A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism, 2nd ed by Colin Baker

By Colin Baker

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Additional resources for A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism, 2nd ed (Parents' and Teachers' Guides, 1)

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In such areas, there is nothing peculiar or exceptional about bilingual children. Bilingualism is accepted and expected. In other families, debates about the languages in which a child should grow take place before birth, after birth, during childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. The most positive thing is that children's bilingualism is being discussed and debated. Just as many parents discuss the manners, television viewing habits, hair styles and clothes of their children, so language is an important area for a family to consider openly.

Such media will not only provide a limited form of language practice, but will also symbolize that their 'native' language is accepted and valued by the parents. < previous page page_24 next page > < previous page page_25 next page > Page 25 A second ploy is to try and find a person, family or group of people who speak that child's home language. This is more beneficial than the media in many cases as it provides the child with a chance of active speaking rather than just passive listening. A third way of keeping the language alive is satellite television.

This argument is rooted in keeping family traditions alive, maintaining heritage language culture, and retaining a sense of the past in the present. There are occasions when bilingualism cannot be the highest priority within the family. Bilingualism may need sacrificing for the greater good of the child. On such occasions, following discussion with the child, supporting the language the child requires in education and employment may be a higher priority than preserving the heritage language. Fortunately, in most cases bilingualism can be maintained.

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