A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the always-contentious fact that earlier is not necessarily better when it comes to acquiring a second (third, fourth, etc.) language. This post aims to help clarify what might be the right time, based on a parent question. We would like our children to have both our language … Continue reading So what is the right time for L2 education?
Much is made of the mythical sponge-like capacity of babies and children to learn multiple languages. Add this to the on-going quest to prove that bi/multilingualism is the cognitive brain boost that will have our children beating back Harvard and Cambridge, and you have a recipe for stress. I've met children who speak 2 languages … Continue reading Is earlier always better?
One of the most frustrating myths about child bilingualism is that learning a new language is effortless for children - drop them into a new language environment and they just absorb the new language like a sponge! This myth has several negative effects. The first is that parents often don't take into account the time … Continue reading Children are *not* little sponges!
On the occasion of this Day, I launch an appeal for the potential of multilingual education to be acknowledged everywhere, in education and administrative systems, in cultural expressions and the media, cyberspace and trade. Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General Every year I write a post about this day, but it's important to remember that "Mother language" … Continue reading International Mother Language Day: Why is it important?
When I was in Hong Kong last week and meeting with parents and teachers, the subject of discussion was often the issues raised in my previous blog post about HK parents choosing to speak English with their children rather than Cantonese. Inevitably, someone would ask how we can change this pattern of choosing the higher-status … Continue reading Promoting home language use: How do we make a difference?
Over the last half of my career, I have had a duel-existence. By profession, originally, I was a teacher of English as a second or foreign Language, and when doing my graduate work I specialized in bilingualism and teacher-training. In both sides of my career, there is a myth that is prevalent and detrimental to … Continue reading Talking to Native Speakers… or not.