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

By Colin Baker

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

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One barrier between nations and ethnic groups tends to be language, and it is sometimes a barrier to communication and to creating friendly relationships. Bilinguals in the home, in the community and in society can lower such barriers; they can be bridges within the nuclear and extended family, within the community and across societies. Those who speak one language symbolize that essential difference between animals and people. Those who speak two languages symbolize the essential humanity of building bridges between peoples of different color, creed, culture and language.

A seemingly sympathetic view may be that a one-parent family has enough problems without taking on board the additional 'problem' of raising a bilingual child. One-parent families are usually good at meeting challenges. Having often overcome or accommodated a variety of financial, social, moral and interpersonal obstacles, a one-parent family may take on the idea of raising a child bilingually without flinching. It is possible to raise a child bilingually inside a one-parent family. This is simply because a child's bilingualism may be acquired outside the mother-child or father-child relationship.

Watching a favorite cartoon becomes more important than the attempted language engineering of the parent. This occasionally works to the advantage of bilingualism. Watching Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny is important, watching it in German, French, Japanese or English can become relatively unimportant to the child. I have spotted my own children watching German language television particularly sports and children's programs even though they have not been taught that language. So, in many family situations, the child votes for their television language experience with their finger on the remote control rather than via the guiding hand of the parent.

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