So, it’s been a couple of weeks since my return to student life. I’ve been reflecting a lot on what I learned, and what I have still to learn, about bilingualism. It was an amazing experience to be with so many people who are interested in the same topics, and who didn’t get tired of talking about bilingualism. There were students there from all over the world, and I got to hear stories of bilingualism from so many places and situations: South Africa, Sweden, Italy, Argentina, Australia, the Basque Country, the US, and of course Wales. Although the details of each of these situations may be different, the bottom line was always the same – parents, teachers and researchers striving to make bilingualism acceptable and attainable for everyone.
In some places, the struggle is to have languages recognized as equal, in other places the struggle is to provide excellence in schooling for pupils from different language groups, and in some places the struggle is to revive a language in danger of being lost forever. The common theme among all these is the link between our language, our culture and our worldview. Language is so much more than just the words we use, more than the sounds and sentences. It is an integral part of who we all are, and those of us raising bilingual children must ensure that we give our children the skills to be themselves, in all their languages.
On that note, I am off for vacation, to practice my Scottish. I’ll be back in September, please feel free to post or email me any questions if you have subjects you’d like me to blog about in the coming months.