Some American TV programs that are aimed towards children seem to make an attempt to use foreign languages (e.g. Dora the Explorer using Spanish). Do you think that there is any positive impact from this? As for myself, I'm not against the idea in priciple, I just wonder how much it actually will mean over the long term. Are kids really going to learn more than 6-12 words from such programming, and of what benefit will that ultimately be?
At my 5 year old daughter's birthday in June, we were hanging balloons outside the house before her party, and she kept using the spanish word for "up," while expressing her hope/desire for the balloons to float. It was cute, but was it significant? If my daughter would learn spanish in some depth that'd be great, but will learning a handful of words from a cartoon be helpful? Maybe it will be, but I'm not sure how...?
It's not likely to be very helpful unless followed up in the home. But at the same time, it won't do any harm for her to be exposed to the language. These shows would probably be more useful if they were truly bilingual, half English, half another language, rather than a spattering of words here and there.
I honestly believe that children should be exposed to two distinct languages from the time they're able to speak. And by distinct, I mean from different language groups, such as someone from an English speaking home being exposed to English and Chinese or Japanese, not another indo-european language such as spanish or french...it's simply the responsible thing to do.