By Colin Baker
Read or Download A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism, 2nd ed (Parents' and Teachers' Guides, 1) PDF
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Additional resources for A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism, 2nd ed (Parents' and Teachers' Guides, 1)
Where families are in-migrants, guest-workers or refugees, there may be little support for the home language in the community or in formal schooling. When such parents feel isolated, there is sometimes the tendency to feel like giving up the heritage language and speaking the regional majority language to the child. The pressure in the community tends to be to speak in the language of the region rather than a foreign language. The answer is that bilingualism inside the child can be effectively sustained through the language of the home being different from the language of the community.
Yet for the child's sake, consideration needs giving to achieving an approximate balance within the family between the two languages. If, for example, the child hears one language for 80% of the time, and a second language for only 20% from the father, then the husband and wife may consciously choose to use the lesser heard language in front of the child. One important example of the value of the father (and/or mother) using a minority language is when the children are in their teenage years. If a parent speaks the majority language inaccurately with a 'foreign' accent, the teenager may be embarrassed.
Another example is where the child is learning one language at home, the other language in a playgroup, school or community (see E1). There are other situations that are less likely to promote bilingualism. For example, if the father is away from the home for long periods and he is the source of minority language experience for the child, uneven growth in language may occur. When the child is in nursery school all day, and only hears the home language for a short time in the evening and at weekends, parents will find creating bilingualism a challenge requiring effort and enterprise.
A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism, 2nd ed (Parents' and Teachers' Guides, 1) by Colin Baker