What's Trending in Bilingualism

We've scoured the web to find breaking news and information in the world of Bilingualism. Check out our 5 favorite stories, below:

1. Taking bilingualism to the bank: In the Economist, bilingualism comes down to dollars and cents in, What is a Foreign Language Worth? The article looks at actual ROI (return on investment) for bilingual employees. While these numbers are lower than others comparisons we’ve seen, we found it interesting that you can expect being bilingual in German to increase your lifetime additional earnings by nearly three times that of Spanish. Will Goethe become more popular with the preschool set now?

2.Little Pim in the News: Our own Julia Pimsleur Levine, founder and CEO of Little Pim, is featured on Forbes this week in How to Speak Entrepreneur Like a Native. If you’ve ever wondered how Little Pim started, this is a great read. If you’re interested in hearing from Julia first hand about her entrepreneurial endeavors, her personal Forbes blog is here.

3. Kids bop to bilingual pop: It was only a matter of time before pop songs embraced the budding bilingual kids’ market. From the same producer who created the earwig “Friday” song by Rebecca Black, comes a Chinese/English song, “Get in My Car” sung by 10-yr-old Grace Liu.

4. “Hear and I forget, see and I remember”National Geographic explores why it’s easier to remember new lessons, including a second language, when you use visual and tactile lessons---like Little Pim’s videos and books---and not just audible ones.

5. Say what? According to a New Zealand study, babies can actually make distinctions between words spoken in foreign languages.

7 Great New Baby & Toddler Inventions

A Julia's Corner Feature. Last week the Little Pim team attended ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas, which proved to be a smorgasboard of baby carriers, organic cotton clothes, mom-invented products, and toys and gifts of all stripes. I admit some of the products made me feel lucky that I had my babies (now 6 and 9 years old) before the explosion of baby products in the last few years. Now, there are so many brands to choose from that shopping for baby gear practically requires an excel spreadsheet and a GPS. It also seems that cloth diapers are de rigueur! (Big sigh of relief that those days are behind me.)

Here are a few of the things that caught my eye in the two football fields full of baby products at ABC Expo (click on any of the images to enlarge):

1. Baby Tooth Album

Lala and her husband invented, and got a patent on, this little roulette-inspired book for kids to keep their baby teeth. And who knows, the tooth collections may come in handy for macabre Halloween costumes in a few years' time!

Lala is raising her kids bilingual in Armenian, her first language. You can find the Baby Tooth Album at Hallmark and on their web site at

2. Baby Elephant Ears

We thought Little Pim's friend Lola the Elephant might be behind these Baby Elephant Ears. As it happens, this is not Lola’s creation, though we might see if they need a spokes-elephant. This cute pillow supports baby’s head while she naps. I definitely could have used one on my 5-hour flight home!

3. Chic Cups and Cutlery

Zoli Baby, created by a mom from San Francisco, has a line of beautifully designed cups, plates, bowls, and containers for the fashionable mama and her brood. I like this pink stackable canister.

4. Snowtime – Anytime!

Kids want to have a snowball fight but you live in Florida? No problem! Mother-daughter inventor team Juanita and Dianne spent two years working with manufacturers to perfect the synthetic (not cold) snowball. Your kids can go nuts and not break any teeth. I didn’t get this for my boys, because they really don’t need more encouragement to throw things at each other, but it kind of makes me want to have a snowball fight party…in June!

5. Diaper Bag Meets African Chic

Ousimine is from Nigeria and couldn’t find a diaper bag made of any fabric that came close to the vibrant patterns of Nigerian textiles. So she created House of Botori, a line of colorful bags and accessories for the multi-culti mommy. Her 4-year-old son speaks Yoruba in addition to English!

6. Pacifier on Demand

When I entered into the pacifier zone, I didn’t realize I was opening up a Pandora’s box. Out came the designer pacifiers, the sterilizers, the clippy things, the stuffed animal meets pacifier, and the carrying cases. I think today’s pacifier has more bling than the iPad. PullyPalz is a mom-run company that has upped the ante once again on the pacifier gear, combining a stuffed animal with a stroller clip to keep pacifier within reach of baby. With a PullyPal a baby as young as 6 months old can reach up and pull down the pacifier from an elastic cord. Talk about instant gratification!

7. CoughSpot

Invented by a mom who wanted to make it easier for her young children to remember to cough in their arm instead of on each other, this is a clever arm band kids wear when they have a cold. Or they can sport a temporary tattoo! Here is Denise at the show in her adorable scrubs. Look for CoughSpot in your closest drug store this winter. I personally am hoping that her next invention will be something to help my kids remember to use a tissue not their shirts!

There were thousands of products on display, so if you want more, check out what some of our mommybloggerfriends had to say. It was great to see many of the retailers who carry us at the show, and meet new store owners and entrepreneurs. There are so many women who took the leap into business for the same reason I did: they wanted to give their kids an experience they couldn’t find on the shelves and decided to just will it into being. If you are one of those moms incubating an idea right now, I salute you! And maybe I’ll see you next year at ABC Kids Expo? Bring flats.


Who’s the Smartest Person in the Room? The Answer May Surprise You.

See those babies cooing in the corner? According to a recent Time Magazine article, they’re the best linguists in the room. Babies are born, Time’s Jeffrey Kluger says, with the inherent ability to speak and understand the world’s 6,800 languages, and that babies, and then children, are able to continue to easily learn multiple languages up into early grammar school. Kluger goes on to say that later in life, having gained these language abilities as babies and children, multilingual adults “are better at reasoning, at multitasking, at grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas. They work faster and expend less energy doing so, and as they age, they retain their cognitive faculties longer, delaying the onset of dementia and even full-blown Alzheimer's disease.”

Read the full, fascinating story, here.

Hearing Bilingual - the benefits of foreign language learning for young kids

The New York Times published an article entitled: "Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Tell Language Apart."  The demand for foreign language education programs is growing among parents who realize both the cognitive and social benefits of their children growing up  multilingual. In a new study, researchers at the University of Washington measured the electrical brain responses of "monolingual" infants (those from homes where one language is was being spoken) against those from bilingual households. The New York Times reported on the results:

"...the researchers found that at 6 months, the monolingual infants could discriminate between phonetic sounds, whether they were uttered in the language they were used to hearing or in another language not spoken in their homes. By 10 to 12 months, however, monolingual babies were no longer detecting sounds in the second language, only in the language they usually heard."

Over the past decade, Dr Ellen Bialystok, a distinguished research Professor of Psychology at York University in Toronto, has shown that bilingual children develop crucial skills in addition to their double vocabularies, learning different ways to solve logic problems or to handle multitasking, skills that are often considered part of the brain’s so-called executive function.

These higher-level cognitive abilities are localized to the frontal and prefrontal cortex in the brain. “Overwhelmingly, children who are bilingual from early on have precocious development of executive function,” Dr. Bialystok said.

Little Pim allows families, even families who are not bilingual, to do this easily.

Read the entire article:

Were you exposed to multiple languages as a child? We'd love to hear your stories!