bilingual education probably has some small stimulatory effect on IQ and such but then forcing kids to write poetry and play scrabble is likely to have bigger effect anyway.

sailerfraud.blogspot.com looks like something Greg Laden would hastily put together. Inept writing, lots of pictures and video links mixed with some palpable whites-hating.

Dutch Boy said...

The story reminds me of one of my grandmother's anecdotes. One of the Iowa farm families she lived near complained that there was something wrong with their toddler son - he spoke a lot but his speech was gibberish. My grandmother listened to him for awhile and informed them that he was not speaking gibberish, he was speaking Dutch! Seems they were leaving him with their Dutch farmhand for a good deal of the time and he was (naturally enough) learning Dutch instead of English.

OhioStater said...

Then we need affirmative action. If discriminating against blacks is that easy, then we need to counter balance that.

Dahlia said...

Truth,
There have been similar sites before. One even posted info on his immediate family members. So yeah, he's quite used to being hated and having his enemies sink into the gutter in order to try and intimidate him.

Anonymous said...

"If you're from California or Texas, you're already living in a bilingual nation. Just like Canada."

It's not just like Canada. In Canada, you've got Quebec, which is a modern French-speaking state, where French is a daily language for everyone from lumberjacks and garbage collectors on up to university presidents. Outside Quebec, French-speakers are more of classic minority (except for northern New Brunswick and Eastern Ontario), but you don't have the economic disparities you typically have in the States, AFAIK. French-speakers are approximately as well off as their English neighbours. Yes, under the microscope, probably poorer and less well educated on average, but not that much.

A fact that may be relevant to the States that French majorities eastern Ontario and northern New Brunswick are a 19th and 20th century development. French Canada's high birthrate (their "revenge of the cradle") enabled them to assimilate areas of English Canada, while reducing Quebec's once-substantial English minority.

Our son has just completed 3 years of French immersion, and I agree that the popularity of these programs derives from their selectivity. It's not so much keeping working-class kids out as keeping special-needs kids out. When we were shopping for middle schools, I actually thought he'd do better in the English program, him being more of a science/math guy than a language. But seeing which kids were going into French and which into English made decision for us.

In fact, it turned out to be OK. He coasted through his first year, but in grade 7 got a male Quebecois who was determined to teach his kids Frenchj. He gave him a couple bad marks, which fortunately had the effect of making him grit his teeth and get to work.

Re: Michel de Montaigne. He's not the only one. Apparently in 17th and 18th Poland, a number of noble households conducted their lives in Latin. (I always like to drag out the fact that in mediaeval university towns you could find Latin-speaking prostitutes in the student quarters.) The renaissance printer Aldus Manutius had his whole household (including servants) speaking Ancient Greek.

Peter A said...

"Putting in a foreign language requirement is a legal way to state No African-Americans Need Apply"

Oh please. Now you're reaching Steve. African-Americans never apply for those positions anyway. How long has it been since you hired a nanny? What's really going on is that in a world where every Chinese, Russian, Brazilian, etc. is desperate to learn English, having your American kid learn some other language is just a way of showing how high status you are.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's a great thing for the world to have a common language

how is that even in doubt

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

Steve has officially arrived upon website cannot be found?

Anonymous said...

Steve, this post is pitch-perfect. You've nailed a niche phenomenon -- bright, advantaged little girls becoming quite effortlessly bilingual -- of which I have direct experience. I live in Hong Kong, my wife's Chinese, and our daughter (just turned 8) is totally bilingual (English and Cantonese) and is highly proficient in Mandarin, with what her teachers have described as a native speaker's accent. She goes to a girls' school, and the level of trilingualism is amazing (there are only a few girls who are 'mixes' with a native-English speaking parent like my daughter; the rest have two Chinese parents).

But I find boys here of the same age (and educational advantage) are much less likely to handle the three languages taught here well. Girls really do seem to have distinct advantages, at least early on, in picking up language.

Anonymous said...

When bilingual education was first sold it was said that bilingual children would be twice and competent as monolingual children. Odd how most bilingual children can't speak English or, Spanish well.

Anonymous said...

"Official bilingualism" has long been used as a de-facto trick for 'affirmative-action' like hiring in Canada. It basically gives Francophones a huge edge in getting soft and cushy government jobs here. Jobs for which they are not even remotely qualified in many cases. Sound familiar? By the way Steve, I wouldn't be so trite and complacent about language as you are. The number of Spanish speakers in America is now edging close to the number of French speakers here in Canada (in proportional terms). There is the additional factor that you border Spanish-speaking Mexico. There is no applicable equivalent in Canada to this. Language and bilingualism is a real danger. A Trojan horse.

Glossy said...

"George P. Davison, head of school at Grace Church School, a competitive downtown school..."

Oh, God! Want to tell us what SCHOOL district it belongs to, just to be sure? Has the NYT fired all its proofreaders? Who writes like that!?

"...said that bilingualism tended to suppress verbal and reading comprehension test scores by 20 to 30 percent for children younger than 12."

I bet that most of the bilingual children he's seen were immigrants. Most of those come from places with mean IQs below 100, so it's probably not bilingualism at all that suppressed those scores.

"Americans speak English and English is ever more the world-dominant language."

Chinese may end up challenging English in the next few decades. Those who think that it's too complex for foreigners to want to pick it up as an international language of prestige don't know anything about Asian history. Japanese and Korean originally had nothing to do with Chinese. They aren't any more related to it than English is. And yet the Japanese and Korean elites learned Chinese as a second language for centuries. I think the same happened in Vietnam. As China's worldwide importance goes up, more and more Westerners will want to learn Chinese.

Glossy said...

"Girls really do seem to have distinct advantages, at least early on, in picking up language."

Girls generally develop earlier than boys.

Underachiever said...

In a few years, it will be possible to almost instantly translate any spoken or written statement from any language into any other cheaply. Therefore, it is virtually pointless for children to learn a foreign language.

headache said...

One other reason is to discriminate against African-Americans when advertising for a nanny. Putting in a foreign language requirement is a legal way to state No African-Americans Need Apply.

Given their blatant ethnocentrism and apparent love for Africa, I could never understand why Afro-Americans were so lazy to learn the African languages of their ancestors. There must be more whites in southern Africa who speak a native African language, than there are blacks in America who do.

BTW, that stuff about multi-lingualism slowing down your speech: I can confirm it. I grew up with 3 languages. The net result is that I don't speak any of them properly. And one of them is always a leading language. I always get highy suspicious when I hear of people who can apparently "speak" 6 or 7 languages. Usually they only master their native tongue, and the rest is just fleeting knowledge of other languages. It's another status game,often played by girls. There are very few people who can PROPERLY read, write and speak 2 or more laguages.

Anonymous said...

French-Canadians are not so much the "blacks/hispanics" of Canada, but more like Jews. I'm sure some of you noticed that already.

Dr. Sybok said...

Putting in a foreign language requirement is a legal way to state No African-Americans Need Apply

Nonsense. It may statistically violate the EEOC 4/5th rule, but this is a legitimate requirement many parents seek in their nannies.

This is especially true today where "melting pot America" is largely depreciated compared to multicultural ethnocentricism. Language is one of the strongest ways to maintain or reconnect to tribes that offer tangible benefits (eg Hispanic, Chinese and Jewish) in a world of diminishing opportunities for the individual.

As a parent that has hired both domestic and foreign nannies, the culture a nanny brings to the job is more important than the rudimentary language skills they can teach young children.

For example, for our young children we tended to favor more maternal and expressive Latin cultures that are child centric. Chinese would be more useful tool to master early but the attendant culture that a typical Chinese nanny would emotionally imprint on our child would be a big handicap in Western society, even one that deals extensively with China.

Anonymous said...

There is another dimension here. Being bilingual is ONE thing. But being bicultural is ANOTHER thing altogether. How many people - even if they have learned to speak another language fluently, even to the point of being accentless - are really, truly and fully comfortable and at home and identify equally with the two different cultural communities represented by the two language groups in question? As Peter Brimelow noted in deriding Canada's ludicrous bilingual language laws, the queen of England can speak French. Nobody has ever mistaken her for a French-Canadian.

Jack Aubrey said...

Now that 15% of the US population prefers Spanish at home, you really can't claim to be living the American experience or to know your fellow Americans unless you speak fluent Spanish. English-only is just a partisan ethnic group in this nation now.

15% of the USA does not speak Spanish. 15% of the US is Latino, but maybe only 1/2 to 2/3rds of them speak Spanish. Even fewer speak only Spanish. I'd love to learn a foreign language, and am even contemplating an immersion vacation to do so. I've considered French, German, Italian, or possibly even Welsh. But the choice of the language I learn will not be dictated by the wave of Latinos presently invading this nation.

There are very few people who can PROPERLY read, write and speak 2 or more laguages.

You would think that nowadays, with the ease of reading books and news, listening to music, and watching television moves at any time, in just about any language you'd like, it is far easier to learn and maintain fluency in a foreign language than ever before. Whether people routinely do so is another question.

The desire to learn a second language stems mostly from an aesthetic sensibility. Practically speaking your time would better be spent learning just about anything else.

Anonymous said...

Being bilingual is a complimentary skill and really not that useful unless you're legitimately bilingual anyway. I've lived outside the US for years and always chuckle at the level of proficiency required for Americans pronounce themselves able to speak a foreign language- being able to chat in a bar or buy groceries in Italian doesn't make you fluent. What happens after the nanny leaves? These kids will forget everything anyway unless the parents make herculean efforts to force them to speak it.

Also, unless you're a translator it's not going to help with much in terms of employment. If you're a good engineer who can also speak Spanish then you'll have a huge leg up with running the dam project in Peru. But if you're a good engineer, then you'll be able to get a job anyway, the language you work in won't really hold you back that much, especially for English speakers.

I live in China now and it's a little sad to see kids coming over here to learn Chinese because "it'll be great for their careers". I always tell them to learn a skill somebody will pay you for first, then worry about languages. China has over a billion people who speak fluent Chinese, but a whole lot less who can design a modern marketing campaign. Having no real skills but being able to speak Chinese doesn't help much.

Reg Cæsar said...

Anybody opposed to people learning computer languages (early or later on)? In many ways it makes less sense learning a computer language,because they can really disappear (Fortran? COBOL?) --anony-mouse

A generation ago it was common for techies to argue that computer "languages" should be allowed to fulfill the (then-already-dying) foreign-language requirements. At the time I thought this was pretty lame, but couldn't articulate why. Now it's obvious: the former really belongs with math and logic, not language. ( That, and the techies were being lazy. Not that the language majors were any less so...)

In a few years, it will be possible to almost instantly translate any spoken or written statement from any language into any other cheaply. Therefore, it is virtually pointless for children to learn a foreign language. --Underachiever (gee, I wonder why...)

There was even less day-to-day need for another language in the 18th century-- who were you going to meet, other than an Indian if you lived on the frontier? Yet classical languages were not only included in the serious schools of the day, they were the focus.

What language-study dismissers fail to understand is that there is no better way to gain high-level proficiency in one's own tongue than to study another. Except perhaps to study in another tongue.

This had been known for thousands of years, but we stupid moderns seem to have forgotten. Africa may have the best elementary education in the world, if only by default.

Reg Cæsar said...

As long as we're on the subject of Upscale Underachievers, perhaps Steve and his loyal readers would like to comment on Tom Veal's (tongue-in-cheek) proposal to tax potential income, rather than actual.

Come to think of it, that would close the test-score gap like nothing else, and in no time!

Anonymous said...

"One other reason is to discriminate against African-Americans when advertising for a nanny. Putting in a foreign language requirement is a legal way to state No African-Americans Need Apply."

Uh, wot?

How many African-Americans do you know who are working in the nanny market? It's mostly foreign young women.

More like the father wants to ogle the young hotties from Sweden, Denmark, Korea, etc., so he sells it to his wife as "she can teach little Buffy Danish and it'll look good on her university application a dozen years down the road."

Anonymous said...

Steve:

Your lack of NY knowledge is showing. "Only bilinguals need apply" will weed out the grandchildren of the segregated South and Jamaica, but there will be plenty of Haitians and Dominicans showing up for those jobs.

"George P. Davison, head of school at Grace Church School, a competitive downtown school..."

Oh, God! Want to tell us what SCHOOL district it belongs to, just to be sure? Has the NYT fired all its proofreaders? Who writes like that!?


It's a private school. What difference does it make which district it's located in?

"...said that bilingualism tended to suppress verbal and reading comprehension test scores by 20 to 30 percent for children younger than 12."

I bet that most of the bilingual children he's seen were immigrants. Most of those come from places with mean IQs below 100, so it's probably not bilingualism at all that suppressed those scores.


BUZZZ! Wrong! Those parents aren't applying to highly competitive kindergardens.

--Anonymous Coward

Anonymous said...

"Americans speak English and English is ever more the world-dominant language. "

Not where I live. Where I live there are plenty of American citizens who can barely speak a word of English, even after living in the U.S for a decade or more.

R J Stove said...

If memory serves me (I don't seem to be able to locate at present the book where I read this information), the great Fulton Sheen was fluent in seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Latin, and classical Greek. Did his final degree at Belgium's Louvain University (where in those days they spoke exclusively French: no French-versus-Flemish language riots until decades later) and his thesis involved reading lots of guys like Hegel (which is where his German came in). He regarded Latin as the default language in which he thought.

And Sheen's Midwestern childhood was not, to put it mildly, a prosperous one. It's amazing how good an education you could get in his day at an utterly unpretentious, cash-strapped parochial school.

Saesneg said...

Jack Aubrey said...

I'd love to learn a foreign language, and am even contemplating an immersion vacation to do so. I've considered French, German, Italian, or possibly even Welsh.

I'd forget the Welsh if I were you. You can't really do immersion in Wales as there isn't a single Welsh speaker who doesn't speak fluent English, and only about 10% of the Welsh actually speak Welsh - and they are mostly concentrated in certain out of the way rural areas.

Road signs are bilingual and there is a Welsh TV channel, but don't think that means that all those people in those little houses are speaking Welsh, because most of them aren't.

Also, German, French and Italian are very close to English and have a lot of cognates - what with English being a hybrid mixture of Latin and Germanic languages.

Welsh is probably as close to English as Russian or Finnish.

Sure the Welsh speaking Welsh will be charmed if you can mutter a phrase or two but apart from that...

For the indigenous Welsh speakers Welsh speaking is an identity, cultural/heritage type thing (and why not?) but rather like the example given of French speaking Canadians, it also serves to guarantee nice easy Government jobs for the boyos - and girls.

Saesneg said...

Michel de Montaigne. He's not the only one. Apparently in 17th and 18th Poland, a number of noble households conducted their lives in Latin. (I always like to drag out the fact that in mediaeval university towns you could find Latin-speaking prostitutes in the student quarters.)

Cheers for that, and in return I offer another Latin factoid:

Catherine of Aragorn (first wife of Henry VIII) was previously married at 15 to the Prince of Wales. Catherine and the Prince initially wrote to eachother in Latin. When they eventually met, they found they couldn't understand eachother because they had been taught mutually incomprehensible Latin dialects.

So much for Latin as the medieval Lingua Franca.

Dr. Sybok said...

A problem with maintaining foreign language fluency after learning one is the content problem. There just is not that much interesting original content created outside English.

Have you tried to watch Spanish telenovellas or Sabado Gigante on cable? How about Japanese variety shows? How about anything from the 3rd world?

How many non-English magazines, websites, blogs or podcasts even approach the quality of American equivalents and are worth investing the time to consume? Perhaps a handful of European films and research journals with far fewer East Asian ones.

Anonymous said...

'French-Canadians are not so much the "blacks/hispanics" of Canada, but more like Jews. I'm sure some of you noticed that already.'

Oh, come on, they're neither. They're frickin' French, as if that weren't bad enough.

Baloo said...

Headache, what were the three languages? I'm wondering how much difference that makes.

ITriedtobeaCynic said...

"There are very few people who can PROPERLY read, write and speak 2 or more laguages."
How few? There are a significant number of Indian novelists in English, for example; presumably they also properly read, write and speak their mother tongues. As well as the more literary ones read in the US and other English-speaking countries, there are some published only in India. So the English-language Indian readership must be in the millions (probably low millions).
There are some languages, such as Welsh, that are only spoken as second languages, but seem to be doing OK.
If you're going to learn Spanish to use in the Americas, I recommend learning Castilian rather than Latin American Spanish. Many Latinos seem to have a colonial cringe that rates even bad Castilian above speaking like themselves. Even if they don't you can have some fun insisting your Spanish is correct.

Anonymous said...

The brain is a warehouse with storage limits. If you are fluent in two languages, I still believe this is at the expense of both languages. For instance, I notice that bilinguals are often deficient in English colloquialisms and figures of speech. Perhaps such things aren't essential for communication, nonetheless this is an indication of an attenuated mastery of English.

Half Sigma said...

"African-Americans never apply for those positions anyway."

There are a lot of black nannies, but nearly all of them are from the Caribbean or Latin America, and approximately 0% are descendants of U.S. slaves.

Ray Sawhill said...

The idea of learning another language without immersing yourself in that language's culture strikes me as pretty weird. A culture is a way of experiencing (and creating) life, and its language is really a subset of that. Learning a language without immersing yourself in its culture would be like, I dunno, mastering dance steps without ever really learning how to give over to music and really dance.

I second one of Reg Caesar's micropoints, that one value of learning another language is that it makes you better at your native tongue. I spent a year in France as a high school student, and while it didn't turn me into a France buff or a world-trotting businessman, it did turn me into a much better reader, speaker, and writer of English.

YMMV, of course.

carol said...

Query: Doesn't it seem like when someone learns a foreign language well, they "go over" that culture in many respects and become overly cosmopolitan? Can someone be truly multilingual and maintain a critical stance toward other cultures?

I noticed this with some Arabic speakers adopting Islam and going native..Anglos I know who speak Spanish well seem terribly sympathetic to everything Latin-American. I speak a little French, traveled & used it there, read French authors and admit I tend to stick up for their position more, while my conservative friends are all reflexive frog-haters.

Of course the progressives think that's all a good thing, but I worry about the loyalty issue - will they stick with us or just melt across cultures and turn double-agent, so to speak?

helene edwards said...

I don't think this has anything to do with African-Americans. My brother and I had a black nanny, named Algertha, in 1963-64. My impression since then has been that black people are not interested in working as domestics, seeing it as demeaning. Looks like I'm agreeing with Truth on this one.

Anonymous said...

Many blacks in the US do speak a second language. It's called Ebonics

Sheila said...

The high regard in which most of you hold yourselves is truly extraordinary. This is nothing more than yet another trend-of-the-month by New York's Jews (self-proclaimed trend setters of the nation). Because these women can't be bothered to raise their own children (how lowbrow, how Christian) and are desperate to prove that their citizen-of-the world bonafides are higher than their neighbor's, they justify a semi-literate Guatemalan nanny as one more cultural enrichment for their little ubermenchen. Of course, many Jews trump that by adopting Chinese babies (and becoming BuJews themselves) and sensitively raising such children to appreciate their "native" culture. Americans? What are they? How prosaic!

I have learned (and forgotten) bits of quite a few languages, two of them fairly fluently (and not to speak in a bar, but to conduct diplomatic meetings in, so does my cachet trump yours, ticket punchers?) and it's neither particularly difficult nor particular evidence of higher-order thinking. The higher the level of one's English vocabulary, the more Latinate and Greek root words one uses, and Latin's grammatical structure has been factually proven helpful in one's English. My son did quite well in it in his Christian school and his public school, even going to national finals . . . until the public school dropped Latin (only a dead European tongue, after all) in favor of Chinese (and all those who take it are Han Chinese immigrants, who just come here for liberty ((and to make a buck)) and to become good Americans).

Fawning fatuous flavonistas-of-the-month, that's what you all are. Humbug.

Anonymous said...

"One other reason is to discriminate against African-Americans when advertising for a nanny. Putting in a foreign language requirement is a legal way to state No African-Americans Need Apply."

Well, that's actually kind of a stupid prejudice. Black women, when they put their mind to it, are much better with children than Latinos. The Latino nannies I've seen rarely bother interacting with the white kids they are pushing around in strollers. And they have zero empathy -- for instance, they will put on a pair of sunglasses when they go outside into bright sunlight but will leave the kid in the stroller squinting and shaking his head. Black mothers and nannies are often extremely extroverted and talk constantly to their juvenile charges. And they tend to notice if a child is uncomfortable. Of course, I'm making broad generalizations based on double digit statistics, but I'd say references beat stereotypes in the nanny hiring business.

Anonymous said...

I'm in favor of world government, at least if that government would take on appropriate tasks.

There are a couple jobs that only government can do. The first is to get everyone to drive on the same side of the street. What possible excuse can there be for Brits to drive on the left and Frogs to drive on the right?

Secondly everyone should use the Metric system. Period. Full stop.

And finally we should all speak one language.

I realize that getting to one language is a difficult task but it needn't be enacted all at once.

Having multiple languages today is real dumb. Where good communications is vital we already all speak English - Air Traffic Control for example. We just need to start to work on spreading the the English area some more and consolidating the non-English languages.

Right now there are probably a hundred different words for chair. We know how we got here but it's time to leave. Scholars can study obsolete languages. I read Suetonius and Polybius in English not Latin or Greek. If I have missed some nuance I can read Victor Davis Hanson who will tell me about it - in English.

I suggest that we hasten the natural language consolidation process. The thousand languages among the New Zealand Maori are going fast. No help needed there. Government should work to trim excess languages like Portuguese or Ukrainian. Brazil should speak Spanish like all their neighbors. Ukrainians already all speak Russian, just stop teaching it in schools and it fades.

The Dutch already all speak English too, so why do we need Dutch? I would also phase out Gaelic languages in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Similarly why not have the Koreans speak Japanese or Chinese?

There would be some strife no doubt but heretofore the preferred way to spread a language was bloody conquest. English has a lot of Romance language elements in it after all because of William the Conqueror. Had Hitler been successful they would be speaking German from the Atlantic to the Urals.

I'm sure there will be violence when we eradicate French from Canada but if war is inevitable it's better to have it now. In the future everyone will be better armed.

Albertosaurus

Geoff Matthews said...

The anti-steve sailer URL is:

http://sailerfraud.blogspot.com/

However, it is very weak. And most of the articles either don't mention Steve or only in passing.

As far as Canada and bilingualism goes, as an Albertan, Vivent longtemps la République du Québec
(translation courtesy of Bable fish).

footnote - I had originally typed in "Long live the republic of Quebec". Bringing that phrase back into English gives me:
"Live the Republic of Quebec a long time", so the accuracy of the French may leave a lot to be desired.

Anonymous said...

you see a lot of west indian black nannys pushing strollers in Tribeca, an "in" residential locale for the upper crust. in the upper east, west, and central park south areas, on the Bonfire score, men in black, tinted window mercedes sedans (those able to afford a black mercedes sedan! and park it! in nyc!) seem to drive about 20mph faster than other traffic, putting on bursts of smooth acceleration over short city distances, and showing little or no reluctance to turn in front of a family with small children ambling down the sidewalk--provided they can clear the same with 4 inches of margin-- before accelerating down the parking garage ramp.

Underachiever said...

"What language-study dismissers fail to understand is that there is no better way to gain high-level proficiency in one's own tongue than to study another."

I have never seen this proved.

Peter A said...

"A fact that may be relevant to the States that French majorities eastern Ontario and northern New Brunswick are a 19th and 20th century development."

So what. The English majorities are a late 18th/early 19th century development that only happened because loyalists fled the US during the Revolution. In the 1950s French speakers also used to be far more common in Western Ontario, and Western Canada in general, than they are now. As a proportion of the total Canadian population, French speakers have declined precipitously in the last 70 years. It's funny that the stereotypical Canadian in old Loony Tunes cartoons from the 40's is usually a French Canadian. That would never be the case now.

C. Van Carter said...

Nabokov had French and English nannies. As he amusingly (and obnoxiously) put it, "I was a perfectly normal trilingual child in a family with a large library."

SFG said...

"Chinese would be more useful tool to master early but the attendant culture that a typical Chinese nanny would emotionally imprint on our child would be a big handicap in Western society, even one that deals extensively with China."

Depends on the child, they may have Aspergery tendencies much like many of us...but overall Chinese culture is better than Latin. Chinese-Americans may not climb to the top of the corporate ladder, but you don't see them filling up the jails either.

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"for our young children we tended to favor more maternal and expressive Latin cultures that are child centric"

Sybok wants a maternal and child centric NANNY for its precious offspring.
Tant pis for the kid that the maternal and child-centric person that child wants most is his own mother.
THAT's out of the question. Don't be ridiculous. Mother stay home? Why, such things just aren't done.

travis said...

I don't think this has anything to do with African-Americans. My brother and I had a black nanny, named Algertha, in 1963-64. My impression since then has been that black people are not interested in working as domestics, seeing it as demeaning. Looks like I'm agreeing with Truth on this one.

I think you're right that it's not about race. But why do blacks consider it demeaning working now?

It's due to the transition of African-Americans from a rural people to an urban people.

"Then I saw in my dreams, that, when they were out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity. . ."

That sentence from Pilgram's Progress is the basis of nearly every word Tom Wolfe has ever written. In my opinion, the disinction between town and country is the most important distinction in American literature, much more so than race.

Anonymous said...

Americans learning foreign languages is like Brazil being the country of the future: seems obvious, but it never quite works out.

Anonymous said...

I have always held that I would rather speak one language well than speak two languages poorly.

David said...

>we should all speak one language<

Esparanto no need nuance!

Nor Newspeak! It doubleplusgood!

elvisd said...

I could go on for a while about foreign language learning. People look at me strange when they learn that I teach French, but don't believe in this country bilingual. (The "sophisticated" ones usually chalk it up to some kind of snobbishness, since Francophiles are supposed to be that way.) Learning a foreign language is great, of course, and I don't buy the idea that your own language suffers. On the other hand, there probably isn't a point in doing it for a lot of kids. The ones who probably won't be going to other countries or dealing with international business should probably focus on other things, such as fine-tuning English.

Spanish gets sold to kids at my school pretty hard. Our guidance counselor always tries to steer kids towards Spanish since she solemnly tells them, "You'll be dealing with Spanish speakers a lot in the future." And of course, she encourages all these Maya Guatemalan kids to take it, I guess so they can become "Latinos".


I know that French is on its way out in most high schools, so it's good that I'm certified in various sciences.

kudzu bob said...

Nabokov had French and English nannies. As he amusingly (and obnoxiously) put it, "I was a perfectly normal trilingual child in a family with a large library."

Just for kicks, Nabokov once told a reporter that that Gore Vidal, a lifelong atheist, had converted to Catholicism. Vidal then puckishly responded during an interview with the Paris Review with this: "It is curious that Russia's two greatest writers — Nabokov and Pushkin — should both have had Negro blood."

Anthony said...

ITriedtobeaCynic: Colombians do *not* have the "colonial cringe" towards castellano - they consider their pronunciation to be better even than the Spaniards. Considering that they don't lizp, they have a point.

Anonymous said...

As a sign of the decline of American culture, consider Barrett's Grammar.

First published in 1846, it aims to teach Greek, Latin, French, German and Spanish. The book was endorsed by many famous leaders and politicians such as Millard Fillmore, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster. It sold well.

Was it the 19th century equivalent of Rosetta Stone, bought for bragging purposes only? I doubt that.

Anthony said...

My mother tells me that when I was born (1966), the prevailing theory was that raising kids bilingually hampered their ability to acquire math. As a result, my mother did not teach me (almost any) Spanish as a child, despite being a native speaker.

Another bilingual anecdote: A friend of mine from high school was Iranian, and spoke Farsi (and very good, if slightly accented English). He would use that knowledge to scam the phone company in small ways - he would call his mother collect (from a pay phone), and state his name as "Kayvon (very short message in Farsi)". The operator would play that to his mother, who would then refuse the call, having gotten the message.

Anonymous said...

"A fact that may be relevant to the States that French majorities eastern Ontario and northern New Brunswick are a 19th and 20th century development."

So what.

I thought it was relevant to Americans, because they may be facing the hispanization of some border areas. My point was, it's not necessarily the end of Anglo-America, and it's not necessarily permanent.

Truth said...

"I have always held that I would rather speak one language well than speak two languages poorly."

You missed a comma after "well".

kudzu bob said...

You missed a comma after "well".

Hey, didn't you once claim to have a degree in journalism from Warm Body State University? Are you sure your major really wasn't in Affirmative Action, with a minor in Inflated Self-esteem? In either case, in America the period goes on the inside of the quotation mark, Twoof.

Anonymous said...

"Not where I live. Where I live there are plenty of American citizens who can barely speak a word of English, even after living in the U.S for a decade or more."

Try looking in any other country, champ.

More people speak it outside than inside.

AmericanGoy said...

So, wait, knowing a second language is a bad thing?

Next thing these American "experts" will tell us is that being morbidly fat is an illness?!

Jim O said...

I've often wondered. How can Rosetta Stone's owners afford that constant barrage of ads, when nobody gives a damn?

Jack Aubrey said...

I'd forget the Welsh if I were you. You can't really do immersion in Wales as there isn't a single Welsh speaker who doesn't speak fluent English...

True. My goal is to do German or French first. My interest in Welsh (or Scottish Gaelic) is purely intellectual and ethnic. I have no illusions I'll ever get to use it much in practice.

Kylie said...

Truth said..."You missed a comma after 'well'."

I take it the "RoadSoda" blog, with the entry, "Yes, I Know I'm Wierd"[sic] is your handiwork.

(No, I didn't misspell "handiwork".)

RoadSoda.

Truth said...

"I take it the "RoadSoda" blog...is your handiwork."

Yeah, it's mine; how old are you anyway, babe?

Truth said...

"Are you sure your major really wasn't in Affirmative Action, with a minor in Inflated Self-esteem?"

No, I majored in literarilly taking reformative action on goofballs with inflated self-esteem. But you were close, Sport.

kudzu bob said...

I majored in literarilly taking reformative action on goofballs with inflated self-esteem.

I.e., trolling. Well, I hope it's lucrative--I hear the payments on those newfangled water-powered cars that Obama has ordered GM to make will be pretty steep.

Isabel said...

" Anonymous said...

French-Canadians are not so much the "blacks/hispanics" of Canada, but more like Jews. I'm sure some of you noticed that already."

Can someone explain what this is supposed to mean? How are French Canadians like 'the Jews'?

Funny, all this pontificating, yet no one here appears to have any knowledge of French Canadian history or feel any need to acquire such knowledge before pontificating. Typical male behavior!

Finally, why are all the commenters 'Anonymous' on this blog?

Curvaceous, etc. said...

Troof wrote "literarilly."

Well, you certainly didn't major in spelling. That's obvious.

Did you mean "literarily," of, relating to, or dealing with literature; literary criticism?

or

Did you mean "literally," in a literal manner or sense; exactly?

I'd like to know because how can I know if I've been properly insulted if the would-be insulter can't speak or write proper English?

So:

Consider your inflated sense of self-esteem reformed, Goofball.

Anonymous said...

"George P. Davison, head of school at Grace Church School, a competitive downtown school, said that bilingualism tended to suppress verbal and reading comprehension test scores by 20 to 30 percent for children younger than 12. “If anything, it can have a negative effect on admissions,” he said."

Think of how much verbal intelligence has been lost to civilization due to everyone from John Stuart Mill to Bertrand Russell to Noam Chomsky hindering their cognitive development by learning multiple languages as children.



Which brings me to another point: perhaps the best way to measure the effects of bilingualism while controlling for genetic and environmental variables is to compare Jewish kids
from similar backgrounds who either study Hebrew for their Bar Mitzvah or do not.

You might think there's a significant difference between religious and secular Jews, but there's a large swath or essentially secular Ashkenazim in the American community who are ambivalent about participation in the faith. That is, it wouldn't be difficult to find a group of reform kids who are culturally and genetically similar to a group of secular Jewish kids.

Kylie said...

Truth said..."Yeah, it's mine; how old are you anyway, babe?"

Relax, hotshot. I only clicked on the link because I belatedly noticed some usernames here light up and some don't. My interest was strictly impersonal and, I must say, nothing I read there gave me cause to change my mind.

Wierd*, huh?


*Yes, I know better and so do you--now.

Dr. Sybok said...

"Chinese would be more useful tool to master early but the attendant culture that a typical Chinese nanny would emotionally imprint on our child would be a big handicap in Western society, even one that deals extensively with China."

Depends on the child, they may have Aspergery tendencies much like many of us...but overall Chinese culture is better than Latin. Chinese-Americans may not climb to the top of the corporate ladder, but you don't see them filling up the jails either.


A nanny will not be the primary cultural influence on a child, their family, friends and neighborhood will be.

Our children, like those addressed in the NYT article, already have large positive influences from successful Chinese, Unitarian and Jewish cultures. A warm Latin or charismatic African/Carribian nanny could add another positive influence to their development beyond simple language acquisition.

Anonymous Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

It's great that you seem to have decided to raise your own children, but your snark sounds like you're somewhat bitter about it. Why do you assume that both parents have to be working and inaccessible to also have a nanny?

headache said...

Truth sez:Yeah, it's mine; how old are you anyway, babe?

Wow, trooph has a "blog"! WTF.

Truth said...

"My interest was strictly impersonal and, I must say, nothing I read there gave me cause to change my mind."

Hey; relax, Sportette. I was just having a little fun with you. Besides, I knew you were Bobby's internet squeeze already.

Truth said...

"I'd like to know because how can I know if I've been properly insulted if the would-be insulter can't speak or write proper English?"

Good point there CCBLF; alright, you've officialy been insulted.

Truth said...

"Wow, trooph has a "blog"! WTF."

How many different ways can we spell "truth",anyway.

You guys are a lot more fluent at ebonics than you let on!

Curvaceous, etc. said...

My snark, my "bitterness" is from observing sad, sleepy children being dragged by their power-suited mommies to daycare at dawn and back home at bedtime, or seeng those little people stand watch on porch for hours wishing Mommy would come home.


"Why do you assume that both parents have to be working and inaccessible to also have a nanny?"

Okay, if she's NOT working outside the home and STILL requires a nanny, she must be either woefully lazy or woefully incompetent.

Whether I'm "bitter" or not -- (I'm not. I found mothering my childrn immensely satisfying. Would have much rather held my babes than spent my days at the career I trained for) -- is not germane.

See, I'm not of your mindset that the feeeeeliiiiinnnngs of the parents are what counts here. Meeting the needs of kids is, including the emotional needs, including even when it's inconvenient for the parents..


If you are going to have kids, you owe them. You owe them physical care, like clean diapers (even if you don't feeeeeellll like changing diapers today); You owe them food clothing and medical care (even if you don't feeeeellll like spending your money on the doctor visit but would rather have new shoes); and you owe them love, including being around to GIVE it when they need it (even if you really wish you could go to the meeting right now, instead.)


Human babies need their mothers.
Day care is for doggies.

Kylie said...

Truth said..."Good point there CCBLF; alright, you've officialy[sic] been insulted."

Well, at least I didn't post a link to this one, only to have you sneak in and fix it.

I like "Sportette" though.

Curvaceous, etc. said...

"Good point there CCBLF; alright, you've officialy been insulted"

What is "officialy"? Do you mean "officially"?

(Also, it's "all right," and you need a comma before the "CCBLF" and a period at the end of the sentence.)

Truth is a goofball. So my new portmanteau for him will be Troofball.

Troofball, you fancy yourself a sort of Socrates, gadflying about, puncturing others' pomposity -- at least as you, in your ethnocentric zeal, define it.
But how can you adequately intimidate anyone sans title? I hereby dub thee, Sir Prick.

You're welcome.

Truth said...

"I hereby dub thee, Sir Prick.
"

Do you have anything original? I already had that nickname when I did porn.

David said...

>A warm Latin or charismatic African/Carribian [sic] nanny<

Are they labeled that way on the Stereotype shelf? Is layaway available?

Mr. Sybok said...

>A warm Latin or charismatic African/Carribian [sic] nanny<

Are they labeled that way on the Stereotype shelf? Is layaway available?




Yes, these are stereotypes based upon generally valid and well-known statistical cultural differences.

If you think Brazilians just as emotionally flat as Norwegians or that Japanese are just as personally charismatic as Jamaicans you have never traveled, have a fatal case of Aspergers, are a willful PC moron or all three.

By your lame "layway" snark, I lean toward status-seeking moralizing PC idiot. But who did you think you would impress at here at iSteve (maybe the answer is one of the other two)?

Dr. Sybok said...

Curvacious...

Okay, if she's NOT working outside the home and STILL requires a nanny, she must be either woefully lazy or woefully incompetent.

See, I'm not of your mindset that the feeeeeliiiiinnnngs of the parents are what counts here. Meeting the needs of kids is, including the emotional needs, including even when it's inconvenient for the parents..

If you are going to have kids, you owe them. You owe them physical care, like clean diapers (even if you don't feeeeeellll like changing diapers today); You owe them food clothing and medical care (even if you don't feeeeellll like spending your money on the doctor visit but would rather have new shoes); and you owe them love, including being around to GIVE it when they need it (even if you really wish you could go to the meeting right now, instead.)


So you infer having a nanny means our children are malnurished and writhing with infected bed sores in a pile of week old-feces? Not bitter? Hum...

Again, it's great that you have the desire to spend 24/7 with yours for those first preverbal and prerational years. For most parents, especially highly driven and high IQ ones, these are the most trying years. Today's obsessive parenting is also a tad self-indulgent to the point of historical absurdity.

To share the work load with a carefully filtered and monitored nanny who genuinely loves children in these early stages is far better than either wherehousing them in daycare or doing it yourself at the expense of being exhausted and resentful.

BTW, our last few nannies have been wonderfully grounded and nurturing young midwestern women. This is another category of nannies that are sinisterly stereotyped as above average.

Anonymous said...

Could this guy "TRUTH" be any more petty, trivial or immature?

Curvaceous, etc. said...

"Today's obsessive parenting is also a tad self-indulgent to the point of historical absurdity."

Horsepuckies.

Mothers have been raising their own infants for as long as humans have existed. And she worked, all right. In prehistory, she worked gathering, with the infant in a sling.
100 years ago, she worked the farm or the family store with the kids right there helping.

What's new is the obsessive self-indulgence of today's parents who think that ditching the kid in order to "self-actualize myself" with my "career," while the paid help -- or as you put it "a warm Latin or charismatic African/Carribian nanny -- is busy alternately scolding and ignoring, is providing them with "positive influence to their development."

Meanwhile, the toddler cries for his mother all day.

"these are the most trying years."

Of course. Most worthwhile things *are* trying.

Fact: Multiple changes of caregivers, as virtually universally happens when mom is not primary caregiver, is psychologically distressing to a young child. But being small and dependent and helpless, all he can do is cry.

"nanny who genuinely loves children"

A nanny who loves children should be raising her own -- and likely will be before the young charge is old enough to deal with the loss when she quits.

The truth is, the nanny who really strives to give a child everything Mom would, who genuinely wants to and tries to be a substitute mother, is rare -- far too rare to fill the demand. (Quite analogous to the fact that there are insufficient numbers of 140-IQ NAMs to fill the demand. As a result, most AA admits to elite unis are not capable of doing the work.)
Most nannies -- this being isteve where we admit the averages -- do NOT love her charges but only tolerates him until a "better" job comes along.

"in these early stages is far better than either wherehousing them in daycare"

Not *far* better - only slightly better, because the child can nap in his own home and is not exposed to many children's illnesses as in daycare. But the downside is, a preverbal, trying, exhausting child cannot tell Mom if he's being abused, and there's no one to stop the nanny from shaking the baby.

"or doing it yourself at the expense of being exhausted and resentful."
At the adult's expense, perhaps. (Not mine. I loved it.) But certainly not at the expense of the CHILD being exhausted and resentful. The CHILD is much more likely to be exhausted and resentful (crying for mom, hates the sitter) when in fulltime substitute care than when his own mother is with him most hours of most days.
But somehow the child's feelings don't generally count for much in these "expense" calculations.

*****

There are tons of ways to be with your child and enjoy life and get your wishes for adult company and mental stimulation met. Find other moms to be friends. Have a part-time home-based business where the child can come along while you tend to business. Go for a run with baby in the running stroller. Have your sister or best friend, someone you really know and trust, watch your child for a FEW hours ONCE in a while while you do yoga.
Teach a college class a few evenings a week when dad or grandma can do the childcare.

Good books:
Of Cradles and Careers by Kay Lowman

The First Three Years by Burton L. White

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"For most parents, especially highly driven and high IQ ones, these are the most trying years."

Of course. Pretty much everything worthwhile can be trying.

"Today's obsessive parenting is also a tad self-indulgent to the point of historical absurdity."


Horsepuckies. Women raising their own children is the historical norm. And she's always worked.

What she didn't do is separate herself from her child 40, 50, 60 hours a week. Babe was in a sling or pram alongside while she hoed the corn or tended the store, and toddlers "helped."

What's NEW is self-obsessed, self-indulgent high-IQ parents who think that ditching the kid so they can pursue a "self-actualizing career" while the nanny provides "cultural enrichment" in the form of foreign language -- which, truth be told, is likely spoken while irritably scolding, and then ignoring in turns -- is meeting children's needs.

Meanwhile, the toddler cries for his mother all day.


"carefully filtered and monitored nanny who genuinely loves children"

The supply of women who genuinely try to love another woman's child, who honestly try to be substitute mothers, is inadequate to meet the demand. Hence, the majority of nannies, if not outright abusive, are only tolerating their charges.

And such rare birds who "genuinely love" (other women's) "children in these early stages" generally quit to have their own babies long before the charge is old enough to cope with the loss.

(Exactly analgous to the fact that 140-IQ NAMs are inadequate to meet the demand, so the AA admits to elite colleges are unlikely to be capable of the work.)

Fact: Multiple caregivers during the early years is exceedingly psychologically stressful to a young child.

Severe levels of stress hormones are known to cause brain damage.

"better than either wherehousing them in daycare"

Better, but only just. A child with nanny at home is exposed to fewer illnesses and can play with his own toys. The downside: No other adults are around to prevent abuse by the nanny. And a preverbal child cannot tell Mom what's going on.


"doing it yourself at the expense of being exhausted and resentful."

The parent, perhaps, may be resentful and exhausted staying home. But it's certainly not at the expense of the child. A CHILD in fulltime substitute care is much more likely to be exhausted and resentful (cries for mom, hates the sitter) than at home with his own mom who loves him.

Funny, though, the desires and feelings of the child don't seem to routinely count for much in these "emotional expense" calculations.

"our last few nannies have been wonderfully grounded and nurturing young midwestern women"

I'd rather see those young women bearing their own several children than tending to your singleton, since the White birth rate is in precipitous decline. (And, HUH? I thought you were justifying the use of nannies by the exotic "cultural enrichment" they can provide the child.)

Young moms out there, there are many ways to combine childrearing with meeting your own desires for adult companionship and mental stimulation.

Look in the paper for mom's groups meetings. Start a part time home business where your child can come with you when you go tend to business. Teach a class a few eves a night while dad watches the baby. Go running with your infant in a jogging stroller. Have your best friend or sister watch the baby for a few hours a few times a month while you take a yoga class.

Good books: Of Cradles and Careers by Kay Lowman

The First Three Years by Burton L. White

Curvaceous, etc. said...

Sorry for the serial posts.

I thought blogger ate the first one.

Truth said...

"Could this guy "TRUTH" be any more petty, trivial or immature?"

You guys ask an awful lot don't you? Alright buddy, just for you, I'll GIVE IT MY BEST SHOT!

Truth said...

David, Curvaceous;

Dr. Sybok just basted, skewered, and barbecued you and SERVED YOU TO HIS GUESTS!

David said...

>By your lame "layway" snark, I lean toward status-seeking moralizing PC idiot. But who did you think you would impress at here at iSteve (maybe the answer is one of the other two)?<

That's whom, not who. And yes, we've all seen "Corrina, Corrina."

>"our last few nannies have been wonderfully grounded and nurturing young midwestern women"

>HUH? I thought you were justifying the use of nannies by the exotic "cultural enrichment" they can provide the child<

It's either a case of "do as I say, not as I do," or there has been a certain amount of turnover occurring.

Anonymous said...

"Now that 15% of the US population prefers Spanish at home, you really can't claim to be living the American experience or to know your fellow Americans unless you speak fluent Spanish. English-only is just a partisan ethnic group in this nation now."
--
They're not my "fellow Americans," they're foreigners.

If you reject English you reject this nation and its history, traditions and foundational documents. And no California is NOT a "bilingual nation" although many ethnic race hustlers are trying to turn it into one.

--Non-Trendy, Non-Lefty

Janus said...

Truth said:

"You guys are a lot more fluent at ebonics than you let on!"

You should have brought back the "honkey-bonics" line. That was the only genuinely funny thing I've ever seen you write on here. You may consider yourself a grand gadfly, but the quality of the snark is generally subpar. You need to improve your game, Sport.

Truth said...

"ou may consider yourself a grand gadfly, but the quality of the snark is generally subpar."

Oh, come on Janus, it's at least a shade over mediocre.

Curvaceous, etc. said...

"Dr. Sybok just basted, skewered, and barbecued you and SERVED YOU TO HIS GUESTS!'

So, Troofball,

what you're telling us is, Dr. Sybok is an apprentice of Dr. Hannibal Lecter?

Dr. Sybok said...

David,

We've had a few Latin nannies in both Latin America and in California where they comprise the vast majority of nannies. We've also had young women from the Midwest and Utah (Mormons) who were exceptional.

I explicitly stated the emotional imprint a nanny leaves on a child is more important than any potential language or cultural benefit. So no, there is no hypocrisy in hiring nannies from child-friendly traditional American subcultures like Mormons or Mid-Westerners (two of the few reproducing above replacement level).

But you've evaded the crux of my post David. Do you really think Brazilians are as emotionally flat as Norwegians and that Japanese are as charismatic as Jamaicans? In sum, are all cultures basically identical rendering any cultural sterotypes statistically invalid? Which of my four proposals comes closest to justifying your beliefs.

Perhaps your original post was merely a display of your SWPL plumage to awe those here by the mighty whiteness of your PCness at my expense. If so, glad to be of service.

By the way, the Caribbean nanny reference comes from the experiences of a few friends and relatives. I was blissfully unaware of your recommendation, "Corrina, Corrina". It sounds like gawdawful schlock. Are you sure you're not a closeted straight?

Dr. Sybok said...

Truth, as usual, ready with the petty comment with the content value of a Bronx cheer.

Regarding obsessive parenting: see helicopter parenting. Save for very young infants, children do not need to be kept under a microscope, scheduled and challenged 24/7. The desires of the child are very important, but they don't automatically trump all other concerns, including practical ones.

We both primarily work from home, so I know our children are not crying all day, being abused or exhausted and resentful as you seem to perversely fantasize.

As with doctors, engineers and lawyers or any other human service provider, excellent nannies are at best 5-10% of the labor pool. The onus is on parents to conduct a broad and through search as well as carefully monitor and manage a nanny.

We reviewed 50-200 applicant over 1-3mos each time we hired a nanny and 85% of our childrens' outside care over many years has been provided by just 2 individuals. Parents who are not up to this task are taking great risks with their children. Still, it would be hard to do worse than the 30-40% annual turnover and pathetic standards of professional care day cares where most of our worst applicants often work.

Finally, you'll be happy to note that we are not singleton parents and some of our best nannies have gone on to become fecund themselves (comes with loving kids). Perhaps that's balanced out for you by the fact that, despite looking like typical blue-eyed devils, ours are little mongrels.

Why would anyone in our situation want to go to a mothers group? They are often filled with bitter and judgmental stay-at-home mothers who snip at anyone who goes outside the holy cannon dictated by others' personal situations.

Truth said...

"Anonymous Dr. Sybok said...

Truth, as usual, ready with the petty comment with the content value of a Bronx cheer."

And I suppose "status-seeking moralizing PC idiot" qualifies as Lincoln-Douglas discourse?

Curvaceous, etc. said...

"We both primarily work from home"

That's nice. And, in fact, that's a rare accomplishment. Good for you. I mean that sincerely.

But you didn't clearly state at the outset, until I challenged your assertions, the disclaimer that you fall into a very nearly unique category of both being stay-at-home parents, so your advice is
generally inapplicable to any lurkers reading your stuff --

in your first several posts, you popped off as if employing foreign nannies is just a normal, acceptable, trendy, fashion-forward practice that ought to be embraced by lots of people --

-- because, gee, Sybok, this isn't really All About You. You are a typical bonehead liberal who thinks that ONE exception (yours) makes the general rule inapplicable.


The honest truth is, most dual-career couples are NOT at home all day. They leave early and come home late. Nannies are most commonly alone with the children for 8 or more hours each day, five or more days a week.

Not only is this situation bad for kids as a general rule, your foreign nannies are bad for the rest of us, as they are likely to drop themselves an anchor baby.

But when lurkers who employ foreign nannies because they are both gone all day -- all the while telling themselves it's good for the children, because they're getting "cultural enrichment" --read posts like yours, they gleefully grab the chance to tell their guilty consciences to pipe down.
-- guilty consciences which frequently manifest themselves by their owners insisting stay-at-home moms are "bitter" and moms' groups are "filled with judgmental stay at home moms who who snip at anyone who goes outside the holy cannon," and usually followed up by a statement that makes it clear the owner has never been to one.


"Perhaps that's balanced out for you by the fact that, despite looking like typical blue-eyed devils, ours are little mongrels." Okay. Now I get it. Your advocacy of bringing in lots of foreigners is caused by your defensiveness of your own "mongrelizing."



I'm a little slow. It just occurred to me, no wonder the "good" Doctor hands out lousy parenting advice.
Dr. Sybok is, undoubtedly, Dr. Spock's less logical, more fanatical, half-brother.

Anthony said...

Nannies, as seen from Hong Kong:

http://www.lilywong.net/archive/arc990208.htm

Particularly the last strip.

ITriedtobeaCynic said...

A few historical points about nannies that I find interesting - don't know if anyone else does:
up to about 1860 or so all the nannies and other domestic servants in NYC were free Blacks. Irish immigrants identified these as the most vulnerable group of Americans and set out to displace them from their niche, successfully. Then for 2 or 3 generations all the nannies and housekeepers in NYC were Irish - always new immigrants, no American-born. Later the domestic workforce became more diverse, with Blacks making a partial comeback. In the 1960s some New Yorkers discovered Philipinas. Tom Wolfe has an amusing essay about how some NYC socialite couple hosted a party for the Black Panters and tactfully had all Phillipino servants - which indicates that the default expectation was that servants would be Black.
I've read that up til about 1960 it was considered classy for a White Southern woman to speak with a slightly "Black" accent - it showed she had been raised by a "mammy" and her own mother had kept a proper distance.
Conversely, that could be a reason for preferring a nanny who will speak to the child in a foreign language - to avoid affecting the child's accent in English.

Dr. Sybok said...

Curvacious,

You do realize the title of this post is "Upscale bilingual education"?

My comment was basically that, for those who have such options, it ain't all it's cracked up to be. Good emotional imprinting (including job stability) is more important than language skills. This can come from Midwesterners or Mormons as well as from foreign nannies.

You appear to have drifted off onto somewhat related yet different topic that you are quite emotional about. Now you are angry with me because my on-topic posts do not address your new off-topic comments.

When Steve posts about something like the "Childcare Dilemmas for the Working White Women in Stable Average 2 Income Families" or some such, your posts will make more sense.

Again, it's great that you've made the sacrifices you appear to have made for your family and children - they hopefully will benefit. It is worrisome that you appear so obsessed, angry and unreasonably judgmental (eg shaken babies) about others' who are manifestly not raising kids who become burdens to society.